Location: Saba

We ate oatmeal for breakfast and then, around 8 AM, dinghied over to the Ladder beach. Because the tide was crashing and fist sized rocks blanketed the beach, the landing was wet; we crammed our clothes, backpacks and water into trashbags, changed into swim trunks and then, near the beach, catapulted over the sides, and swam to shore. That, however, was only the beginning. After the landing, we then needed to climb a several hundred year old S-shaped staircase that ascended up roughly a thousand vertical feet (489 steps). Three quarters of the way up, the old custom house overlooks the harbor, which until about 30 years ago, was the only way onto the island. Once, slaves lined that staircase, called the ladder, and carried up pianos and even, once, the Queen of Denmark herself. Today, 11/30/08, we ourselves went up it, which took approximately 20 minutes. In reaching the top, we had really reached the “bottom,” a small town, and the start of the ensuing hike which would take us to the peak of Mt. Scenery. The hike took us through the town of the Bottom, past the in-service churches and the Saba medical school, then into the bush and then, as we ascended, seemingly to the clouds. Beaks, accompanied by Roxy, charged ahead to beat Beaks previous time of approximately 80 minutes. At the final stairs, Roxie ran ahead and made it in 78 minutes, the new record for a female crew member; Beaks beat her previous time by 10 seconds. The rest of the crew surmounted in waves over the next hour. After summiting, we descended to the town of Windwardside, which is directly across the island from the Bottom. There, we ate lunch and checked out Jo-Beans, a glass bead making shop. This author, in the company of Jeff and Max, decided to leave the windward side and go back to explore the Bottom. We returned to the boat an hour later and the usual evening formalities ensued.