Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Nude Beach Experience

Beach view of my spot.
I suppose everybody has to visit one at least once in their lives. I remember guys in my Marine Reserve Unit talking about visiting “Black’s Beach” south of Camp Pendleton nearer to San Diego while on weekend liberty during summer training back when we were young and dumb and under 25 years of age. I guess circumstances of a more conservative upbringing kept me from actually going there. I’ve lived in landlocked states, but there are always Nudist Camps hidden around various areas of most states. Although not well publicized to the general public, anyone interested could surely find them. I remember seeing nudist magazines when I was a kid. One of the kid’s dad from the old neighborhood collected them and we would sneak into his magazine collection featuring photos and articles on the nudist lifestyle. There they were, naked people tossing horseshoes, playing around the swimming pool and playing volleyball. In the back of my mind, I could never picture myself there. I suppose I just have never been that kind of “show-off”. As I later learned, folks aren’t showing off, they just enjoy being naked and having full body sun tanned skin as long as the weather is good. Chances are pretty good that you’d likely never seen nude snow skiers - at least not male skiers.

Finally, opportunity and curiosity got the better of me, after all these years. I’m staying in Titusville, Florida very near Cape Canaveral on my self-described “Beaches Tour” as I travel this season. I began at Virginia Beach, Myrtle Beach, Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach, taking pictures and sitting in the sand watching waves and the things that people do. I think it’s fair to say that not all beaches are the same although alike in many respects with the obvious, sand, salt-spray, tides and waves. Some are better for sunbathing. Some are great for surfing due to the configuration of the sandy bottom which creates waves. Some are great for fishing piers and dolphin watching. Some, are quiet, secluded and pretty good for sunbathing nude. I went to one last week as a curious on-looker. I tried to follow protocols - no staring, no photographs, no approaching people for the purpose of idle conversation, but I did shoot at few cell phone photos - never to be published, as rule #1 is respect for peoples’ privacy.

Gateway into the beach area.
So my visit last week was purely a reconnaissance mission. I was curious about the place as I was able to do some online research about Parking Lot #13 at Playalinda Beach which is part of the Cape Canaveral National Seashore. There is a charge to pass this point, but being retired, I purchased a Senior Pass three years ago, which gives me reduced price or free entrance into National Parks. This one was free for me, but others pay a fee. Lots 1 thru 12 are for normal people with clothes, but sometimes Lot 12 is also populated by nudists. Parking is at a premium, too. Get there before 10:00 am if you want a convenient spot. I studied the rules, read the reviews obtained a map and directions and finally visited the beach. Each section of beach has its own walkway over the dunes separating the roadway/parking areas from the beach area. I arrived at around 11:00 am and found no available parking from Lot 13, 12, but finally at Lot 11. I grabbed my stuff and made the hike over the boardwalk then north to the area north of area 12, but south of area 13. It seemed a comfortable spot between naked people in their clam shelters, blocking the wind and providing some shelter. It was a popular type of beach accouterments. Farther north of my position was what I assumed to be a group of gay men since they were flying several rainbow colored kites flying high in the wind. They stayed to themselves, but lots of people get up and walk up and down the beach. Hetero couples walked naked hand in hand. It was very romantic in the afternoon sun.

Having done my research, I packed a ham sandwich, some chips, 2-bottles of water and a couple of apples. This entire area is non-commercial, so whatever you bring with you is all you’ll have available. There are chemical toilet buildings near several of the parking lots for the only other convenience. I tried listening to my iPod and reading from my nook e-reader, but I just couldn’t focus on anything but the beach (and beach goers). I alternated sitting in the beach chair and laying on the blanket in the sand, but I kept my swimsuit on. I did lower the elastic waist band and rolled up the legs to get a tan that doesn’t stop sharply at the end of the suit. I managed to get some rays and subtly take a few cell phone pictures. I dunno why. Just to prove to myself that I had actually been there in the first place. Anyway, I stayed about 4-hours, packed up my stuff and was back home at camp by about 3:30.

"Here comes the sun .. doot-n-doo-doo"
I took what I had learned from reading the internet articles and add the live, personal experience. I think I learned just about all I wanted to learn. It was a nice beach with alternate coarse and fine sand, lots of seashell fragments and a wide assortment of naked people - mostly older men and couples and very few young couples. None were anything like the folks on TV’s Baywatch, which serves to confirm my reality-theory about Hollywood as a fantasy land. In short, the views I witnessed were more akin to the nudist magazines I’d seen as a kid only in real-life and in color. To say it was a new experience, is an under statement. I’d always wondered what it would be like and now I knew what this nude beach was like. Interesting. Very interesting.

Over the next few days, I spent some time in the sun outside my camper at the campsite on the sunny days. I listened to my iPod, read some short stories on my Kindle Fire and took a nap now and again. Of course, I had to keep my suit on, but I did roll up the legs on my gym shorts. My mind did wander back to the nude beach from time to time as I hadn’t availed myself of the “total experience”. I thought about it seriously and considered the safety and other factors. All it took was the guts to do it. The determination to leave my swimsuit on the beach chair with my t-shirt and bare all for the sun and the surf. I still wasn’t sure I actually wanted that experience. Perhaps just last week’s visit would be enough - or would it? At this point, I still hadn’t decided to go au naturale or even if I should make a return trip to that beach. What would I gain?

