SABA_After leaving St. Maarten, our next stop is somewhere we’ve never been, and frankly, didn’t know about: Saba (prounced SAY-ba). We first heard about it from our St. Maarten taxi driver, who told us it was featured in the 1933 film classic, “King Kong.” That definitely got my attention.
Once it came into view, the connection was obvious. Rising out of the ocean, we saw its towering cliffs and jagged rocks, the top of the island obscured by misty clouds, reminiscent of Hawaii. No wonder filmmakers chose this to be Skull Island, the home of Kong.
But that’s where any similarity ends. There are no fearsome dinosaurs or giant apes, only a friendly and welcoming population of around 2,000 living in a tropical paradise.
World Navigator is one of the few cruise ship to make a stop here, which makes sense given there is no harbor or dock facilities. Also, a clear advantage that World Navigator has other ships — its smaller size allows it to visit more off-the-beaten track ports of call.
We tendered over in fairly high seas, where Atlas arranged a shuttle (actually a small school bus dispatched from the Department of Tourism) that took us to the top of the island over a winding, barely-two-lane road with frequent switchbacks.
There were plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” uttered as we passed one spectacular view after the other. It was explained that all the buildings — mostly white — on this Dutch municipality must have red roofs, and it afforded picture postcard views as seas crashed on the rocks below.
It should be noted Saba is not known for their white, sandy beaches. There aren’t any. But it is famous for its hiking trails and some of the best diving in the Caribbean, where you can view coral-encrusted columns created by volcanic activity 200 feet down.
Our party spent a relaxing day shopping and enjoying rum punch on a rooftop patio. Pam scored a necklace and a colorful metallic gecko. If we had more time, we would have explored one of the many trails leading into a tropical rainforest, but this is one place where we definitely want to return.
We hear Saba is in the process of constructing a harbor so more cruise ships can visit. While good for the local economy, it makes us glad we experienced it before the hordes of tourists descend.
Back on World Navigator, the ship is hosting the “Independent Lens at Sea Film Festival,” featuring “presentations and screenings” from the PBS show, including a chance to meet and hear from the filmmakers. The event is the first from Artful Travelers since 2019, and we hope to see as many of the films as possible.
So far, we’ve done most of our dining at Porto, the ship’s main restaurant on deck 4. As we’ve noted, the food and service have been uniformly excellent. With a smaller number of guests onboard, social distancing is not a problem, and most of the time we opt to dine outdoors, where we can admire the island scenery or a bright full moon over the Caribbean.
After dinner, they schedule entertainers in The Dome, the lounge/observatory on deck 7. It gets its name from the giant oval skylight in the center. So far we’ve heard a talented piano player and an ex-Marine turned singer.
Here’s a suggestion: Bring in a DJ who can get the party started with some dance-worthy hits, so those of us who aren’t ready to call it a night can get our groove on. Atlas might be surprised at how many closet dancers they have on board.
PHOTOS: Credit Gerry & Pam Baker
Cover photo: The Dome lounge on World Navigator
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