Let me start by saying that with the exception of health professionals, my wife and my sister-in-law are the only two women to have seen me naked in person as an adult until last fall. My sister-in-law got a good look many years ago when I was skinny dipping at a local lake...a whole other story, and not very interesting at that. And the experience last fall was actually part of the lead up to this day's event.
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to, or maybe it would be more accurate to say I had the motivation to visit Wreck Beach. For those of you who don't know the name, it's a world famous, legally sanctioned clothing optional beach located at the tip of Point Grey, right next to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada. Wreck Beach is ranked #7 in the world for clothing optional beaches...or so I've heard. On July 2nd, the Wreck Beach Preservation Society was holding a skinny dip event with the intention of setting a new record for the beach. And apparently there is an anonymous donor willing to donate $5 per person if they can get more than 1000 people into the water simultaneously. I thought that was an interesting idea, and I'm always willing to do my bit for a good cause, so I planned to attend. And now, I think it might be a good topic as a first blog entry for me to write a little bit about what it was like to shed my cloths in front of thousands of people for the first time.
I wanted to attach a few pics to this blog entry of the beach itself, but I'm not sure if that's possible with a blog entry, so I've included them in a pic thread in the male members section with a few photos of myself taken this day. There is a link at the end of this entry if you are interested in checking it out.
It started last summer when I read about a group skinny dip that was held at Wreck Beach. They were part of the attempt to break the record for the world wide simultaneous skinny dip. I didn't hear about it until after it had already happened, but the idea intrigued me. I started watching the web site for plans for the 2011 event with the thought that it might be a hoot to give it a try.
To be honest, I had some concerns...was this really a good idea for me? I've never been outgoing in this manor before, and I'm not sure how I would react to seeing a bunch of naked women walking around. I know ogling, rude/lewd behaviour and even showing an erection are frowned upon in such settings. Well, I asked myself if this was something I wanted to do...and I kept coming up with yes...sort of. It's not that getting nude with a bunch of strangers is something that I've always wanted to do, but it is something that's well outside my comfort zone. I'm 55, and I've spent most of my life playing it safe. I want to live a little and take a few risks...but I'm not going to try skydiving or hang gliding...so yeah, I decided that skinny dipping at Wreck Beach is something that gets me out there doing something different. I was never worried about the rude or lewd behavior, I can control my actions well enough. But the other two...ogling and having an erection...that was different. I figured if I got an erection, I might have to stroll off to a private spot and cover it up somehow until it went away. As for the staring...that was going to be hard to avoid. Not only are a guy's eyes naturally drawn to the sensual curves of a woman's body, but I've always had a difficult avoiding glancing at a woman's cleavage, or her butt, even if she is fully clothed. A beach full of young, sexy women frolicking in the surf would definitely be taxing on my resolve.
Over the next few months I would occasionally come across something on the internet that gave me more confidence to continue. I read a review of one of the group skinny dips somewhere in the world and the writer had described it as a group of 50 something hippies getting together and trying to recapture their youth. Okay...that sounds like I would fit in nicely with that. I also found an article from a few years back saying that the culture of Wreck Beach was changing. There were too many non-nudists visiting the beach to ogle the girls that most of the women no longer even went topless. I was only mildly disappointed at this. Sure it would be nice to be surrounded by hundreds of naked women for a few hours, but if most of them were not partaking in the festivities then I would be much safer on both the erection front and the ogling.
Another thing that I stumbled upon was a nude swim at a local pool. This was hosted by a nudist group and open to members only, but they were accepting new members at the door. So I decided to give this a go, figuring that it would be much easier to skinny dip in an enclosed pool with a smaller group of people then with a large group in a public beach. I could gauge how things went and decide from there. It turned out that only about 15 people showed up for the swim, and they were all middle aged men like myself. The only woman there was one of the three attendants. She was young, but being on staff was not allowed to disrobe so I wasn’t able to test my ability not to stare. But at least my confidence took a step in the right direction. After being in the pool for 10 or 15 minutes, you tend to forget about the nudity. No one made an issue of it, so no one cared. By the end of it, it seemed perfectly natural to walk around naked and to even carry on conversations with others...even the female life guard.
So I kept my eye on the web site for updates as to their event. I booked the day off work once I knew when it was scheduled so I wouldn’t have an excuse to back out. About the only thing I had to worry about now was that I would have cold feet. In the couple of months leading up to the event, I managed to talk myself out of participating a number of times. But I kept coming back to my longing to do something risky, outrageous or unusual. In the end, it was a fear of passing up on the opportunity and living with the regret that was the motivation to go through with my plan.
