What’s the most beautiful beach that you have ever been to? Close your eyes and picture it. What colour was the sand? What colour was the water? Was it quiet and peaceful? Or were there lots of people and partying?
When I think of the most beautiful beach I have ever been to, the first place that pops into my mind is Arno. Most people when I say Arno, have no idea where it even is. Even when I say the country it is in, the Marshall Islands by the way, people are still baffled. I was lucky enough to spend last year living in a little island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And in my last month there, I took a weekend trip to another atoll called Arno, and I wish I had gone there every weekend.
Now why Arno, you ask? There are so many elements that go into it. It’s not just about one thing, like the colour of the sand. It’s the atmosphere of it all as a whole. Just like restaurants can have great food, but horrible service. Or airlines have great service but horrible food. Beaches can have beautiful white sand, but freezing cold water, or whatever else turns you off about a beach.
But Arno, it was something magical. That sand. It was like walking on beautiful carpet laid out just for me. One that leads right to the ocean, or the lagoon anyways. The sand reflected the sun, just like I remember the snow did in Canada. It was incredible. And the contrast of the white sand, and the blues and greens of the water, was something dreams are made of. You know the colours I am talking about. Those blues and greens that makes everyones eyes light up. The picture perfect water, that even a gloomy day can’t seem to dim it’s sparkle. There is nothing quite like a pristine white sand beach with turquoise water.
So add to the white sand and turquoise water, the perfect temperatures. I am not even just talking about outside in the air, that water was the perfect temperature to be refreshing after spending some time wandering along the beach and working up a sweat. We were there in May, which is the end of the dry season but the rainy season hadn’t quite picked up fully yet. So it wasn’t deathly hot, and it wasn’t raining the whole weekend either, only a few showers for a short period on one morning.
But that’s not the only beach I have ever been on with white sand and turquoise water, and good weather… so what makes Arno stand out? Well, within minutes of each other we spotted a black tipped reef shark, a sting ray and a sea-turtle, not to mention the plethora of colourful (mostly yellow) fish that swam through the water in and out of the coral. A snorkeler’s dream, or diver if that’s your thing. You could hardly go into the water without spotting some kind of beautiful sea creature, and that was only in the weekend we were there, I can only imagine if we had been there longer.
Once again though, I saw sea turtles in Hawaii, many times. And fish were seen every time I went in the water in Hawaii or the Marshall Islands, and even in Thailand, why Arno? Well, have you ever had a 2-mile long beach to yourself? For a whole weekend? I mean like not a soul to be seen for 95% of your time on the beach. Aside from a little boy fishing for about 15 minutes one of the days, we did not see another person on the beach. Not in the water, not lounging on the beach, no where near it. That’s not to say we didn’t see anyone on the island, people live there. There are locals. They are friendly. We saw them when we walked the one street that the island holds. But on the actual beach, it was just myself and my boyfriend. It’s not often you get a beach to yourself, especially one with the ideal conditions previously discussed.
So sure I have been to white sand beaches (hell I have been to some pretty awesome black sand, and even green sand beaches too), with turquoise waters. I have been to other picturesque beaches that people always talk about. But that’s the thing, the ones everyones talking about, means the ones everyones going to. That perfect serene beach turns into that tourist filled beach, and those ideal conditions start to diminish. For the locals, the beach is their own backyard; completely unaware that many people from where I am from would kill for this kind of scenery in their backyard.
So why is Arno the first beach that comes to mind when I am asked to think of the best beach I have been to? It’s the complete package; white sand, turquoise water, ideal temperatures (water and air), plenty to see under water and a quiet serenity dreams are made of. Not to mention sunrises on beaches like this are what this little budding photographer’s dreams are made of. And the cool part about it is, not many people will get the chance to see this incredible place for themselves, since it’s not an easy place to get to. (Flights to the Marshall Islands alone are exorbitant due to the lack of airlines flying there. And once you are there, getting the boat from Majuro to Arno is very hit or miss).
So for those of you who will never get the chance to see this once in a lifetime beach, I leave you with these photos to fill your island dreams with. There’s a reason the Pacific Ocean is named something that means ‘peaceful in character’. What’s the most beautiful beach you have been to? And what made it so beautiful to you?