Each week we stumble upon (just kidding, we are always looking for exciting new places) travel destinations which make us go “whoa” to “wow” in no time as soon as the travel bug bites. This week, we are crushing on Ussuri Bay in Russia, a short drive from Vladiovostok, bordering North Korea and China. It’s hard to miss Ussuri Bay on the Muravyov-Amursky peninsula on Russia’s Pacific coastline. By Shubhanjana Das
Ussuri Bay, as the name suggests, is a beach. However, it is very different from the usual picture that the word ‘beach’ conjures up in all our minds. Ussuri Beach is a glass beach. Yes, you read that right. A unique anomaly and a stupendous example of how mother nature knows how to carve beauty even out of trash, Ussuri Bay’s glass beach reputation wasn’t always associated to its USP. Initially, it was just broken glass pieces from a porcelain factory’s waste and unwanted glass from the Soviet times. According to reports, trucks full of vodka bottles, beer and wine bottles along with other glass waste were being mindlessly dumped in the bay. Over time, the forces of the water have smoothed it, making it appear like colourful glass pebbles on the shoreline. The tide’s ebb and flow, and years of erosion have flattened the glass shards out, making it look like precious glass pebbles.
Ragged coastline, black volcanic sand and the infinite ocean is the perfect setting for such a spectacular anomaly to have occurred, drawing hundreds and thousands of tourists every day. Clearly, mother nature had a different plan for the wastes humans leave behind. If you visit Ussuri Bay during the summers, the bright sun shining on the vibrant glass pebbles against the glistening water is a sight to behold.
However, if you are planning to visit ‘Glass Bay’, you may have to hurry! Not only have tourists visiting the beach started stealing the glass pebbles as souvenirs, nature is also doing its thing. It is predicted that erosion will smoothen the glass pieces to the extent that they will no longer be visible, returning Glass Bay back to what it was before – a black sand shore. Studies and observations have also shown the difference in the size of the stones in 20 years!