A Side Trip to Saba

Once I saw the Shard’s Distant Shores episode on Saba, it has been on my bucket list of places to go.  This time of year, there is too much wave action in the anchorages to be comfortable so we decided to fly.

Saba is a rock in the sea, small in every dimension other than up.  Until you see it in person it is hard to comprehend.  Approaching in the plane you see a 2855 ft mountain raising in front of you as you fly at just 2000ft from St Martin.  Flying in a Twin Otter, the landing into the worlds shortest commercial runway was anticlimactic, the pilots do this many times a week and have it all under control, we exited the runway having used less than 200 meters of the 400 meter runway.  For reference, a US aircraft carrier’s flight deck is about 330 meters. 

 Our taxi, piloted by Donna, headed up The Road, that is its name, for there is only one road that goes between the villages, winding our way up the hill from the airport to Hells Gate and then on to Windwardside.  The office for our accommodation,  El Momo Cottages was 46 steps up from the road where Donna dropped us off.  We were booked in to the “Cottage in the Sky” that was a further 120 steps up the hill.  We got lots of exercise on this trip.


We arrived on Christmas eve so we explored Windwardside to find restaurants that would be open over the holidays and we made a reservation for Christmas day. 

On Christmas day we climbed Mount Scenery, 1064 steps and about 1700 ft from Windwardside to the summit.


The track is well built and other than the amount of climbing is an easy hike.  The views from the top are amazing.

Saba is very green, rain forest covers much of the island.


At the top, a cockerel seems to have taken to sharing visitor’s picnics.


We had a great dinner that night at Chez Bubba, we bumped into a couple we met at the top of Mount Scenery and we had a great night.  The food and service were excellent. 


Saba is a place of simple names, Windward side is the second largest community on the island and is located on the windward side.  The Bottom is the largest settlement, and on Boxing Day we walked “The Road” to explore it.

The Road clings to the edge of the hills with spectacular views, arriving high over The Bottom.

 The Bottom has sea access with a small harbour to the south and “The Ladder” to the west.


The Ladder was the way all people and goods came before the harbour was built.  Today, cruisers use The Ladder to access the island from moorings in Ladder Bay.  The Ladder is actually stone steps that lead about 800 ft up from the bay to the bottom.

 The Bottom is home government offices, the hospital and to the medical school that provides a lot of income for the island.

The flight back to St Martin was just as memorable, the pilots use every inch of the runway, coming close to the edge of a large drop into the ocean.

Landing, we had a great view of the bar where we took the photo of the Airbus A340 landing.

We had a great time in Saba and if we have a chance we hope to come back with the boat in the spring.

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