July 2 was forecast to be a cool day for a summer day with a projected high of 20C or 70F under partly cloudy skies, but one of the better weather days we’ve had this year so far; couldn’t be better for me as I burn easily. I caught the 10:00 ferry from the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver and then drove through the city arriving at the University around noon. Street parking is limited, so I parked in the nearest parkade. I grabbed my pack, with large water bottle, towel, sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, cel phone, paperback novel and $40, locked the car with my wallet, and a change of clothing inside. And set out for the trail head. As it was, I was only two short blocks from the trail. Already a number of people heading that way carrying all sorts of beach paraphernalia, I had a feeling the beach was going to be busy. It was only about a 10 minute walk down through the lush forest that holds the sandstone cliffs together. It was cool, with a slight breeze blowing through the trees, but a festive mood seemed to surround those making the descent with me. Everyone moved along smartly, but there was no urgency about it. As I neared the bottom, off to the side of the trail was a group of port-a-potties, and I could see what looked like a tent where three people, totally naked and holding clipboards were talking to everyone as they entered the beach. This was the signup for those interested in the skinny dip event. Beyond them the beach area looked to be fairly packed already. I’m not much at estimating crowds, but it looked to be well over 1000 people in the small area I could see. Though I should not have been surprised, I was when it looked at first glance that about half were totally or partially nude.
I waited my turn to sign-up, and then made my way out into the main beach area. The morning clouds had burned off already, the sun was out and shining and the air was already warm. The flat, triangular area much larger than a football field of sand and logs spaced out for sitting was heavily populated with scantily clad and naked beach goers. To the left was what is called vendors row, a collection of makeshift stalls where a several people sold t-shirts, trinkets and food. A head of me, across the 100 foot wide sea of people was the open sandy beach left exposed by the low tide. I took a moment to orientate myself and to decide what to do. A naked couple strolled by hand in hand as they headed in the direction of the vendors. Others people, some dressed, some not, strolled by in all directions. My original hope was to find a nice log, sit, slip off my cloths, enjoy the sun and read until 2:00 when the skinny dip event was to take place. It was just past noon, and a steady stream of people was descending the pathway after me. It was obvious that most of the logs, and good sunning places had already been taken, so I ditched my plans of just sitting quietly. In the distance a number of people were strolling through the water and I could tell that some of them were wearing swim suits or shorts, but others were not. That’s what I’ll do for a while...wade through the water. I could tell the day was already much warmer then the forecasted high, so a little stroll through the waves sounded pretty appealing.
I walked a little, looking at some of the vendors’ wares until I found a deserted log. Actually it was only deserted on one end, a group of people were sitting in the sand on the other side at the far end. If they noticed me, they didn’t let on. I slipped off my shoes and socks, took off my shirt and stiffed them in my pack. I took a deep breath and dropped my shorts and underwear, and stuffed them into the pack also. No one noticed...no one cared...quite a relief. I dug into the pack, rummaging around for a bit until I found the spray on sunscreen. Of course, now it was buried on the bottom under my clothes. I started applying it as best as I could. The breeze was making it hard to cover some areas, but I did the best that I could. After putting the sunscreen back into the pack, I pulled the pack onto my shoulders and headed out towards the water. I had to pick my way though the logs and the beach goers, many of whom were laying on towels on the sand enjoying the first good day of summer that we’ve had. The thing that struck me right away was that nudity wasn’t a big deal with anyone here. Many of the people I passed were totally comfortable laying bare under the sun for anyone and everyone to see. But no one seemed to be looking. There were men and women of all ages and of all body types on display. Singles, couples and small groups lounged around and chatted amicably. I carefully picked my way through them and tried to keep my eyes from lingering too long on any one person. A well tanned man in his forties sits naked in the sand with his back against a large log strumming a guitar. An elderly couple lie naked side by side, her on her stomach, him on his back. Three girls, possibly still in high school sit chatting quietly as I make my way past. One of them glances up for a second, but other than that they show no concern or unease at being topless. There is a distinct lack of music...but many people are wearing headphones as their only attire. By the time I got through to the high tide line I was already losing any inhibitions of being naked in front of strangers. At this point the crowd thins, and almost no one is sunbathing below the high tide line. As I casually stroll down the gentle slope onto the still damp sand, I begin to feel somewhat exposed again. In amongst the mass of bodies I was just one of hundreds of naked figures milling around. But as I leave the safety of the crowd I feel more on display. The walk out to the water’s edge was about 200 yards across sandy mud flats. Other people are making the journey as well, either singularly or in small groups. One thing that struck me was that women tended to walk around with others; either another woman or a boyfriend/spouse...it was mainly the men that strolled around by themselves.
