Tag: Beaches

The New Sand: May Contain Plastic

The New Sand: May Contain Plastic Photo by Mason Bryant via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Mason Bryant via Flickr (Creative Commons).

The May 2009 issue of Hana Hou!—Hawaiian Airlines’ in-flight mag—includes an article called The Voyage of the Junk. The story is about a journey from California to Honolulu via the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The ship itself was a trash heap, made out of plastic garbage and leftover bits of a Cessna. The goal of the journey was to raise awareness of the impact that all the plastic crap we create, buy and use is having on the oceans.

There’s a particularly sad and telling passage in the story. Upon arrival in Honolulu, one of the sailors decided to find out how long it would take to pull a piece of plastic out of the water. He hopped overboard, and: “Less than a minute later he was out, holding up an ‘ABC Stores’ bag. ‘Thirty seconds,’ he said, with both triumph and distaste.”

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Eight Great Stories of Beaches, Islands, Travel and the Tropics

Eight Great Stories of Beaches, Islands, Travel and the Tropics Photo by Oscalito via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

To mark our eighth anniversary, we've collected eight favorite stories from our archives that celebrate and explore travel at land's end

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The Littered Beaches of Britain

The Littered Beaches of Britain Photo by spratmackrel via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by spratmackrel via Flickr (Creative Commons)

As depressing as I find many British beaches, I was appalled to read that visitors are practically treating them like landfills. Reuters reports that the Marine Conservation Society, who recruited 5,000 volunteers to help clean up the shores, discovered an average of 2,195 pieces of trash per kilometer of beach—an increase of 110 percent since 1994. Food wrappers and cigarette butts make up about a third of the litter, the group says. Trash dumping on British beaches has doubled in the last 15 years to reach the highest level in history.


Saving ‘Cleopatra’s Beach’ and a Jewel of the Aegean

Saving ‘Cleopatra’s Beach’ and a Jewel of the Aegean Photo by haruncagan via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by haruncagan via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’m not surprised that the beautiful Gulf of Gökova off the southwestern coast of Turkey has practically been loved to death. The Aegean blue water and soft beach sand (which Mark Antony allegedly imported to Gökova from Egypt for Cleopatra) is the stuff of sea-loving tourists’ dreams.

Over the years, yacht tours polluted the bay, illegal fishing depleted its marine life, and all those sunbathers started eroding that queenly beach sand. The European-funded Gökova Integrated Coastal Management program banned the sunbathers from the beach in 2007 and is now working to support sustainable fishing, protect the bay’s natural flora and fauna, and keep the Gökova waters clean. (Via Treehugger)

Waikiki Beach Boys

If you want to hear about the golden days of Waikiki, your best bet is probably to head up to the Haleiwa to the Surf Museum. Since I’m no surfing aficionado, I wasn’t exactly roped in by the displays, but I sure enjoyed the time I spent talking with the museum’s proprietor, Hurricane Bob. Ask Hurricane Bob about what Waikiki used to be like, and he’s full of stories.

I couldn’t help but think of Hurricane Bob, the North Shore and Waikiki when I stumbled over this short documentary about the Waikiki Beach Boys. It crams a whole sensibility about Hawaii, surfing, Waikiki, and beach culture into just over six minutes. Six minutes well spent, I’d say.

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I’m Dreaming of a Green Dubai (or at Least Some Clean Beaches)

I’m Dreaming of a Green Dubai (or at Least Some Clean Beaches) Photo by bryangeek via Flickr (Creative Commons).

It’s been a rough few months of sewage-on-the-beach damage control for the city of excess and $25,000-a-night hotel suites on artificial islands shaped like palm trees. After raw sewage, chemical waste and toilet paper washed up on opulent, luxury hotel-lined Jumeirah Beach and made international headlines, an environmental group is trying to clean up the beach and others along the United Arab Emirates coastline. The Emirates Wildlife Association will encourage managers of the beaches to apply for a Blue Flag designation and meet international standards for water quality and cleanliness.

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Where Kawelo Makes Fire

You need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to Keahiakawelo, the Garden of the Gods, on Lana’i. The dusty rough track ends at Polihua Beach, an isolated stretch of white sand and unswimmable surf (the tides are dangerous; don’t even think about it).

If you take the boat from Maui, you’ll share the deck with locals carrying enormous ice chests, household appliances (we watched a guy load a washing machine) and piles of groceries. There are also a handful of rugged backpackers, motorcycle riders and well-heeled tourists in khakis and sunhats carrying golf clubs.

The carved stone marker towards the top of the road says “Garden of the Gods” but Keahiakawelo actually means “the place where Kawelo makes fire” or “the fire of Kawelo.”  According to the Hawaiian legend, the landscape was transformed into bare, red rock slopes by Kawelo’s burning every single stick of vegetation in a competition against another kahuna to see who could keep the fire going the longest.

I learned this from Kepa Maly of the Lana’i Culture and Heritage Center—the center must be one of the most under-visited facilities in the islands. I also learned that there are artifacts that show human habitation of Lana’i from 1,000 years ago and had my brain short out on the idea that an entire island (it’s actually 98%) could be owned by a pineapple company and then a hotel company. The island still has a weird colonial vibe, and before I was taken down by seasickness in the Maui channel, I was glad to be moving on.

For a Beach Vacation, Should I Go All the Way to Bali or the Maldives When Hawaii Would Do?

Vagabonding traveler Rolf Potts answers your questions about travel

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The (Full Moon) Party’s Over

Koh phangan Photo by Peter Delevett.

Peter Delevett visited Thailand's Koh Phangan with his girlfriend in 1994, discovering a boho backpacker Eden. He recently returned -- older, married and with a mortgage -- just in time for the island's signature bash.

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Jason Wilson: One Traveler, Three Dishes Named ‘Jason’

Never mind his travel-writing accomplishments. Jason Wilson has a breakfast sandwich, a pizza and a dessert named after him in three countries. Go ahead: Be stunned. Jim Benning gets the inside scoop on this rarest of travel feats.

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Moments of Normal

Moments of Normal Photo by Jenni Kolsky.

Jenni Kolsky struggles to make sense of the photographs she took at a peaceful beach in war-torn Israel

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