Saba’s volcanic origins have blessed her waters with spectacular formations and structural diversity. Enjoy year-round diving with seasonal differences in water temperature and surface conditions. Winter months bring cooler water temperatures ranging from 77°F (25C) 80° (27C) Fahrenheit, whereas summer months yield a toasty 80° to 85F (27-29C). The Saba Marine Park boasts more than 30 permanently moored dive sites. Check out our clickable dive site map for more information on each site.
Caribbean diving at its best!
There are now multiple moorings at some of the sites giving us more flexibility for accommodating your requests. The Saba Marine Park is zoned for various recreational and commercial uses. The yachting community will be pleased to note there are more overnight (yellow) moorings in place in both the Wells Bay area as well as the Fort Bay area. Visiting yachts must register and dive with one of Saba's local dive operators.
From shallow patch reefs to deepwater seamounts, Saba offers interesting diving at each depth and for every diver's experience level. The Saba Marine Park ("SMP") was established in 1987. The park was not established to help repair a damaged environment and ecosystem, but rather to safeguard and ensure the continued quality of an extraordinary resource.
Our small size, 5.1 square miles, and circular shape don't provide us with a large leeward side, but nevertheless, allows us to dive almost any day of the year even with less than perfect weather. Our experienced crew will take you to the best dive site for the day’s conditions and match your diving ability to the selection. With the variety of diving that is offered, plan at least a few days of diving to enjoy a real sampling of the Saba Marine Park's diversity. To learn more about the origins of Saba's reefs and what to expect to see at different dive areas, join us for "Making the Most of Your Saba Experience". This casual and fun photographic presentation is given every Monday night in a 'happy hour' environment at The Brigadoon restaurant.
Not far offshore, Saba ’s famous pinnacles and seamounts, Third Encounter, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Mt. Michel and Shark Shoals rise dramatically from the depths to within 85 feet of the surface. These depths have protected them from any natural storm damage and, of course, anchors. The mere size and abundance of large sea fans and sponges put the added bonus of reef creatures and fish. The structures themselves are not to be missed with the most unique being The Needle, just off in the deep blue from Third Encounter. It’s common to encounter schools of tropical fish, jacks, groupers or even members of Saba's robust shark population. Caribbean Reef, Nurse and Black Tip sharks are the most common to see cruising our waters but there are a few sightings each year of Hammerheads, Bull and a rare Tiger shark. Lucky divers may get to swim with a humpback whale, manta ray or whale shark--things we don't advertise or guarantee but are seen. Although these dive sites are virtually bottomless, they can be safely enjoyed with 100 to 120 foot dive profiles (30-40m), well within the limits of recreational diving.
Man O’ War Shoals, Diamond Rock and Green Island are also classified as pinnacles but have sandy bottoms at between 70 and 80 feet. Although pelagics are not as common at these shallower pinnacles, more bottom time let’s you absorb and explore the many nooks and crannies that are home to every imaginable species. The currents that sometimes prevent diving these sites, yield plankton rich waters for the inhabitants that line the cylinder-like walls of these two knolls. Schools of blue tangs, big eyes and juvenile barracuda frequent these areas. The dark volcanic sand around these sites is home to many interesting critters including flying gurnards, batfish, industrious sand tile fish and jawfish. If you were limited to only one dive on Saba, either of these sites will be the best representation of the healthy reefs and abundance of marine life that the waters of the Saba Marine Park offer. In addition, each of these sites offers the opportunity for increased bottom time when conducted as a multi-level profile with long slow spirals upward around these minor seamounts.