I had planned on taking a few photos of myself to post here on Sex Forums, so when I saw at the far end of the beach area there was a long, rocky breakwater that seemed to be deserted I knew that’s where I would go. I strolled along the shallow water slowly, enjoying the sun and the fresh air, and giving a smile and a nod or saying the occasional hello to those I passed. I did catch a few people glancing my way as I passed...I’m not sure what they were thinking, but I’m choosing to believe that they were admiring my bum as I continued past and not giggling to themselves about the slightly overweight old guy with pasty white skin. Being right at the mouth of the Frazer River, the water is very murky, but it does not feel or smell salty even though the beach is technically an ocean beach. But the water, though shallow, is chilly on my ankles and toes. There are a few small pleasure craft anchored just off shore, maybe 25 yards away. One guy is standing next to his boat in waist deep water as he and his mate attach a rope to a mooring buoy. On the boat to the left of them, a woman sits sunning topless. As I approach the breakwater, I notice it’s not totally deserted...there are several groups dotting the sand in front of it. I make my way up the drying sand to a large gap between the others in search of a comfortable rock to rest on. The change in atmosphere is significant for having traveled such a short distance. The main beach area with it’s almost carnival like feel has been replaced by a sense of tranquillity. There may be as many as ten people within a hundred yards of me, but I feel as if I have the entire beach to myself. The only sounds I can hear are that of the gulls crying as they scavenge the beach for their lunch and that of the occasional pleasure craft motoring past several hundred yards off shore.
I find a nice spot, with a couple of large, flat topped boulders on which to mount my camera, and I settle in for a while. I lay my towel down in the drying sand, pull out my book and read for a while. Only a few people pass by, a naked couple holding hands out for a stroll and a single young man dressed in shorts and a golf shirt who appears to be scavenging the beach...looking for what I don’t know...perhaps he’s just exploring. I take out my camera, place it on flat spot of a rock, set the timer and take a few self pics. I’ve posted a few of the better ones in a pic thread, you can check these out if you like, there’s a link near the end of this blog entry. I wanted to have a few photos of this experience to share here and with some other friends, but I also wanted to remain respectful of other people’s privacy, so I chose my shots with the intention of avoiding the inclusion of anyone else in the shot. There were a couple of ladies laying naked on blankets only 15 yards way, but they seemed unconcerned about my activities.
I relax for a little while longer, and then decide head back to the main beach area. I feel comfortable enough to want to return to the masses and absorb some of the ambiance. Also, I can’t find my cel phone so I have no real idea what time it is and I don’t want to miss the event. I retrace my steps along the water’s edge, noticing there are more people out playing now. There are a few young people skim boarding at the edge of the water...I would never have the coordination or balance to do that. A family with two young children is playing in the mucky sand at the edge of the water...seeming totally oblivious to the fact that the parents are nude, but the toddlers are both wearing bathing suits. A couple of women walk towards me from the deeper water. The older one is wearing a conservative bikini while the younger one, perhaps her daughter skips and bounds joyously in the knee deep water...totally unconcerned with her nudity. I pass more people this time, and while there is still a large number wandering around naked, there are many more wearing full bathing attire. Everyone seems perfectly comfortable with this...no one gawks and no one hides. I’ve been here a little over an hour and I’m perfectly comfortable being naked in this environment...it seems so very natural. As I approach the shore, it’s apparent the beach area is even much more crowded than before. There is a new row of people on the down slope at or below the high tide line...but the sand has dried so that might explain it. There seems to be a steady flow of people walking up and down the beach in front of this row of sunbathers. Many of the people strolling around are clothed, but a few are bare. A quick glance along the new row of beach goers shows about a 50/50 mix of gender...perhaps even a slight majority of women. The demographic has changed, most of these new arrivals are younger, twenty somethings.
As I stroll along, observing (not gawking) I begin to realize that it’s easy to identify several different types of people here. The regulars are easy to identify. Firstly, they are always naked...whether laying, sitting, standing or walking along they display an outwardly comfortableness with their bodies and with their nudity. They also are the ones sporting full, all over tans. They tend to be older, perhaps an average age of 50. I can envision them being down at this beach every day they can during the summer months. They seem to know each other by sight and greet the other regulars as they pass. Then there is the casual visitor...they are also comfortable with being naked and with others around them being naked. You can tell by their body language...relaxed and easy. They’ve been here before and are acclimatized to the environment. I imagine these people making the trip down here several times a year at least. They seem to come in mixed gender groups of two or more and are the seasoned partiers of the beach. They’ve got their coolers, blankets, beach umbrellas, Frisbees etcetera and are here for the day. Then there are the novices, like myself, who are visiting for the first time, or don’t come here often. They have an aura of awe surrounding them. Many of them are attempting to partake in the customs of the beach and have disrobed...at least partially where the girls are concerned. Their eyes are open and looking around, but they are not staring at others...but rather looking to make sure no one is staring at them. I get the sense that if the women were to see a group of guys walking along the beach towards them, the tops would be back on quickly, or they’d roll over onto their stomachs until it was safe to turn back again. They do not appear at ease with their nudity in this setting, but they are at least brave enough to participate. There is a forth group of beach goers that I have yet to run into; I should be surprised by their absence as I was expecting this group to be much more visible but at this point I’m not even aware of their absence.
