Monday, March 23, 2009

A Beach Comparison

Those of you who've never been to the British Virgin Islands may be wondering, "What's the big deal, anyway? We have beaches here in America, don't we?"
Well, yes, we do. In fact, we have miles upon miles of fabulous coastline here in our lovely state of South Carolina. I've grown up on SC beaches, and I'd happily live in a tent on the coast if I could. However, my hubby would have me point out the glaring differences between two famous beach vacation destinations. So I'm going to share a few reasons why Hilton Head will never rate above the British Virgin Islands.
South Carolina has sticky brown water and very fine, powdery sand that gets in every crevices, nook and cranny. This is the Hubby's main aversion to SC beaches. The British Virgin Islands, on the other hand, has grittier, off-white sand and water so greenish-blue it doesn't look real. It sort of seems like if you jump in, you'll come out blue. Also, there are humongous boulders that look like a giant just flung them down. And plenty of large shells and sea glass to collect.

The BVI's also have delightfully colored cottages that you would never find on Hilton Head Island. Heaven help the HHI homeowner who painted his beach mansion purple! This is the norm on the Islands, though. You'll see pink, turquoise, yellow and lavender everywhere.
It's beautiful.

Another staple of BVI beaches that is sorely lacking in South Carolina...animal life. Oh sure, there are jellyfish, seagulls and the occasional washed-up dead horseshoe crab. You can pretty much count on some fellow fishing for shark 5 feet from your children, too. What you will not find are chickens. Chickens are not free to roam SC beaches. Roosters are not allowed to crow at 4AM and wake up the vacationers. In the BVI you don't need an alarm clock. Never mind the fact that your on island time and don't need to wake up early. There are bound to be at least three roosters on the coast having a wee-hours crow fest.

And um...a cow or two walking through the trees nearby. Oh, and peacocks...have you ever heard the bone-chilling noises those things make??

When vacationing on Hilton Head Island, you can choose to rent a large beach umbrella and chairs from the lifeguard or bring your own stuff from home. Either way, what you've got is usually multi-colored and made from fabric and PVC. In the BVI, you can just hang your towels (and clothes, if you want) on an adorable umbrella made from all naturals materials, surrounded by greenery (and more chickens in the bushes.)
Just watch out for those poisonous trees!
Occasionally, you will hear of a minor shark encounter in the waters off the South Carolina coast. Many times my children have been ordered out of the water by lifeguards because some ominous creature is stalking a school of bait fish down the coastline. (Usually it's just a ray, but since the water's a murky brown, it's kind of hard to tell for sure.)
I'm happy to report that the Virgin Islands don't have any true ocean predators that feed on human flesh. No, it's true! Well, there are barracuda, but they don't want to eat people, they just want your jewelry. Sharks are almost unheard of. So if you've brought a shark fisherman on your boat, you're going to have to set up a chum line if you expect any chance of attracting a shark. We found that stringing grandmas off the stern of the boat does not work so well.

Now Hilton Head does provide many opportunities for family fun. There are a few mini-golf courses on the Island. Unfortunately, we've witnessed public safety officials dragging alligators out of the lagoons at these courses more than once. You will find that the BVI offers Gator-Free-Mini-Golf. There are lots of lizards and such, but none big enough bite off your arm. The only creatures you will find on a BVI golf course are chickens and goats. The goats won't bother you as they're busy doing lawn maintenance. Here's a BVI mini-golf water hazard.

Hilton Head has grown quite a bit in the last twenty years. They have all your modern conveniences now...including a Starbucks! the BVI they have grocery stores that come right to your boat! That's right. For only $4.00 you can buy a can of Pringles without having to get in the dinghy and drive to the shore. You can also buy Diet Cokes, liquor, toilet paper and blueberry muffins for tomorrow's breakfast. The name of the grocery boat? Deliverance! Really!

And finally...well, you won't be chased by the Black Pearl off the coast of Hilton Head. Remember, Jack Sparrow and his gang hide out in the CARIBBEAN.


BOSSY said...

Wow. Love.

poppy fields said...

Okay, you've sold me on the BVI!

mendyc said...

I want a grocery boat to bring me muffins and liquor for breakfast!

Anonymous said...

If you've never been, you don't get it. Once you go to the BVI's, you can't wait to go back.