Saturday, January 3, 2015

The World's Most Beautiful Beach?

Who is the world's most beautiful woman? Where is the most livable city? The combination of individual answers to only a handful of such subjective questions is unique to any one person. I'm not sure my personal preference can be effectively weighed against someone else's. And, popularity doesn't always equal "best."

So it is with "best beach." Best for swimming, surf or snorkelling? Most beautiful? Most secluded or best to be seen at? Myself, I might have a different answer for each scenario, so I'm always puzzled by Internet lists on popular websites (CNN or such) that attempt to quantify such a thing, sometimes with a different top-ten list every year. Just how does a beach drop or gain in rank? Was there a lot of erosion this year?

But there is a beach that checks off the most boxes for me, mainly for its sugar-sand beauty and water clarity--the western (cove) portion of Twilight Beach near the remote port of Esperance, Western Australia. Even its name evokes magic; twilight is my favorite time of the day. This is a case where a picture says so much more than I can put into words. Twilight Beach is a singular pearl amongst a string of gems in the Esperance region. My wife commented that the water had an effervescence, almost like looking through a prism or cut crystal.

Twilight Beach is a great place for kids to have safe, shore-side fun.

But the sparkling turquoise water of the Southern Ocean is deceptive. The nearest land to the south is Antarctica, and the water here is quite cool, even in midsummer. Don't be fooled by the gentle lapping at water's edge as you ponder inviting granite islets that seem to be at arm's reach; the current around the rocks can be strong, access points are few, and the rock's distance is greater than it appears. By the time you reach the cliff-like formation, you also realize the water is a lot deeper than it looks. Don't attempt unless you're a strong swimmer. However, near shore the sheltered cove is generally safe for swimming, and the strand is patrolled in summer.

That's me and my two oldest sons on the right. They're strong swimmers, but I might have foregone the adventure had I known the strength of the rip current as we approached the rocks. And, with few access points we needed a hand up onto the islet.

This is a bit west of the beach, but I can't resist giving a little taste of the natural wonders of the Esperance region.

Twilight Beach is located 7km west of the port of Esperance on the Great Ocean Drive (Twilight Beach Road). Esperance itself is a 1hr 40m flight from Perth on Virgin Australia, or a full day drive (730 kilometers) via National Route 1 and State Route 40. There are two large car parks for Twilight Beach on either side of the Surf Life Saving Club. We visited here in December of 2008. If you're in the area, another iconic beach to visit is at Lucky Bay, in nearby Cape Le Grand National Park.

What is your choice for the world's best beach?

Oh, and everyone knows my wife is the most beautiful woman on the planet.

If only I'd had a panoramic camera at the time.