I finally run out of beach to stroll along, so I decide to turn inland and cross through the sea of people on my way to check out vendor row in more detail. I pause briefly to chart a course through the maze of logs and bodies lying next to them. There is no clear path, but I do see a zigzagged route I can traverse to get about halfway through, so I set out with the hope that I’ll find the second half of the route as I near it. As I work my way along, I catch a few people looking up at me. We exchange a smile and they turn back to whatever they were doing. But mainly, I’m just another passerby and not worth the effort of attention from most. I don’t get the sense that people are indifferent, snobbish or being unfriendly. Quite the opposite...I have the feeling their attitude is that of ‘live and let live.’ I pose no threat to them, so they have no need to react to my presence. But I have the beginnings of a feeling deep down, that many, if not all, of these people would assist me should I require some assistance. I’ve been on crowed beaches before, and had the feeling that I was trespassing when I ventured too close to someone’s ‘space’. It’s the way they look at you closely until you pass, whether overtly turning their heads to stare, or with just their eyes, they follow you half expecting you to snatch their radio or the last sandwich out of the cooler. Maybe I’m being to wishful in my thinking, or I’m overcome with naivety due to the euphoria of this day, but I do not have that feeling here.
There is casual activity all around. A girl with a cute bum is propped up on her elbows talking to her boyfriend (?) beside her. He lies on his back, hat over his eyes and responds. Ahead of me a woman pulls on her bikini top and stands up to shake the sand of her beach blanket. Her partner watches, perhaps afraid that she’ll flick sand all over him. I pass a cute little girl ( I should point out here that at my age, I think of most 20 year old women as girls...17 year olds are kids) who’s sitting up and covering her chest with sunscreen. I should have offered to assist her with her back...she might have offered to return the favour and rub some on my back which would have prevented all the suffering I’m having now while writing this with my sunburn. I know that’s wishful thinking, I’d never have the guts to make that type of an offer to a stranger...even if she wasn’t naked. But I should have been thinking ahead in any case...though the air was cooled to a very comfortable temperature by the sea breeze, the bottoms of my feet were getting hot from the sun baked sand. This should have warned me that the UV index was higher than it felt. My earlier hope is fulfilled...I do indeed find an easy, but meandering route through the log maze and I happily escape to the other side without stepping or tripping on anyone. That was never a real worry as there was plenty of room between people...as long as you didn’t mind taking two or three steps to the side for every one step forward. As I make my way past another set of port-a-potties, I decide it’s time to make a brief stop before continuing on towards vendor’s row. I then make a brief stop at the registration tent on my way past to inquire about the time...I can’t find my cel phone...it’s still lost somewhere in my pack, and there is a conspicuous lack of wrist watches on the beach today. A steady stream of people arrives at the bottom of the steps, while a few others are already beginning the trek back up. The gentle breeze carries with it the unmistakable fragrances of coconut oil, palm butter and the sweet tang of marijuana.
I’ve got about 45 minutes to kill, so I head off towards vendors row thinking I can browse there and kill 15 minutes or so, and then I can find a nice sandy spot to lay out my beach towel and read for a while. As I cross the bare, sun baked sand the soles of my feet are beginning to burn. I quickly decide to blow of seeing the vending stalls, and I begin to head back towards the beach. By the time I’ve picked my way through the crowd the bottoms of my feet are burning, so I keep walking down onto the sandy mudflats where the still damp sand is cool to the touch. I decide to wander around in the shallow tide pools for a few minutes to cool me feet.
There are a lot more people ‘playing’ in the water than only an hour before. But disappointingly many of the newcomers have remained clothed. There are still a number of people naked. A group of four girls pass close to me on their way out into the deeper water...only two are topless, one of them wearing a very tiny thong. Yells and screams of fun and joy fill the air now, replacing the quite solitude of earlier. The people enjoying the cooling feel of the water as the tide slowly creeps towards the shore are more numerous and much more vocal as they play, than the ones basking in the quite serenity I encounter earlier in the day. Many more young adults are present now, and while there are still a goodly number amongst them partaking in the clothing optional motif of Wreck Beach most are not. Many of the new people are male, wearing conservatively baggy swim shorts. There are at least ten or twelve nearby using skim boards. A couple of guys in wet suits are attempting windsurfing, but failing due to not enough breeze. They’ll give up soon.
