Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 18, 2013

Black Sand vs White Sand

St. Lucia - SoufriereAre you partial to a certain kind of sand? I admit I’m so enamoured to be by the ocean, that I don’t focus on the sand.

But once my sea lust has been satisfied, I can muster up an opinion about the sand – and realize to me, like in the rest of my world, colour doesn’t matter.

Yet, I found many who prefer the white and pale shades of cream sand, who love the sharp contrast against the pale shades of blue sea.

In photography, we’re taught about contrast, and white sand emphasizes the brilliant colour of the ocean – and those images govern the postcards, vacation brochures and websites that lure us to pick a beach destination.

So when we see darker shades of sand, the lack of contrast and the deeper shades aren’t what we’re used to – so most of us don’t like it. Do we think it won’t be soft? Or that it looks dirty?

When I walked down the several staircases to the beach at Anse Chastanet, the softness of the sand was a welcome caress to my feet, and its streaks of black sand didn’t phase me at all. It seemed to add a frame to the photos – and another layer of colour.

As I lay on my lounger, watching the gentle waves lap the shoreline, I contemplated the darker streaks – all thanks to being a volcanic island – which to me, made it even more interesting.

I had seen the streaks on many islands – Iceland, Tobago, Grenada – and it had always made me more curious, since the beaches were always smaller and more unique. I wonder why white sand beaches are bigger than black sand beaches? Is it the nature of the sand or the area due to the volcano?

I realize my fixation on sand is its proximity to the water and its texture – soft is always going to be my favourite – although I’ve walked over rocks, large and small, if I can get to the sea.

I count my lucky stars I’ve gotten to see so many places – and that I still love the beach, no matter what lies underfoot.

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