Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
Maho Beach Sint Maarten Reviews
Amazing experience and sights of this beach Nov 18, 2009
While on a tour of the island we stopped on Maho Beach which is famous for the airport and the landing pattern of the aircraft. Some very large planes land on this landing strip but comes in very low to the beach. I was able to stand dead center to the runway on the beach and watch as a large commercial airliner came in for a landing above me, most certainly a thrill. There is also a bar and grill named Sunset Bar and Grill which famous for its view of the runway and also having a radio broadcasting the landing pattern frequency. This is a must see part of the island, although i do recommend taking a taxi since parking seems very scarce from what i was able to observe.
p.s. speaking with one of the locals, i found out that local children will hold on to the fence while a large aircraft is taking off and will hang on for dear life.
Part of the Carribean 2009 travel blog
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Jet surfing on Maho Beach St Maarten Aug 08, 2008
Now I am sure a few people have seen the photos of aircraft landing at Princess Juliana International Airport on Saint Maarten(its that crazy beach where you see pictures of aircraft so low that it looks like they can't be real). But how many have heard of the adventure sport that a few crazy people undertake on Maho beach. You see the photos of aircraft landing, but what about when they take off!
Logic would say that putting your body only a short distance behind massive engines that propel aircraft which weigh upwards of 100 tons can't be good for you. I refer to this sport as "Jet Blast Surfing", as in essence your body is buffered by the jet exhaust expelled from the aircraft engines. But the locals call it " Riding the fence". As the technique evolves getting a good grip on the fence and hanging on for dear life as your body is buffered by jet waves, sand, and cooked by the extreme heat of the jets engines.
An adequate description would be that it feels like you are going to die as the extreme heat and force washes over your body for what feels like an eternity, but in reality is only several seconds. But for those seconds the combination between fear and excitement is quite an adrenaline rush. After the experience is over, you pick yourself up and think about the stupidity of your actions. All it would of taken to cause some serious harm, is a small piece of debris to be picked up by the aircraft's engine.
To give you an indication of how stupid an undertaking this really is you only have to look at the numerous signs displayed on the beach which say "Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death."
An awesome warning sign!
For those faint hearted people there is still plenty to do at Maho beach. Just watching the planes take off and land at such a close distance is an interesting experience, especially from the Sunset Beach Bar(www.sunsetbeachbar.com). This bar is right on the edge of beach close to the action and has an amazing atmosphere, with the crowd antics, the airtraffic control radio pumping over the load speaker, and the cheap drinks(but for really cheap drinks go to the other side of the beach).
Overall the beach has a fun light atmosphere, with everyone enjoying themselves whether they are just lying on the beach or partaking in the crazy adventure sport. I certainly haven't found a beach that is as much fun anywhere else in the world. Just remember if you do visit, there is a very good reason why the centre of the beach is always clear.