Ahead of me is a family of four...but not the same ones that I passed earlier. The two young children, the girl in a one piece swimsuit is probably still in diapers, the boy who is naked, are both making mud pies at the water’s edge. The father is simply watching the kids play while the mother is beginning to rub mud onto her lower legs and glances my way as I approach. By the time I’m passing them, the father is squatting down and playing with the children and the wife is half covered in black mud. Parts of her legs are already turning grey in the warm sunshine. I comment as I pass to the woman, “That looks like fun.” She gives me a chuckle and agrees. As I pass I wonder why she is doing this. I know it’s not from any feeling of modesty for she made no effort to turn away from me as I neared. I also realize that she and her family have made the journey from the beach area naked as they carry nothing and there is no place close by to have stashed any clothing. But I do have to admit, that strangely her 30ish year old body covered in mud has an increased sensual appeal. I suddenly realize that’s the first time in a while I had any thought sexually of the women I’d seen. I’m also thinking to myself that this family’s attitude towards nudity has got to be giving the children a positive attitude towards their own bodies. I remember my own childhood where I almost never saw my parents naked. I was brought up to think that nudity was something shameful and to be avoided. How much better adjusted are these children going to be towards sex and sexuality than I was if they grow up with the belief that a naked body in both beautiful and natural and in no way sexual?
The group of four girls that I passed by me earlier are still out playing in the water...standing in knee deep water the take turns splashing one another and laughing and giggling and talking about friends and life as if they don’t have a care in the world. On a warm, sunny afternoon at the beach, I guess many of us don’t have any cares either. My feet having cooled, decide it’s time to head back to the shore to find spot of sand to lay down my towel. On my way back across the mudflats I notice a steady stream of people making their way to and from the water; mostly singles and pairs, but the occasional group. The groups or three or more that I pass near seem to be either mixed gender or all girls...with the exception of one. About halfway to the tide line, I’m passed by a group of four men, appearing to be in their early twenties. Their actions are that of nervous excitement, and their eyes are constantly scanning around, all four are wearing sneakers, long shorts and t-shirts. This is the fourth type of beachgoer I had not noticed earlier...and one that I had expected to be more prevalent...the gawkers. At least they have the decency to show some restraint as they don’t leer in anyone’s direction during the time I’m near. I get the impression they are taking a quick trip around the beach area solely with the intent of enjoying the naked boobies. No one seems to pay them any attention.
Back above the high tide line I easily find a spot in the down slope to spread my towel. I have no intention of wandering through the hot sand looking for a suitable place amongst the logs. I roll out the beach towel, sit down and grab along drink of water. While searching my pack for the sunscreen, I find my cel phone...at least I know the correct time now. I give myself another coat of sunscreen...once again not paying enough attention to my upper back and shoulders. I sit for a few minutes taking in my surroundings. I’ve got a good view of the water’s edge and mudflats from here, and there are still plenty of people enjoying themselves at the water’s edge. On one side if me a young couple basks quietly in the sun. As I’m being to notice they are typical of the recent arrivals. He’s wearing knee length swim trunks, she’s topless with a skimpy bikini bottom. She has the beginnings of a decent tan on most of her body, but her smallish breasts are almost white. Behind me is another couple, perhaps in their thirties. I know in an instant they are regulars here. Both are completely naked, unashamedly lying on their backs and sporting all lover tans. Both could be sound asleep for the notice they give the passers-by. To my other side is a group of six or eight friends, perhaps university students. The four girls are topless, with two of them lying on their stomachs; the two guys that are with them to begin with are wearing the standard baggie swim trunks...and one even has a t-shirt on. Over the next little while a couple of different guys will join them and leave which gives me the impression they are friends from the university and none of them are in a relationship with each other. The guys are respectful enough not to make any big deal about the seminude state of their female companions, nor of any of the other naked women in the area. I do not know if it’s good restraint on their part, or they’ve seen enough naked breasts where it doesn’t faze them anymore. I know when I was their age, my eyes would have been popping out f their sockets at the sight of all the sexy goodies surrounding me here ( I lived a very sheltered youth). Just in front of me, people are walking by in both directions. I’m sure they find it much easier to move across the firmer moist sand then the loose, sun baked stuff that’s covered with bodies. I’m also sure many of the people passing are also enjoying the wide range of naked humanity arrayed in a neat, even row for viewing.
