Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maho Beach St. Maarten (Airport Beach)

Maho Beach was the only thing I wanted to accomplish while visiting St. Maarten because it is one of the most unique beaches in the world. There's nothing particularly amazing about the sand or the water (although both are surprisingly great and an added bonus). For Maho, it's all about location. And that location is basically on the runway.

Watching the planes fly just barely overhead is a lot of fun. And trying to time a picture of the moving plane behind you while not looking at it is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. But luckily there are quite a few small planes landing and taking off to give you practice.

But the most fun is when the big jets take off.

It gets exciting when the 747s and other commercial airliners pull back from the gate.

Everyone runs from the water onto the beach to get pelted by the sand, and everyone laying on the beach secures all their stuff so it doesn't blow into the water. Those of us who dared went right up to the fence.

You're close enough that you can see the pilots waving as they turn at the end of the runway. A few of them were taking pictures of us, which I thought was fun. I hadn't thought about how unique we would be to them. They usually don't have an audience cheering them on.

Most people hung back on the beach, on the other side of the road. But it didn't really matter where you were, unless you were to the far left or right, you were gonna get hit.

The jet blast is strong enough that I couldn't hold onto the fence with one hand and record with the other. It ripped me off the fence and threw me into the road. I was impressed.

From the beach, the jet blast just feels like a really windy day on any beach. Really windy. Like hurricane force windy, but on a nice sunny day. The wind picks up and pelts you with sand for about 30 seconds and then it stops. And you and your towel and your bag are covered.

My bag was closed.

It's not painful, it just stings a little when it's happening but it doesn't last.

I filmed the entire experience, so I don't have very many pictures (hence the two screencaps above). Here you go:

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