You probably built sandcastles on the beach as a kid. Maybe you still do! Why exactly do we construct these towers out of sand, packing down the grains firmly and decorating them with seashells and seaweed? And who invented sandcastle competitions? Maybe you’ve witnessed a sandcastle competition on an island beach, with men and women laboring under the sun, trowels and hands working feverishly against a tight deadline. It’s incredible what these artists are able to achieve, and how meticulously they craft sculptures that will soon be swept away by tide and time.
(No ordinary sandcastle. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
The other day, in a moment of what I like to call “island serendipity,” the Island Runaways bloggers stumbled across a sandcastle on Florida’s Virginia Key. Now, there are sandcastles, and then there are sandcastles. And this one was the biggest sandcastle in the world. No, seriously. I’m not exaggerating. No less an authority than the Guinness Book of World Records declared it the tallest sandcastle on the entire planet.
(The massive sandcastle on Virginia Key. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
We walked around the edges and oohed and ahhed (and took pictures for you, of course). And asked ourselves, “How in the heck did this giant castle of sand get here?” No signs or information revealed the answer, but we did notice that worked into the sculpture were buildings from around the world. There was the Taj Majal from India. And the Eiffel Tower from Paris. The castle appeared to have an international theme, which added to the mystery. Who’s building sandcastles with the Taj Mahal on a southeast Florida island?
(The Taj Mahal sculpted in sand. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
Turkish Airlines, that’s who. Last year the airline sponsored this creation by award-winning sandcastle sculptor Ted Siebert, in honor of its new Miami-Istanbul flight. It took more than 1800 tons of sand to build, and it stands at 45 feet and 10 inches tall. A team of 19 artists were on hand to craft this impressive achievement, which includes a rendition of the Statue of Liberty and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
(The Eiffel Tower on the sandcastle. Photo (c) Island Runaways.)
It was magnificent sight, and amazingly, still standing proud after a whole year exposed to tropical rains and sun. This just goes to show: you never know what you’ll find on an island. That’s one reason why I love to explore them. You’re strolling along in your flip flops with your beach towel, minding your own business, and next thing you know…something simply takes your breath away.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve discovered on a tropical island escape?