Back in the begining of August I shared an article I wrote and submitted to several sailing magazines. Well turns out Multihull Sailor chose to publish it in thier fall…
Saba & Statia Travel Guide
Saba & St Eustatius (Statia) are Dutch islands in the northern part of the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean.
Statia was first colonized by the Dutch West India Company in 1636 and between then and 1815 the island changed hands 22 times before finally being back in the hands of the Netherlands permanently. You might not realize it walking along the quiet streets today, but Statia was THE island for transshipments of goods….both legal and illegal. This is due to the central location in the Caribbean, neutrality, being a free port, and no customs. In fact, it used to be called the Golden Rock. It was also the first recognition of America’s independence by a foreign power. Of course, the British made them suffer for this distinction.
Saba was first colonized by the Dutch from Statia in 1640, but Captain Morgan evicted them in 1664 because they would not pledge allegiance to the British crown. After the island changed hands several times between the British, French, and Dutch for the next 150 years, the Netherlands laid final claim on the island in 1816 and have held it since. Due to the fact the island is surrounded by sheer cliffs it has no beaches. In fact, until 1972 the only way on the island was straight up an 800-step staircase called The Ladder. Another story is that “experts” claimed a road could not be built on the steep island, but a local figured out how to do it after taking a correspondence course in the 1950’s.
Saba and Statia were two of the last three island I visited during my six-week cruise through the Leeward Island. I anchored the boat for four days in Statia and three days at Saba.
Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations
Statia is a quiet island full of history. The anchorage is easy to navigate, if not a bit open to the weather. Town is split between Lower Town, which is one street and where the warehouse ruins are from the golden years, and Upper Town on top of the cliff. There are some pretty cool ruins around town and snorkeling the ruins in the water are cool. The hike up The Quill, a dormant volcano, is great. If you love quiet you will like Satia. If you need nightlife, then this is not the place for you.
Saba has four towns sitting up on the mountains and is about as postcard perfect as you can get. The diving around the island is supposed to be world class and the hike to the top of Mt Scenery is heart thumping. The biggest advice I have for anyone thinking of sailing here is not to. It is a great island, but I will fly there next time. The anchorage is exposed and the dinghy ride is long and wet!
Soon you can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel videos I made for Saba & Statia. Also, you can read what all I did there in my blog posts located below the video.