I settle back to read. About five minutes later I hear someone calling out in that clear, but emotionless voice used by hawkers everywhere. But instead of ’Peanuts, popcorn, ice-cold pop’ I was getting ‘Margareta freezes...vodka freezes...’ I woman is canvassing the beach with a sack full of frozen drinks, homemade I’m assuming. She’s stopped by a man about twenty feet away; as I watch she exchanges one of her frozen delights for some cash...neither she, nor her male customer seem to care that her bare, well tanned breasts are swinging freely. She is probably doing a brisk trade in the heat of the afternoon. She seems like a normal part of the ambiance as she’s only wearing shorts, a hat and a ‘saddle bag of inventory’ on her hip.
A few minutes after she passes, the group of college kids beside me decide they want to play a game down in the sand. One of the guys is holding a couple of rackets that look like large ping pong paddles and trying to get a couple of the girls to join him. Two of them give in and get up. They both elect to put on their bikini tops before following him. They head off, leaving the two other girls to enjoy the sunshine. The woman on the other side of me sits up and pulls on her top also. Then she heads off across the sea of logs towards either vendors row or the washrooms. It seems that these younger women feel comfortable sun tanning topless, but they want to be dressed if they are going to be wandering around. When she returns a few minutes late, she removes her top, applies a coat of sunscreen and lays back down.
It’s after 2:00 and there is no sign of the skinny dip event yet. I’m getting a little board, so I decide I should take a stroll back to the registration tent to see how much longer it’s going to be...and to visit the washroom again. So I slip on my shoes, re-pack my pack, through it over my shoulder and head back across the sea of logs. Once again, as I get downwind, the scent of marijuana and sunscreen fill the air. It turns out that there has been a change in plan, and the event has been put back until ‘3:00 sharp’. Not a problem, but at least I know I’ve got more time to kill. I take this opportunity to check out vendor’s row. Not surprisingly, the vendors all appear to be naked, even if most of their patrons are not. There is, what appears to be selection of homemade jewellery, tie died t-shirts and some very bright beach towels on display in the various booths. I know I should take a little time to explore, but I’ve never been a good window shopper, so I just take a quick glance. The busiest stall is the one on the far end, which is selling food cold drinks. I’m not sure what the menu consists of, but I know it’s not hamburgers and fries.
With about 40 minutes left to the event, and feeling the heat of the afternoon sun, I decide that maybe a quick dip in the ocean would be kind of refreshing. I set out, back across the sea of logs. Once I get to the cooler sand, I slip off my shoes, stuff them in my pack and head back out across the mud flats. The tide is indeed coming in as the shallow pools are growing deeper and larger, and the boats that were moored just off shore before have more distance between them and the bare sand. I’m not alone in my trek, as an increasing number of people seem to have the same idea and are making their way to the cooling water in small groups or individually. Ahead of me and off to my left, a woman walks slowly towards the gentle waves alone. She’s wearing a light blue coloured dress or wrap of a very light material that flutters in the breeze. Ahead of me, people are wading out to deeper water and some are swimming, or at least taking a quick, cooling dip. My initial thought of dropping my pack near the water’s edge taking a quick swim is looking more and more like a bad idea as I approach. The water is very shallow, people are only knee deep even 50 yards off shore...and I don’t want to leave my pack unattended with the numbers of people back and forth. I know the chances of someone walking off with it are slim. Losing my camera and cel phone would be bad enough, but I’d hate to be left here with naked with no clothes, shoes, hat, money or car keys. I’m not willing to risk that, so I come up with plan ‘B’...a return to the deserted strip along the breakwater. There are very few people there to be tempted, and it will be easier for me to watch it from the water. I set out though, following the water’s edge so I can enjoy the cooling effects of the ankle deep water. The ‘lady in blue’ is just ahead. She’s walking slowly, watching her feet closely as she tentatively takes each step in the squishy sand. She looks up as I near, not in fear, or with concern or with any distaste for my approach, but with a hint of interest in her eye. She appears board, so I figure she’s doing like me and killing time. “It’s a little muddy on the feet” I offer more as an ice-breaker than as an observation. She smiles sweetly and agrees. “But it feels good on the toes...” I add. We exchange a couple of lines of small talk, and as I leave her I’m left with the impression she was grateful for the brief companionship I afforded her.