This being the winter season, it still gets cooler than perfect beach weather on a regular basis. Factor-in rainy days and other inclement weather, watching the weather and surf reports become a normal daily activity through the internet. I found a site called Surf Guru that features a surf report about every three days as well as a variety of beach webcams. Of course, the nude beach is not included in the webcams, but the surf and tide reports will be similar enough. I was planning for a high tide in the afternoon when the incoming waves would be more dramatic. Weather reports are normally only accurate from Orlando weather stations, which is 2-hours to the west of here. Phone apps get their information from the largest airport weather stations. Titusville has a small commuter airport and limited weather information and forecasting suitable for take-offs and landings of aircraft - not necessarily good for the beach.

After all that, I decided that yesterday was going to be a good day for a return visit to the nude beach. One visit gives you an idea, but two visits gives an even better idea of the average experience. The sunning in the buff decision was still up in the air, but doubtful. “No guts no glory”, I’ve heard it said. To me, it’s no glory, no guts meaning not all men are created equally. My brain was still in conservative mode. How curious do I really need to be? True nudists - male and female - are totally unconcerned. You can tell who they are by the absence of tan lines - except those who tan artificially in tanning beds, I suppose. Then, I guess you never know for sure except by the evenness of the overall tan. I’m no connoisseur, but you have to stare to be certain. No staring - that’s another nude beach rule. That said, everybody still takes a peek. It’s public.

Learning from the experience the week before, I left earlier to get a closer parking space. I got the last one, but I had to move a “Mowing Crew” sign to park there. I grabbed my stuff, walked over the boardwalk structure over the dunes and looked up and down the beach to find a spot - not too close to other people. At first, everyone automatically spaces themselves equally, but as more and more people arrive, they seem to fill-in the spots in-between those spots. It’s all very polite. I unfolded my beach chair and screwed my umbrella post into the sand and assembled the umbrella top into it. I laid out a moving pad out in the sand and spread out my beach towel on top of it. Now, I was all set except for that one thing.

The nearest beach patrons were about 100 yards away in either direction. “Well, why not?” I said to myself. I leaned on the beach chair and in a few moves dropped my swimsuit on the chair and walked around to get some sun on my pasty-white butt cheeks and my partially tanned back. I laid down on my beach towel and wiggled around to reposition the sand underneath me for comfort. Since I was face down with no view of the beach, I turned on my iPod and stuck in the ear-buds and listened to some beach music - still trying to find a comfortable situation. During that time, the sun ducked behind some cloud cover and popped out occasionally. The instant warmth was obvious and felt good as the wind increased from about 3 mph to about 10+ mph blowing the umbrella and curling up the corner of my blanket.

This one should be called, "The End".
After about an hour, I wondered if my front side might need more sun or if I should give my backside a break in the shade. The shade won the coin toss and I sat down to take in the beach view, the pelicans and the seagulls performing on the beach and over the waves. A few people were walking along the shoreline as the tide rushed in - mostly solo guys. I got a kick out of one guy upwind fishing with a hat and t-shirt on, but no swim trunks. It just looked strange, but the wind did have a chill to it at times. The beach wasn’t very crowded today - at least not as it was last week. Since I’d already bared the buns, I hit the beach towel again, this time sunny side up. I had found the courage but was worried about burning the body parts that shouldn’t be sunburned.

I finished the day around 2:30 pm as the cool winds picked up and it seemed cooler when the sun was hidden. I had already put my trunks and t-shirt back on as insulation against the wind. I hated to leave the wave action of the incoming tide along this section of non-commercial beach.

I had been home barely an hour when I began to feel the painful sting of sunburn. Oh, this was not going to be pleasant. I fixed something to eat and relaxed a bit in front to the boob-tube until I began to feel very cold. I took a couple of aspirin. It was only about 9:00 pm when I went to bed. Ouch! Ouch! I knew the only thing to warm me up was a blanket and the sun had drained all my energies. In only a couple of minutes, I was asleep.

I woke up two hours later and the coldness was gone, but the sting was still there. I watched an hour of Perry Mason and half-hour of Twilight Zone on TV and hit the sheets again. Today, I’m sore, very sore. My skin feels tight, but I don’t feel the warmth or chilling that I did last night. Just the sting that every time I move, it stings some more. Moisturizer..... I need moisturizer so that I don’t feel the burned skin stretching with my moving. Even sitting still and typing this is painful. Well, I wondered how it would feel to go au naturale at the nude beach. I’m experiencing the down side today and I’m no longer curious. It hurts too much to be too that curious again. Show this Bucket List item, done .. as in well-toasted.

~30~

2 comments:

  1. Seems the notion of sun screen has eluded you.

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  2. I knew someone would remind me, but as it was a cloudy day (mostly) and being part Greek I never took it out of the beach bag. Proof that one can still burn on a cloudy day.

    How are things in Canada, darlin'?

    ReplyDelete