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The World's Best (?) Beaches: Beach-Bumming on the Looney Front - Part 2

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Continuing the quixotic crusade against prioritising beaches as the world's best or most beautiful, on the Top Ten list, or Top 25, or Top 50, let's tilt at a few more windmills in the current craze to number everything as the top 7, top 11, top 9 ¾ etc.

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Listed - The Baths Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

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Unlisted Virgin Gorda

Without denying that beaches thus listed are indeed magnificent, it's so easy to come up with so many equally magnificent unlisted beaches that it makes no sense trying to prioritise, as shown in last week's blog. Just enjoy!

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Listed - Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & caicos

Looking at five lists taken randomly from the Internet, Hawaiian beaches figure eight times - four on Condé Nast Traveler's 20 Most Beautiful, twice on Rough Guide's 30 World's Best, once on Thrillist's 25 Best, once on The Guardian Travel's 50 Best, and nowhere on Tripadvisor Traveller's Top 25. But none appears on more than one list.

Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, though, which overall also has eight beaches deified, appears on three different lists, and Koh Pha Ngan on two. I've been to neither but they certainly look splendiferous. It's all so subjective, though, devaluing Mother Nature's multifaceted objective beauty amid her cornucopia of gifts.

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Unlisted - Lac Bay, Bonaire

I can shout 'snap' at Waipio Beach on the Big Island in Hawaii, which figures at no: 10 on Condé Nast, with glorious sunshine highlighting its vast mountain-girt valley, its pastel green meadows, darker emerald slopes and iridescent blue ocean.

Of course my own effort, taken in a storm - need I say more, given my typically exquisite timing - highlights a brooding air of mystery, and that's being charitable.

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Another 'snap' call comes at Hanalei Bay, on Hawaii's Kauai Island, which figures at No:25 on Rough Guide in what looks like a distorted helicopter overview of its translucent turquoise sea and verdant foliage. Here's my version

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Of course, if you climb along the start of the 11-mile Kalalau Trail, ending in Kalalau Beach, you can get views likes these.

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There's a narrow beach, too, after about an hour or so, on the descent from the first high pass

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There are so many other unlisted Hawaiian beaches, equally superb in their magnificence.

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Near Pololu Valley on north coast of the Big Island, again in stormy weather

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Maui, east coast

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Maui, south coast

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As for Kauai, beyond Hanalei Bay, there are remote and wild beaches in splendiferous locations tight against the fluted battlements and rounded buttresses, soaring monoliths and craggy peaks, chasmic ravines and perpendicular valleys of the Napali coast that can only be reached by foot, boat or helicopter.

From a boat

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From a helicopter

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Far to the south and over the Equator, Papua New Guinea is renowned for its gorgeous highland scenery. It is no slouch in the beach front, either, although it appears only once on the five lists - Nemto Island, to the north of New Hanover, in the The Guardian Travel's 'wild and remote' category.

I don't know Nemto but what about these:

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Kavieng, New Ireland

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Another

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And another

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Near Fatmilak, New Ireland east coast

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New Ireland west coast south of Kavieng

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Bougainville Island, near Inus Point

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Kokopo, New Britain with smoking Tavurvur Volcano that destroyed Rabaul in 1994 still smoking

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Kimbe, New Britain

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Another

The Solomon Islands to the east of Papua New Guinea get no mention at all, not even in the The Guardian Travel's 'wild and remote' category, although they have many superb beaches.

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Makira Island

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Another

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And another

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Savo Island

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Another

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And another

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Taro, Choiseul Island

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Another

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And another

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Fauro, Shortland Islands

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Another

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Gizo

For the total desert island experience, there's Kasolo, a golden and verdant uninhabited speck merely 300 yards long in impossibly turquoise waters in the shadow of mighty Kolombangara Volcano in Solomon's Western Province.

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Once also called Plum Pudding Island for reasons I've been unable to ascertain, it is now much better known as Kennedy Island, because it was here that JFK and his crew swam ashore in 1943 after their PT boat was rammed by a Japanese transport.

There are plenty of trees, but of course they chose the one island without fruit trees and thus food. So they soon swam on to nearby Olasana, with its abundance of coconuts, meaning both food and water.

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As for Yours Truly, of course, our own little boat suddenly churns round, the starboard side dips into the waves in a catastrophic swerve and we're capsizing. The idiot boatman's holding the outboard handle between his legs and says he slipped.

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Actually I think he's had an erotic daydream, giving the crotch-held handle some competition. He finally stabilises and I don't have to reprise JFK, although I'm as drenched as if I had.

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One beach I wouldn't dignify, though it appears on Rough Guide is much ballyhooed Kuta, in Bali. It might once, a few aeons ago, have presented a glorious expanse of pristine sand, palm trees and azure waters, but it's now an over-commercialised dog's breakfast.

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I could go on forever. But here are just a few more - evidence that you don't have to go to the tropics for your beautiful beach. I can call 'snap' on Myrtos on Kefalonia Island in Greece, which appears at 17 on Rough Guide.


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But what of unlisted Mylos Beach on neighbouring Lefkada

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Or Braewick, Shetland Islands, UK

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Or Cockle Creek, Tasmania

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Or... or... or...

[Upcoming blog next Sunday: Return to Animal Planet on the Looney Front - A Look At Camels And Llamas]

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By the same author: Bussing The Amazon: On The Road With The Accidental Journalist, available with free excerpts on Kindle and in print version on Amazon.

Swimming With Fidel: The Toils Of An Accidental Journalist, available on Kindle, with free excerpts here, and in print version on Amazon in the U.S here.