I return to roughly the same place I was earlier, just past the same two women still enjoying the sunshine and solitude. The rising tide has brought the water much close to the breakwater, so I drop my pack beside a large boulder, place my hat and glasses on top, then turn and trek off to the water. At about the halfway point, I look back to make sure I can easily find my pack. Being black, it’s almost the same colour as the rocks...and already invisible. As luck would have it, the sand at this end of the beach is hardly marred with footprints, so I have a nicely visible trail leading back. Up until now, I have been walking around wearing only my hat and sunglasses. I find it a little strange that now, without them I feel my nakedness again...not in a self-conscious way. The feeling that I’m embracing is one of complete freedom. I move with an easy stride towards the water. Not stopping at its edge I’m quickly knee deep before I slow. The only people near are in a small Zodiac type craft moving steadily upriver. I keep wading farther from shore, but the water doesn’t get any deeper. The water is just above my knees when I stop and to look around. I’m at least halfway out to where a couple of boats are moored and I’m wondering how far I’ll have to go to get to a comfortable swimming dept. The one thing I have noticed as I advanced is that the water at the bottom is getting colder. My feet are actually beginning to feel numb. I decide that this is as far as I’m going to go, so I simply drop onto my back and take a few quick strokes. I don’t mind swimming in shallow water, but I don’t like it shallow enough that my hands or feet touch bottom, which was happening, so I stop, stand up and decide to head back to my pack.
Making my way across the bare sand I see a single man walking in this direction. He nears the two ladies that have been lying out since my first arrival about the same time as I near. He stops to exchange pleasantries with them before moving on his way. The tone and casualness of the exchange leads me to believe that they do not know one another formally, but they do recognize each other as being regular beach visitors. From his all over tan and the way he walked along in total nakedness I marked him as being a regular.
I throw down my towel again, stretch out and read for a while. It isn’t long before I notice there is a building mob of people down by the water in front of the main beach area, so I figure it’s time to head back. I consider asking the two women to keep an eye on my pack while I join the event, but decide not to as I’m not really sure how long this will take, nor am I sure I’m going to want to walk the 500 yards back along to beach to retrieve it. As I approach the building mass of people, it’s quite obvious this is the event forming up...everyone is naked. To my right, there is an onrushing wave of naked people walking out from where they’ve been sunning and playing. A couple of organizers are directing people to move in closer as the official photographer climbs a tall stepladder to record the event. I decide to drop my pack just under the ladder and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to keep my eye on it. Again I flip off my hat and glasses, and lay them on top before joining the growing crowd of naked bodies in the shallow water. It turns out that, today at least, it’s not just a bunch of 50ish year old men trying to recapture some of their youth. The participants are a good mix of young and middle aged and old and male and female and skinny and not so skinny and attractive and not...a decent cross sample of all people. There are a number of exuberant young men who look like they were the type to have been wearing those long swim trunks all day. There are enough of the younger girls in the crowd to make me think that a lot of those women that seemed tentative to go barer than topless have come out. There are the regulars to the beach, but they make up a small percentage of the overall group. A few couples are holding hands and everyone seems very excited to be part of this. There is a buzz in the air. I do a very quick guesstimate to conclude we have around 500 people here, and thought the men do outnumber the ladies by about two to one, everyone seems very at ease. A few people splash their friends playfully as the organizers direct us to move in tighter for the photo. We all squeeze together closer. Everyone raises their hands to cheer as if we had just won some big tournament. A few photos are taken by the official photographer, and there are a half dozen or so others unofficially recording the event also. The photographer signals his thanks and the crowd begins to disperse until someone yells at us to leave single file so the notary public can do his official count. I was number 58 in case anyone cares. Once counted, I rescue my pack in the nick of time from the rising tide. A couple of other people were not as lucky as they had left their packs closer to the water.
That was quick enough, so I decide to return to the breakwater to see if I can get a bit of a swim done after all. By now the tide has come in enough to make swimming possible without going too far from shore. So, in the end I did actually have an official skinny dip...for about five minutes I floated and swam slowly in the gentle waves and warm sunshine before deciding to call it a day. I could have dressed there at the breakwater and walked back wearing shorts and a shirt...and I did consider this as I was beginning to feel the effects of the sun on my back. But I chose to prolong my visit to public nudity for a few more minutes...the time it would take me to walk back to the start of the trail up the cliff. I bid the two ladies adieu, as I walked past them. They were beginning to pack up also as the tide would soon reach their sunning spot. Their farewell wave was the one and only time they acknowledged my presence this day. By the time I returned to the main beach area, the last of the skinny dippers from the event had dispersed. Again there were a number of people playing along the water’s edge an on the sandy mudflats, which would soon to disappear. A football was being tossed, a soccer ball was being kicked and a kite was flying steadily in the freshening breeze. The atmosphere of the main beach area was even more festive...there were loader shouts and laughter. An older naked guy was walking along with one of those long sticks with the claw at the end for picking things off the ground. At first I thought he was scavenging for bottles and cans, but as I passed I realized he was searching for litter. It hit me suddenly, that I could not remember seeing any garbage, empty bottles, cans, wrappers or even cigarette butts all day. Most of the beaches that I have visited have always had some discards of earlier visitors. This guy wasn’t a park employee making his rounds; he was a volunteer looking out for the beach and the community that he loves. And, I was happy to see, he was not finding very much litter at all. It was even more surprising when I realized that there were no garbage cans on the beach...everyone would have to pack their empties back up the 200 foot high cliff trail!
