Liveaboard trip; from Sint Maarten to St. Kitts (stopping at Saba)
Just a little bit to the right of Puerto Rico you’ll find the British and US Virgin Islands. A little bit more to the right from the Virgin Island lie the beautiful islands Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Kitts & Nevis. Three very different islands that are located very close together and all offer excellent Caribbean style scuba diving!
Liveaboard trip with Explorer Ventures
A great way to explorer all three islands, comfortably in 1 trip, is to do a liveaboard! Which is exactly what I did. On the 12th of October this year I boarded the beautiful vessel of Explorer Ventures, the Caribbean Explorer. A motor vessel with 9 double staterooms, accommodating 18 passengers. All cabins have an en-suite bathroom (and air-conditioning) and most have queen size beds with a smaller bed on top. I was lucky enough to have a private cabin with a queen size bed. Very comfortable! Most of the bedrooms are downstairs and there’s 3 ways to exit from downstairs (in case of an emergency).
Upstairs (main floor really) are also a few bedrooms as well as access to Captain James his cockpit! You should definitely stop by when he’s driving the boat for a chat. Also, on the main deck is the dive deck where you have your gear set up. Nitrox available!
If you go up one more stairs from the dive deck you’ll arrive in the lounge where you can enjoy your meals (early continental, warm breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner). I promise you right now you’ll not go hungry on this boat! The dive briefings take place in the launch as well. Did I mention that all the alcohol in included on this trip?! First time ever for me, that that is the case! Naturally the rule applies; once you start drinking, no more diving for the diving.
Sint Maarten – Saba – St. Kitts & Nevis
You can basically do this trip two ways. Either you depart from Sint Maarten and slowly make your way to St. Kitts, stopping at Saba or exactly the other way around. I decided to start in Sint Maarten and end in St. Kitts as flights to Sint Maarten worked out better for me (cheaper). So as a tip to you; check what flights are easier/cheaper. I know for some US cities it’s easier to fly St. Kitts return than Sint Maarten. If you want, I work together with a scuba travel agency and will be able to assist you in booking this entire trip. Have a look on the site of explorer ventures for which weeks they depart from St. Kitts and which weeks Sint Maarten.
I decided to depart from Sint Maarten and arrived 4 days before my actual trip. Reason is that I first wanted to go diving in Sint Maarten before boarding the Caribbean Explorer. See; the Caribbean Explorer doesn’t actually do scuba diving around Sint Maarten as government regulations make it difficult. But as Sint Maarten is very close to Saba it’s their embark/disembark location, which I think is very convenient for travel. (You should see Saba’s airstrip lol, not everyone dares to land there…).
Scuba Diving in Saba
After having our first dinner in Sint Maarten (BBQ), we left at night for about a 3/4 hour steam to Saba. This was the island we would be diving around for the first two days. A challenge around Saba can be the visibility, right from the boat you can see “dust clouds” in the water that travel through the sea. Captain James therefor puts in quite a bit of effort trying to pick out dive spots where the visibility is decent. I’d say half of the time he was successful. Most of the time the visibility was decent enough for me, ranging from 5 tot 15 meters. Once we got in a huge cloud and visibility dropped to like 2 meters. This was also the moment I saw my first nurse shark! Due to the vis he didn’t see me and I didn’t see him until we were pretty much head to head. A super cool experience! I followed him for a little bit and without a worry in the world he settled down in the sand and let me take this shot of him. You can imagine my GoPro (Hero 7 Black) was pretty much right in his face!
Around Saba you’ll also find many lobsters, turtles, queen angel fish and other tropical fish. The temperature was around 28/29C which was enough for me to just wear my Sharkskin rashies. Easy! Also, there wasn’t much current, making the dives super easy.
Land tour Saba
Optional on this trip (but everyone does it!) is the land tour on Saba. For about 30 USD you get a guide (in a car) to show you around the island and tell you about it. I really enjoyed learning about the island, trying some of their famous rum and getting a picture of myself with Mount Scenery. This is the highest mountain in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. So basically my “home”.
Scuba Diving in St. Kitts & Nevis
The last 3,5 days of diving are spent around St. Kitts as well as the smaller island Nevis. The visibility here was better and the diving was surely different from Saba. Where Saba had sharks and more “bigger” stuff, St. Kitts was offering frog fish, sea horses, drum fish and flying gurnards! Also the corals around St. Kitts & Nevis where more colorful as far as I can tell than Saba. Around St. Kitts I only saw one nurse shark. So that’s more a Saba thing!
Land tour St. Kitts
Again optional, if you’re up for it, you can do a land tour around St. Kitts. I did it, and despite the rain, I enjoyed it a lot. We went to an old fort (Brimstone Hill Fortress), saw wild monkeys and went to Caribelle Batik in Romney Manor. The latter being a world famous fabric dye shop, initially making only art for on the wall but now has a full range of fabric products including dresses.
Watch my vlog!
In this video I’ll take you with me on my journey! I’ll show you a bit of everything so you can get the best impression of this trip before deciding if you want to go on it yourself. Interested to go? Let’s talk! I can help you out with this trip for sure 🙂