October 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Several members of Les Fruits de Mer (Madam J, Yann, Marie and myself) undertook an expedition to the nearby island of Saba last week for some diving, hiking and, of course, Extreme Shallow Snorkeling. Over the next few days I’ll be posting all about our adventures.

Saba is a much younger island than St. Martin, I believe about ten million years younger, or about half the age of St. Martin. While both islands are originally volcanic, St. Martin was submerged and capped with limestone, while Saba is basically still just a volcano jutting straight out of the ocean. It’s about a seventh the area of St. Martin, but twice as tall.

This post features some photos from our first day of diving on the island. The world-famous diving is the primary tourism draw of the island. Our first dive was at a site called Outer Limits, which is one of the pinnacle dives. The underwater pinnacles are basically submerged mountaintops off the coast of Saba that rise to between 90 and 110 feet below the surface of the ocean. Although the depth means short dives, these unique formations are a big attraction to divers.

Our next dive was at a site called Ladder Labyrinth, which primarily consists of coral and sponge encrusted underwater lava flows that create a variety of interesting structures. Underwater hot springs leave sulfur patches in the sand, and geothermal heat can be felt if you put your hands into the sand in the right spots.

We were also lucky enough to arrive during the month-long Sea and Learn event, which includes talks by experts and hands-on research opportunities. We went on a dusk/night dive with Graham Forrester to see if we could watch hamlets spawn. Although we didn’t actually see this because there aren’t very many hamlets in the waters around Saba, we did have a great night dive. One highlight was a nurse shark which followed us everywhere, probably because our flashlights helped it find prey.

It was a busy day and a great way to start our expedition!