I am a beach lover. I am also someone who loves to float, swim, snorkel, play, or even just stand and chat with friends in the ocean. I love looking at the ocean, listening to it, smelling the saltwater scent, but most of all, I love submersing myself in it. If given the choice, I will always opt to sit in the sand on the beach and swim in the ocean rather than be poolside while on vacation. That’s just my preference.
The average beach-goer brings a plethora of paraphernalia along with them for a day at the beach. A variety of suntan lotions, a hat or visor, sunglasses, aquatic shoes, perhaps something to read or some sort of listening device, a camera to capture memorable moments, snorkel, fins, goggles…these are just some of the items we bring to the beach to entertain us.
In addition to many of these standard items, my personal beach bag includes one rather unique item……an empty container which used to house a roll of 35mm film. I converted to digital photography years ago, so why do I carry this empty film container with me to the beach? I use it to collect a small sand sample of each beach that I visit. I began this practice several years ago. I am extremely fortunate to have a job with Apple Vacations that sends me to many of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and the world. I wanted to share in some tangible way my travel experience with my children, friends and family members, so I began bringing home a small vial of sand.
I am not a geologist. I can’t discuss the geological make-up of the sand samples that I have collected. The unique composition of the sand is like the fingerprint of a beach. Each vial of sand is fascinating and beautiful to behold, but what makes these vials of sand so priceless are the memories of times spent on the beaches from which they came. Sand from Maroma Beach in the Riviera Maya is soft, white and powdery compared to the sand of the beaches in Oahu, which are more golden in color and much coarser as they seem to contain tiny smooth flecks of shell. The sand that I collected on the island of St. Lucia is very dark – not black like the sand of Costa Rica but very close, yet fine and silky.
I’ve been told there is a beach in Maui on the road to Hana where the sand is actually green like emeralds. I’ve not yet seen that beach but I look forward to someday getting there. When I do, I’ll be sure to have my empty film container with me in my bag.