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Wet Landing

Dec 7, 2010


Location: Saba
Author: Sarah Collonge
This morning we arrived in Saba at around seven in the morning, and as soon as we had eaten our cereal and had a short review session for our impending navigation final we were being briefed for our adventure ashore in Saba. We learned many interesting things about this rather remarkable five mile square island. We would be visiting the two major towns of the island- The Bottom and The Windward Side, which are connected by The Road. We also had the option which many of the shipmates took of hike to the top of Mount Scenery (these folks really have a flair for naming), which is a hike of more than a thousands stairs through the jungle. The towns were both relatively small, but many of the shipmates followed the suggestion of visiting a glassmaker in Windward Side who would teach us how to make glass beads. However, before any of us were able to experience the wonders of Saba, we had to get ashore, and believe me when I say this was quite a feat. In the past, we have often gone ashore in places where there was no dock and we had to do a grave-wet landing acute; in which we jump out of the dinghies a short distance from a beach and wade knee-deep or so to shore. In our briefing this morning, we were told that because the swell here was so big and the beach was so rocky that it would be a far wetter wet landing than usual, and that we would likely be in water up to our necks and have to wade with our bags over our heads. With this in mind, we took the precautions of going into shore with just our swim suits and clothes to change into, and placing more delicate items in Ziploc bags. We were not to know until it was too late how pitiful these gestures were to be in the face of what actually occurred during our wet landing. We did not dismount the dinghies in neck-deep water; we were instead way over our heads, trying to hold our backpacks above our heads while treading water. Once ashore and dripping wet with no dry clothes to change into, we had to hike up what Sabans call The Ladder, the 800 stairs that until recently were the only way to get from the water to the island. In the afternoon, we returned to the boat in similar conditions (this time swimming to the dinghy in between sets of large waves), we went straight into passage prep. It had been our plan originally to stay in Saba until tomorrow to dive, but the recent hurricane sunk one of the dive boats we were meant to go out in, and we were not able to make alternative arrangements. So now we have started our final passage to the British Virgin Islands a day early, and we are all excited to explore and dive in a new place bright and early tomorrow morning.