Unspoiled speck of green in the ocean

Saba, the Unspoiled Queen

Windward, volcanic, wild, mysterious and clean. An emerald of 13 square kilometres, a green speck in an aquamarine sea. The Unspoiled Queen is still untouched by the 21st century. It is not inhabited, but it is populated. And this means it is high time for regulation.

By Baud Schoenmaeckers

Landing at the world's smallest international airport is quite an adventure. The summit of the Netherlands' highest mountain, Mount Scenery (872 metres), is mysteriously veiled in clouds but still visible from a distance. Approaching the island your eyes are pulled downward to a strip of asphalt on a flattened bump in the landscape. To reach the runway, the 22-passenger, twin-engine plane flies low alongside rugged cliffs. If the wind is not right, the plane cannot land. Soon another stretch of asphalt will be added to solve this problem. But the airport will not be made bigger, even though Saba is working hard to make an increase in tourism possible. No casino's or fast-food stands. With 27 diving spots in its exceptional marine environment, Saba is in the top five of the worlds best diving locations. For hikers, there are 28 trails through five unspoiled vegetation zones from cloud forest to steppe-like bush (...)

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