The Saratoga Sun -

Skinny dipping in new places


I had a tradition when I visited a new country back when I lived in Taiwan. I should point out, during this time, the countries I visited were warm and most had beaches that were often remote.

I made a point of skinny dipping in each country I had never been in before.

Nothing I can really explain, but I loved to find some deserted area and take a swim without clothes.

I think of skinny dipping is an art, because the idea is to do it without offending anyone. Don’t do it around people who won’t understand and upset others. No skinny dipping at the Hobo Pool will ever happen by me.

My love for water came at an early age. Really early. Apparently when I was barely walking and under my 70-year-old grandmother’s care, I got out of the house and went to the beach.

Our house was on the water in Hampton, Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay lapped gently on the shore of our property. The story goes, my folks came home to find me gone. It was dark and my poor grandmother was a broken woman. A search party of neighbors was formed and, an hour or so later, I was found in the water just messing around as I guess an under-two-year-old does. I have no idea if this was my first skinny dipping experience, but if I was a betting man, I would think it was.

I do swim in a suit most of the time, but with or without, my love for the water is there and I’ve been at home in the water since I can remember.

So when my mother and stepfather bought a farm that had a pond and large creek running through the property, it was fairly natural for me to swim around in the deeper parts of the creek.

Most of the time I got inspired to swim without having a bathing suit with me. I didn’t even think twice about stripping down and swimming because the place I swam most often was completely deserted. Well, actually, there was a resident alligator snapping turtle that lurked around sometimes which made me nervous for obvious reasons.

The first time I skinny dipped with people around was when I lived in Ocean City for a summer. I had gotten a job as a waiter at a really upscale seafood restaurant.

I got the job just before the season started so the living arrangements were slim pickings. My buddy and I found a cottage on the beach called Peto’s Cottage. It was a dump, but it was directly on the beach–and affordable. Privacy isn’t a word I would use to describe my living conditions. I shared the place with three guys who didn’t know how to wash dishes or clean a bathroom. They did know how to throw parties almost every night.

In this hedonistic beach atmosphere, skinny dipping became fairly common with the residents and visitors of Peto’s Cottage. My girlfriend, who I dated for seven years during college, wisely took a break from our relationship during this summer.

A couple of years later, I lived on the Severn River outside Annapolis. There was a dock we crabbed off and and use to jump into the water. I can remember my girlfriend (wifey to be) taking moonlight swims au natural with me. A couple times, I can remember swimming with friends without clothes on in the Severn. In the two years I lived there, it didn’t happen often.

Hawaii was another place I lived that sometimes I would find myself swimming without a suit. My favorite place was a waterfall that nobody seemed to know about that was an hour away from Honolulu.

To me, the skinny dipping formula is: water plus seclusion.

Taiwan was my residence after Hawaii. In Taiwan, I was introduced to spas. Only in Las Vegas have I seen anything that comes close these places. My favorite had a huge pool with waterfalls, several lap pools, hot pools and ice pools. There were also steam rooms and saunas. There were shower facilities by the pools, an area where attractive women gave massages and three movie theaters to watch dated movies from USA and Hong Kong. These theaters had chairs that were actually baby beds. The spas charged in twelve hour increments. Taiwanese businessmen would crash there as would mafia guys.

The pool area, which I used to call the Disneyland of water, did not require anyone to wear clothes. I admit my first time at one I was taken aback at wearing no clothes in front of so many. But that is how it was. Having some skinny dipping experience already under my belt, I adjusted.

Then my buddy, Darby Doll (a Wyoming native ironically), and myself started camping in a Taiwanese beach town that had the best deserted beaches. Taiwanese back then, didn’t like the sun or water and it was not uncommon to have miles of beach to ourselves. Swimming without clothes was just easy.

My skinny dipping in other countries came about naturally–so to speak.

Darby and I went to Thailand a few times together. We stayed at places that at night, coming back from the bars, had beaches that were perfect for a late night swim.

The same thing happened when I went to the Philippines and Hong Kong with other friends. Yes, Hong Kong has some great beaches that are fairly unused at night.

It was when I went to Malaysia I realized I had been skinny dipping in several countries already, so I decided it would be cool to do it there. The place I found was off Penang and after I got out of the water I decided this would be something I would try to do in every country I visited from then on.

Spain, France, Switzerland (that was cold, cold, cold even if it was late spring) Singapore, Indonesia (Bali), Japan (Okinawa), South Korea, China and Australia got checked off on my list.

In Australia, I was the most comfortable swimming without a suit. It started at Newcastle where I swam at Govenors Pool. This was a pool carved out of rock next to the sea by convicts. It was amazing how large it was. We (an instant buddy who was a friend of my best Australian friend, who was showing me the city) were there as the sun was rising. It was spectacular scenery around us and, as we were sitting on the edge of the pool dangling our legs in the water, a woman photographer and her male assistant came by. At first she said she wanted to take pictures of the pool and sun coming up and didn’t want to make us uncomfortable by her presence.

We both said we didn’t care. Ten minutes later she came up and asked if she could take pictures of us. No posing, just us sitting there talking like we had been doing while she had been taking pictures. We did jump in the water for her to get some pictures of that.

After Newcastle, I made my way to Noosa, which has the reputation for some of the best surfing in the land of Oz. I lived there over a year. Noosa has two national parks around it and is on the Sunshine Coast, about two hours north of Brisbane.

One of the national parks had a running trail that led to a monster large beach with dunes. At one end was a nude beach and the other end was clothed. The middle had nude and clothed. I would run and swim in my running shorts and lay down to dry off in the clothed area. If you have ever run, saltwater on shorts, (dry or not), tends to chafe. One day I asked myself, with all my skinny dipping experience, why I wasn’t using the nude beach. I have to admit being intimidated being around families and people of all ages.

When I finally decided to take the plunge, I walked out and found myself around some grandparents and their grandchildren. I thought to myself, look how comfortable they were and any uneasiness I had was me being stupid.

For close to a year, I went to this beach.

I came back to the USA after Australia and made my home in Carbon County.

One day I was telling someone about how I used the nude beach during my stay and the person got really horrified that children were at this beach.

It was a little saddening for me to hear this reaction.

Children, parents, grandparents, couples, groups of friends, tourists all used this beach and I never felt it was wrong that all these people mixed together. I tried to explain the beach was actually healthy because it was legal and took away any feeling of shame. I explained I would be talking to people at the beach and truly forget we had no clothes.

I made no inroads with this person.

I am not going to say swimming without clothes or being on a nude beach is right for everyone. It doubt it is.

What I can say is I think I benefited from the years of being at ease with being unclothed during the times I did. It sounds trite, but it was as natural as could be.

The countries where I could have got in serious trouble for skinny dipping are conservative. It’s their law and culture. I get it. If I had been caught, and even if I thought it was a harmless act of fun, I would have no excuse for breaking the law.

Wyoming isn’t really conducive to skinny dipping and the Hanna Recreation Center has given me my swimming and water fix.

Will I ever skinny dip or be on a nude beach again?

No idea.

But if you are ever in Australia, specifically Victoria Beach outside Noosa, give swimming without clothes a try. It is pretty liberating.


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