Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is This The Best Beach In America?


This self styled Beach Bum is hardly in the position to take the mickey out of someone called "Dr. Beach", but anyone with a website that pictures themselves holding up a stethoscope to a conch must have a sense of humour and consequently constitutes a valid target. The Mel Brooks look-a-like is one Dr.Stephen Leatherman who conducts an "exhaustive annual study of America's beaches" that involves analysing fifty criteria such as sand colour, water condition and lifeguard cover that so he can come up with a "Top 10" rating. Not a bad way to make a few bob, I suppose.

This year, according to the good Doctor, Ocracoke Island Beach came in at number one - the first time the accolade has gone to a beach outside of Florida or Hawaii. This caught my beady eye for several reasons. The island is the furthest flung member of a string of barrier islands that make up the Outer Banks off the coast of North Carolina. I'll just say "Queen of The Surf Pirates" and leave it like that. Secondly, I've waxed on about my appreciation of piratical tendencies before, so to discover that Ocracoke was the stomping ground of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard was positively riveting. Add the fact that back in Blackbeard's day the locals spoke with a Cornish patois which - perhaps somewhat dubiously -is claimed to resonate in the local accent today, and I was Google Earthing the place and working out if it was feasible to get there for half term.

Rating a beach is a bit like giving a woman marks out of ten for her looks but I'll cut Dr. Leatherman some slack since I suspect his Dr.Beach schtick is more about promoting the "Healthy Beaches" campaign than awarding prizes. Anyway, everyone knows the best beach is actually...well, that'd be telling - but feel free to share.
(PS Sea Nymph scores a 10)

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