Traveling in a westerly direction down our leeward coast brings you to that area referred to by Sabans as The Ladder. Perched precariously on a steep cliff-side are the original steps used by islanders to access Saba. The original customs house remains. Prior to the building of the Fort Bay harbor, goods were brought to the island by landing long boats on the rocky shoreline with stout and hearty Sabans carrying the goods by foot up the nearly vertical stairway before reaching the road leading to the village of The Bottom. As such, dive sites off this shore are referred to as Ladder Bay: Customs House, Poriotes Point, Babylon, Ladder Labyrinth, Hot Springs, Ray 'n' Anchors. Volcanic lava flow has created a natural labyrinth of spur and groove formations. If you still question Saba’s volcanic origins, you can place your hands into the sulfur stained sand and feel the warmth of this now dormant volcanic island. Nurse sharks, both green and hawksbill turtles, and our territorial tarpon are some of the larger animals you are sure to meet face-to-face on the leeward coast. The sea grass on the perimeter of the reef provides sustenance for Saba's healthy turtle populations whereas the sand is home to garden eels and yellowheaded jawfish . Ladder Bay is also one of our favorite areas for night dives.
Less than five minutes from Fort Bay, our only harbor, Tent Bay offers spectacular diving at Tent Reef Deep, a small but interesting reef. Dives at the vertical Tent Reef Wall can be conducted as a shallow dive, a deeper multi-level dive or as an exhilarating drift dive. The sandy top of the wall is home to hundreds of garden eels, razor fish and southern stingrays. A three dimensional mural of colorful mollusks, large barrel and drooping sponges are guaranteed on this dive with the schools of sergeant majors, queen angelfish, french angelfish, seasonal frogfish and are now resident pair of Longsnout Seahorses. The swim through at Tent Reef is a treat day or night with yellow cup corals, a family of black margates, and spiny lobsters. The resident dog snappers have learned to follow night divers and attempt to hunt prey with the assistance of your dive lights. Tent Reef is a favorite for night dives with frequent octopus sightings and a chance to see a manytooth blue conger.
Windwardside dive sites
More dependent on weather conditions are our Windwardside sites: Greer Gut, Giles Quarter, Big Rock Market, Hole in the Corner, David's Dropoff, Core Gut, Cove Bay. The majority of Saba’s diving offers volcanic coral encrusted boulders with only a few Windwardside sites being true coral reefs. The white sand bottoms in these areas give them a different look and feel from the leewardside sites, and serious fish watchers will note different species of reef fish and critters than seen in other areas of the Saba Marine Park. The exposure to the Atlantic side lends itself less to soft corals. Instead, get out the wide-angle lens to capture the resilient elkhorn forests and large plate and mushroom-shaped star corals of these seascapes. These formations set the background for nudibranchs but keep a look out for our huge green moray who lives between Greer Gut and Hole in the Corner. It’s rare to have current on this side of the island and visibility tends to be exceptional.
Shallow easy dives and snorkel sites
Well’s Bay and Torrens Point are the most protected waters of Saba during normal weather conditions. Great for snorkeling or shallow dives, large boulders, caves and swim throughs present interesting underwater structures. A series of patch reefs leading away from the shoreline host many juvenile species and a variety of eels. Saba's nursery, as it's known, also has a prolific population of Flamingo Tongue Cowry shells as well as other interesting invertebrates, fish and hard corals. Morays eels, sharptail eels, goldspotted eels and the less common spotted snake eel that conceals the majority of its long body in the sand are all to be found here. From squid to a humpback whale, this underestimated dive site is always worth a third tank.
Ask about our special Sea Saba Muck Dive-just another Sea Saba Difference. With the emphasis on "the entire ocean, not just pretty reefs, is worth preserving and observing." Let us take you somewhere different. If you are in to seeing odd sand dwellers and enjoy taking the chance of seeing something unique, grab your camera and let's go...the sand flats in front of the Fort Bay harbor are where our over night moorings for our boats are located. Artificial reefs (even those created by big concrete blocks and chain) serve as foreseen protection and a gathering point for many unique species. We dive each mooring regularly to be certain the mooring is safe and secure for our vessel. Over the years, we have noticed fabulous, obscure marine life at these moorings from Rosy Lipped Batfish and flounder to huge star fish and our own mimic octopus. Best done as a small group on a 3rd dive of e day, just let us know you're interested.
Give back! Join us on a coral nursery dive!