Cranks:Does white or brown sand attract more Yankees?

By BN HeardSpecial to The Star

Not really a nice way to ask that question is there? Honestly, I was just pondering the white sand versus brown sand conundrum and thought I would consider the question. Growing up in the South, the only beaches I ever knew were the snow-white beaches on the Florida Panhandle, thus I might be a little prejudice when it comes to which I prefer.

Having visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina quite a few times over recent years, I must say that the brown sand is quite nice also. The people are wonderful in both places, but the Yankee edge would have to go to the Outer Banks brown sand, simply because their beaches are further north, thus folks from the New Jersey and New York areas can get there much easier.

It seems much of the sand on Florida’s beach is made from quartz crystals which are a result of the years of weathering of big land masses like the Appalachian Mountains. Now that makes sense… Nice Southern sand made from nice big mountains or specifically Southern mountains. The quartz crystals of course travel down rivers into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Northwest Florida is said to have the whitest sand in the state – I’d brag on that and I’m pretty sure they do on a lot of billboards and tourist attracting materials. Down around Venice, Florida, there are gray and black sand beaches. To be honest, I’ve never seen a black beach in person, but it sounds like it would be very hot. Hotter than a white beach anyway.

Various websites that discuss Florida sand, also point out the “Sand Diversity” of Florida and note that there are also beaches with brown sand, and even orange looking sand.

Hawaii is another state known for its beautiful white sand beaches. Again, a place that I have not been, and I may just be content looking at pretty pictures of their beaches. Why? They say that many of their pretty white sand beaches are the result of a lot of fish poop.

Parrotfish evidently are good white sand producers. One scientific study noted that one giant humphead parrotfish can produce 11,000 pounds of sand in a single year. That is a lot of sand for a fish This same study went on to say that a significant fraction of the sand in beaches on the Caribbean Sea, including the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii and elsewhere was once eaten and recycled or pooped out by what literally had to be a pooped out parrotfish or two.

So I’ve probably buried my feet in fish poop in Florida.

I learned that the beautiful beaches of Florida come from the Appalachian Mountains and fish poop. I know that my explanation is oversimplified, which is something I am very capable of doing.

As for the Yankee question, I won’t worry about that either. Most folks at the beach are pretty happy and for the most part friendly. It could be the beauty of the beach or what they are drinking.

I was reading where a hurricane last year evidently washed up or uncovered a dozen cannonballs from The War Between the States on a beach in South Carolina. Neither side claimed them, they just had a group of ordinance experts from a local military base come out and blow them up.

So the bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter what color your sand is because the chances are it was made from and in places all over the world or a pooped out parrotfish.

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