The Journal of Tony Whitaker|
A Tale of Two Beaches & What Makes the Best Beaches?
05/20/2007 10:50 a.m.
Hilton Head, South Carolina. One of my favorite beaches, having enjoyed them from Europe to Hawaii.
Beaches are a nature's delight and are rated on more than just one factor. The following is my list of what makes a beach. I also rate certain Beaches on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being tops:
1) I love white soft sand. Hilton Head somewhat lacks the beautiful white sands of the Gold Coast of Florida. However, it is much whiter than the sands of the beaches stretching north into North Carolina and Virginia. I give HH an eight here as she does have soft and fluid sand.
2) The perception of being isolated from the world. Hilton Head gets top marks here. There are stretches of beach where, when you look inland, trees still stand waving in the breeze as they did all along this beautiful beach a hundred years ago. But the houses here are so beautiful and a thousand feet away so I see them as beautiful as the trees. HH gets a 9.
3) The inspirational big, wide beach. Hilton Head is the Big Daddy here, with a fat '10'. With the ebb tide, it can easily be a thousand feet from sea grass to tide. Two tiers with an upper beach where the tide rarely reaches. The sand is soft and deep, where you sit and sleep under the sun until too warm, so you break out the umbrella. Then the beach slopes slightly down about 30 feet to the 'flats' washed by the tides twice per day. This flat is from 30 to 300 feet wide depending on where in the cycle the tide sits. This is where I found my poem as it came to me on a wide flat. It is called "Good Morning from the Beach"
4) Diving. Maggie and I love to scuba dive. I wouldn't dive the Carolina Coast for any reason. The wrecks are too far off shore, deep and the water is too cold. Give me the Caymans, where I dove "The Wall", one of the most beautiful sights of my life. All the fish and pristine corals on this dormant volcanic mountain wall that makes most of the Caribbean islands. Hilton gets a goose egg here.
5) Few people. I give Hilton Head a 9 on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the least populated. But then again we hit the beaches in the morning.
6) The View. Hilton Head has a wonderful beach to see big sunrises and the homes and tress are nice. But it is not exotic flora that commands the beaches in the warmer climes. But I give Hilton Head a 7.
Went to Oahu and Kauai by myself back in 1988. Seems the girl I was going with backed out when she got back with her old boyfriend. But I didn't care. Oahu is just too crowded and Waikiki is a joke. The real pearl of Oahu is Sunset and Turtle Beach on the northwest shore. The Eastern shore has some nice beaches as far as Hawaiian beaches go.
So I would put Hilton Head at number 4 on my top ten best beaches
But then I flew to the island of Kauai. I found the embodiment of the Garden of Eden. In 1988 this must have had the distinction, without a doubt, the most beautiful isolated island under American domain. 5he is known as "Garden Island of the Pacific". Everything is in bloom all the time. Unusual orchids had such strange shaped tubes leading to awaiting ovaries. I wonder at what night-time creature visits to pollinate these beauties of the tropics, enticed by smell of sex or food.
The 'Grand Canyon of the Pacific' sits in the center of this small volcanic isle.
But the beaches are what set this island apart from Oahu. They were so diverse. From black to snow white sands, depending on where you were on the island. The southern side of the island stays sunny and bright and the water a bit warmer. I dove in the shallows for about an hour and surrounded by schools of tangs and butterfly fish and gobies of all species. I even saw several green turtles.
But Hanalei Bay, on the north shore of Kauai is, without question, my favorite beach in the world. It is the beach where South Pacific, with that view of the peaks off to the east looks Far Eastern. A true Bali Hai. My scuba trip there in 1988 was also a highlight of my life. I met on the beach this guy eating a sandwich. He saw me alone and asked would I like to go for a dive? He said he was a dive master and knew the best places on this side of the reef wall. We dove for about 45 minutes It was amazing lava tube diving and not for the claustrophobic, especially when the exit at the end of a long dark tube had a white-tip shark just sitting there with its back to us. But we spooked him and continued our labyrinth journey.
I fed fish only once. In an instant the six shrimp I had brought in pieces were gobbled up by the hundreds of small groupers, grunts and gobies.
We then came out of the water and tells me he was videotaping me the whole time. He had this tiny underwater camera that was taping me. This was in 1988 and I had never seen anything like it. I have forgotten his name, but still have the tape that shows my every movement and he knew how to catch a shot! I am very proud of that tape. So he says, yeah I am a freelance dive consultant for the studios that come here to shoot scenes. Kauai I found out was also where a great deal of the movie Apocalypse now was filmed. Since then the Jurassic Park movies were shot with the North Share being the obvious place. For those who go there for the first time, look to the left on your drive along the north shore, after passing Princeville, look at that jungle and think of all the movies that could be shot there. It will look very familiar. But that beach. To rate my criteria:
1) 9. The whitest sand on the island and so soft
2) 10. You feel totally alone in the early morning
3) 8. Not the widest of beaches but plenty wider than most in Hawaii.
4) 10. Lava tube diving is a thrill and with the fish whizzing by you in the darkened chambers you get this alien feeling of being on another world
5) 9. Most people like the south beaches since it stays overcast a lot on the north beach of Kauai. But that is what I liked about it. The view added to the mystic...
6) 10. I have already said it. The view from not only the beach, but just a few hundred yards away a tropical jungle that you see from a high road looking down onto it. Absolutely fabulous!
I am currently Cheerful
I am listening to Rock Music
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