Forget Gravelly Point: There's a beach in the Caribbean that's so close to an airport that bathers are literally blown into the ocean by jet engines.
Say hello to Maho Beach, located on the Dutch side of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, the "smallest island in the world ever to have been partitioned between two different nations." (France claims the other half.) The stretch of crystal sand features 80-degree temperatures throughout the winter and is an ideal vacation spot if you are deaf and blind. If you have all your senses intact, however, the constant roaring of Airbuses flying into Princess Juliana International Airport might start to make you wish for Disney World.
This review of the ultimate "Aviation Vacation" posted at IGoUGo will give you an idea of how little relaxing is going on at Maho:
Float on your back in the warm Caribbean water while a 747 jumbo jet from Paris thunders less than 50 feet over your head. Experience a 150-mile-per-hour jet blast across your body as a plane takes off less than 50 feet in front of you! Sip cocktails at a beachside bar while watching people think that standing on a sandy beach during a 150-mile-per-hour jet blast is a good idea!!!
And another review clarifies the exquisite agony brought upon those who choose Maho for a weekend getaway. As the planes furiously crank their engines to make it off the short runway, they create a powerful current of superfast air that screams down to the beach, filling every orifice with sand:
Ever experienced 150 mile per hour winds? You will if you're standing at the fence or on the beach! It creates a big wave in the water which sends a wake a good half mile out into the sea.
Many people think it will be fun to stand on the beach and experience this jet blast, without thinking that with 150 mile per hour wind comes 150 mile per hour SAND. And thus, it is quite amusing to stand on the observation deck at La Terrasse, or at the Sunset Beach Bar right next to the beach, and watch the spectators line up for a 747 departure. Seconds later they all being shrieking in pain and alarm, and either dive to the ground or run for the water as the sand blasts into their skin. It's really funny! Take a camcorder.
The reviewer goes on to say that the air whistles with turbulence a good 5 minutes after each plane has landed. I'm guessing the ringing in the ears doesn't stop until you're back in the United States... if ever.
Video follows the jump.