The sand is already cooler as I pick my way thought the people and the sea of logs. I dress quickly as I near the bottom of the trail. There is a steady flow of people up the stairs, but just as many are coming down. On my way out I see that there are a couple of organizers at the registration tent, so I stop to inquire how we did. They haven’t arrived at the official total yet, but the lady (Judy I believe, who is the head of the Wreck Beach Preservation Society and organizer of the event) says she’ll post the results on the web site. I ask if she’s still taking donations (silly question) and offer her a $20. She asks if I want a membership, of which I accept. She gets my name and addresses then asks me if I want any change. “No thanks” I say, and then I thank her for the efforts of the day, tell her I had a great time and that this was my first time here. She thanked me and I let her go back to her tabulations.
I join the walk up the stairs back to the top of the cliff. I swear that it wasn’t nearly as many steps coming down.
I had a very enjoyable and enlightening day. It was a very unusual experience for me, one that I would be more than happy to repeat sometime soon. I know I’m not an exhibitionist at heart, as I found no particular thrill in having other people see me in the nude. That is not to say I felt uncomfortable being naked in front of strangers...quite the contrary. I felt comfortable...just not stimulated. I did enjoy the feeling of freedom that came with not wearing clothing, and there was a sense of worth in not having everybody pointing at me and laughing. I am however a voyeur. I did enjoy seeing hundreds of bare breasts and other attractive parts of the female anatomy. But to keep things in perspective, I’ve always enjoyed looking at a beautiful and attractive woman no matter what she’s wearing or not wearing. I did not find this abundance of nudity around me to be at all sexually stimulating. I’m pretty sure now, that to me, nudity by itself...is not sexual.
There were several thousand people in the main beach area all day long, and I did not notice one ‘official’ looking person there. I know the police do make visits to the beach from time to time, but I never saw their presence today. Neither did I see anyone from the parks board until I was taking the trail up. There was one person in uniform at the port-a-potties, presumably checking them out or stocking them. So for the whole day that crowd of people hung out and played together with no problems. The beach area was kept clean; no one was causing any disturbances as far as I could tell. It made me proud once again that I’m a member of the human race...a feeling that I lost the night of June 15th.
I had a few surprises though. I wasn’t surprised that a lot of women felt uncomfortable being totally naked. I did find it surprising that so many of the younger women found it so, while the older ones (30s and up) did not. I also found it odd that the younger guys as a group were probably the most prudish. Perhaps young men today have a serious level of self-consciousness about their bodies and particular their penises because of the prevalence of porn in today’s society. And maybe that also explains the preponderance of penis size threads in these forums. Another surprise was the lack of guys walking around ogling the women. I read an article several years ago that claimed there was less and less women going nude on Wreck Beach as there was more and more men just there to ogle them. Perhaps the efforts of the regular visitors of the beach have managed to chase this sort of visitor away, or perhaps the gawkers have just become more respectful. But based on my observations today, that problem seems to be solved.
I was also surprised to see so few women with natural pubic hair. Almost everyone was neatly trimmed, styled or completely shaved. I didn’t think the percentage of women who groomed there bikini area was anywhere near that high. Perhaps this is not a good cross sample of the population in this regards. On the other hand, I was surprised in how few of the men had shaved pubic regions (I wasn’t counting but I’d estimate less than 25%). I was expecting that to be a much higher in proportion.
As mentioned before, it was surprising how quickly I became comfortable being naked...only a matter of minutes. I’m sure that seeing a number of naked people around me all acting normal was a big help. It was nice to see and to experience the way people seemed to be respectful of others. No one seemed to make any big deals about what others were doing or not doing...and no one seemed to do anything that would upset or provoke others. There was no loud music, not swearing or abusive behavior. When someone’s Frisbee landed close to me, they made a sincere apology for it even though it missed me by 10 feet. I guess the most surprising thing of all, was that a large, diverse group of strangers could share a relatively small area for a day without any conflict.
Here is the link to my pic thread...enjoy.
If this link doesn't work, then please go to my profile page...I'll have it there also.