World's Most Unusual Beaches

From quirky to quaint, bizarre to beautiful, our writers stretch out on some of the world's most unusual beaches.

Andrew Heasley: Sipadan Island, Malaysia. Touted as one of the top 10 diving spots in the world. Among the most spectacular sites is the "turtle graveyard": a yawning cave entrance at about 25 metres that opens into a labyrinth of caves.

Jane Reddy: Lizard Island. The island, 28 kilometres off the Far North Queensland coast, is a jumping-off point to some of the world's best diving on the Outer Great Barrier Reef.

Paola Totaro: Cenito, Naples. Cenito is a mere thumbnail of sand, an ethereal ribbon among the Posillipo cliffs, shaped by the tides and the vagaries of nature. Sometimes it is there, many times it is not

Bruce Elder: Matala Beach, Crete. This is the beach evoked by Joni Mitchell, who stayed here when she fled to Europe after breaking up with Graham Nash. In Carey from her album, Blue, she sings of the Mermaid Cafe and the warm winds that blow in from Africa

Richard Jinman: Brighton Beach, England. Brighton Beach isn't what you would call a beauty spot. It has pebbles instead of sand and water the colour of a dead fish's eyes. o matter. I adore the place and come here as often as I can.

Hamish McDonald: Caspian Sea, Iran. It was October 2001 and for me the War on Terror had hit a lull. Holed up in Tehran awaiting clearance to get to the Afghan border, I hankered for a swim in the Caspian Sea.

Daniel Fallon: Waimea Bay, O'ahu, Hawaii. Hawaii has always meant big-wave surfing. The concept of "Waimea Bay" was introduced to me as a nipper growing up next to the shore-breaking dumpers of Coogee Beach.

Kendall Hill: Jose Ignacio, Uruguay. It would be nice to think I was one of the first to discover the laidback allure of Jose Ignacio but the truth is Martin Amis, Naomi Campbell and Mario Testino beat me to it. They were the pioneers of the jetset crowd who now flock to this intimate beauty spot.

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