Beaches are places to relax and have fun. One can just lie there in the sun, enjoy the views and the sounds of the waves. There are so many other things to do like going for a swim or simply walking. Despite their beauty, many beaches have more of a story involved. Some beaches are so stunning and yet they are dangerous. Usually, we equate dangerous with crime and harmful turmoil beyond our control. In this case, this turmoil can come from threats by dangerous marine life, such as sharks and jelly-fish. The dangers can even eventually be caused by man-made factors that have driven environmental change, which in turn, worsened the toxicity of a place. This can result in injuries, panic and even death sometimes. In view of this,I have compiled a list of dangerous beaches, some of which are enthralling and yet quite deadly:
10. Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai
Mumbai is known for many reasons, including some memorable beaches. However, this beach is not really one known for its scenic beauty. It is one of the most polluted beaches in the world. Garbage is known to happily float around the ocean along with sea-weed. It has a very thick debris layer that prevents the sand from being visible at some points. The beach is completely unfit for swimming. In the evening time, people of certain sections of society do come to the beach and enjoy themselves. However, the water is filthy beyond measure and became more polluted in 2011. During that time, the ship MV Rak sank off the cost and about 60,000 mt tons of coal washed up on the shore. However, despite this, in the month of September every year, locals still brave the waters during Ganesh Chaturthi Celebration.
9. Gansbaai, South Africa
This is a fishing town located in the Western Cape and is basically a home to dangerous marine life. It is about 100 miles away from Cape Town and is also known as “The great White Shark Capital of the World”. Earlier the economy was mainly based on fishing but now tourism has propelled its growth. Researchers from National Geographic Channel visit the place regularly. A few miles away from the coastline, there is a channel of water between the two islands of Dyer Island and Geyser Rock. There are about 60000 fur seals located there, and this basically attracts a lot white sharks who feed on the smaller marines. There are also thousands of penguins there. Tourists come to this place in caged-shark proof units to photograph the sights. Many incidents have been reported of people have near-death brushes with the sharks and videos going viral on the internet.
8. Bikini Atoll, Hawaii
In the 1990’s the Bikinians began a Tourism program on Bikini for tourists. However, previously, this island paradise was struck tragically by the deeds of mankind. In 1946, President Truman instructed the Army and Navy to consider Bikini as a place for nuclear testing. This was because of the island’s remote location. The Bikinians were shifted to the island of Rongerik where they faced near starvation. Finally in 1954, the nuclear bomb was dropped on Bikini. The people in the nearby island were affected by severe radiation. They had diarrhoea, skin itching and vomiting. Though the people went back to their home island in 1970, they still require treatments for radiation. Radiation levels on the island are not alarming anymore but have had wide effects on the flora and fauna as well. The water is still not entirely pristine, but diving courses are now quite popular there.
7. Kilauea, Hawaii
The Black Sand Beach at Hawaii is one dangerous place to even randomly place a towel. Kilauea is Hawaii’s largest beach and is also home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The name “Kilauea” literally means “spewing” or “much spreading” in Hawaiian. The ocean has been receiving regular doses of lava from the volcano since 1983. The visual treat is quite spectacular, but it is potentially life-threatening at times. Earthquakes have become more frequent as well because of the sheer force of the volcanoes. The other reason why this beach is quite dangerous is due to the number of shark attacks. Since 1828, there have been about 102 unprovoked shark attacks of which 8 were fatal. Clearly, one has to be very careful on this beach after all.
6. Hanakapiai, Hawaii
Another beautiful beach located in Hawaii, it is considered quite dangerous primarily because of its natural geographical conditions. It is remotely located and has no road access. The currents in the region are very powerful. There have been at least 15 drowning victims whose bodies are yet to be recovered. Flash flooding can happen at any time of the year, provided there is enough upstream rain. In case one gets caught in a current, the nearest safe shore area is about six miles away. In the last 40 years, over 300 people have drowned in the waters. This is the highest number of people drowned among all the isles. According to a sign which was posted on the beach, about 83 people have drowned at Hanakapiai although it has no official backing. Thus, swimming in these waters is mostly quite risky.
5. Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana, nicknamed as “Princesinha do Mar” or “Princess of the Sea” is a seemingly surprising addition to this list. This is because it actually ranks 11th in the Human Developmental Index. However, notwithstanding, the beach in this place is well-known for its crime scene. This is a problem for citizens and tourists as well. Homicide rates are disturbingly high as about 30 people were killed every week in 2007 itself. The causes of death ranged from stray bullets, narcotics-based terrorism and mugging. Thus, the best advice for a tourist would be to keep aside all expensive items hidden away. Theft is common place there. Police guard occurs heavily in the area. However, there is a greater chance of danger in the early morning when the police isn’t there. One odd way to ensure that you don’t get mugged is to wear the Brazillian style of beach-wear that is more skimpy than the usual American wear.
4. Northern Territory, Australia
Nortern Territory is a quiet place with about 3000 miles of coastline and low population of 215,000 residents. This tranquil northern coastline of Australia can be quite deadly nonetheless. Marine life has been known to injure and kill humans for quite a long time. These include sharks, rays, fish and jelly-fish. The box jellyfish, also known as chironex fleckeri has caused many deaths. It stings its victims and releases venom that can cause cardiac dysfunction, cardiac arrest and even death which can all occur within 5 minutes of the sting. According to the Center for Disease Control, Australia, about 60 people have been killed in the last 100 years. People have been advised not to swim in these waters. Even salt and fresh-water crocodiles are seen on some beaches, and this is enough to be very careful while on the beach.
3. Recife Beach, Brazil
Recife has a reputation as a dangerous city. It has the highest murder rate among Brazillian cities. The beach is prone to pick-pockets and bag-snatchers. It also has the 32nd highest homicide rate in America. Child prostitution is also a problem. The main danger for beach-hoppers is the ferocity of shark attacks. Surfing has been outlawed since 1995. It even featured in the episode called “Shark Invasion” of National Geographic Channel series. Before 1992, Recife had no more shark attacks than any average beach in Brazil, but the change was immediate and dramatic. Since 1992, there have been 59 shark attacks of which 24 were fatal. Most of these attacks are believed to be by bull sharks and tiger sharks. Bull sharks are believed to be the most fierce in the world. It is strongly recommended that one doesn’t swim over the reefs due to the strong, unpredictable currents and shark encounter.
2.Fraser Beach, Australia
Fraser Island which is the largest sandy island in the world. It is located on the southern coastline of Australian State of Queensland. The beach is beautiful and is home to a rich variety of lush rain forest with beautiful creeks. However, this place is known to be dangerous mainly because of the dingoes. The dingo is an Australian pure-bred species and are known to attack humans. There are about 150 of them in the island and are a protected species. Smaller children are at greater risk from them. There have been reports of dingoes carrying them off. Visitors are advised not to leave any food in the open as this will attract dingoes who are also scavengers. It is against the law to feed a dingo and the fine is about $250. One must never roam around the camping place at night as well. Dingoes can bite humans during encounters. The other threat are the snakes which are quite harmless unless provoked. Crocodiles have also been spotted in the western coastline of Fraser Island and thus swimming is not advisable there.
1. Acapulco, Mexico
This apparently tranquil beach is actually one of the most violent places in the world. The murder rate is about 142 murders per 100,000 people which is about 28 times higher than the US average. The City is actually the hub of a major drug racket. It has now become a battlefield for drug mafia. According to Reuters, the number of murders in Acapulco has risen to nearly 900 in 2011 which was triple of last year. The major start of the violence had begun in 2009 when the Drug Lord Arturo Bletran Leyva was killed by Mexican security forces in Cuernavaca, Mexico. This sparked off a power struggle among rival gangs. The city now has a reputation for decapitations and gang-related kidnappings. It recommended not to go swimming and perform water sports there. There are red flags near many hotels even. Marijuana is easily peddled on the beach, rather than ice-cream and is known as “Acapulco Gold”.