I have been dreaming of swimming naked in the warm and full of life waters of coral reefs ever since I visited Egypt in 2005 and went snorkeling at a clothing-optional beach there. Finally I could do it again on my trip to Israel, and this time I had my waterproof camera with me.
And again I was amazed by the colorful and vivid underwater scenery, certainly one of the most stunning I have ever seen, even though Israel has less than 10km of seashore at the Red Sea and it is the northernmost tropical coral reef.
I had a little more than 24 hours in Eilat, so I didn’t want to spend my time on anything else but snorkeling there. I couldn’t find any information on a nudist beach in that area, but the first hint that I could go swimming naked there came from a girl who I got to know through CouchSurfing and who I was going to visit later on my trip at the Dead Sea; she said she liked a relatively empty Lighthouse beach where she sometimes stayed overnight with her friends. I found another couchsurfer in Eilat who agreed to host me even though he was busy preparing for exams, but I just left my stuff at his place and decided to go to the beach overnight. Given that it was late June and it was very hot, I wouldn’t even need a tent or a sleeping bag, so I loved the idea!
Lighthouse beach is before the last stop of the bus line that goes along the coast from Eilat’s central bus station to Princess hotel at the border with Egypt. There is not official bus stop, but I asked the driver to let me get off.
I came to there already at sunset, but because of the mountains the dusk was coming even quicker. So I had to hurry if I wanted to see the reef before the darkness and I still had to find a place to sleep. The beach itself didn’t impress me. As you can see on the photo above, it is just a several meters wide stretch of pebbly shore squeezed between the road and the sea (the road has to go so close to the sea because of the rocks). But it wasn’t the beach I was after, so I went straight to the sea (in my shorts that time). And I was immediately astonished by the beauty of the coral reef. It wasn’t as big as the one I saw in Hurghada, but it was full of life. And as soon as I saw a moray eel that was twisting menacingly next to its hole, I felt happy to have encountered such a distinctive inhabitant of the coral reef that I hadn’t seen before. While snorkeling I noticed a place at the border with Princess beach that seemed to have an about 1m high elevation which I thought would hide me from light from the road as well as protect me from wind. By the way, the beach was full of tents, but I couldn’t seen anyone around most of them. In any case, it gave me an impression that camping was OK there and people felt confident to leave their stuff. So I picked up my small backpack and went to that place. It felt so great to be able to sleep outdoors without a need to cover! So I slept under the starry sky next to the sea and the only thing that disturbed me was the light coming from the road. Well, at some point there was also a small mouse that tried to get into my backpack but after I scared it a couple of times it left me alone 😉
I woke up with the sun that was rising over Jordan. What a great start of the day to wake up at the sea with 3 countries in your view.
I had some fruity-nutty breakfast and decided to sunbathe naked as I didn’t see anyone around.
But soon I was ready to get into the water. BTW, on the water above you can see that there is a fence next to the sea and there are designated entrances into the sea which is an absolutely necessary measure to protect the coral reef… So here I was, going to the sea again but I didn’t dare to walk naked. I entered the water and then left my swimming trunks at the rock and continued swimming totally naked (except for the mask with snorkel 😎
With the sunlight, the coral reef looked of course even more stunning and many fishes were colored in an amazingly bright manner.
Some, like the crocodile-fish below, were on contrary barely noticeable and looked rather menacing.
But overall, it was a fantastic experience of seeing such an incredible variability of fishes during just a couple of hours, and most of them do not even try to escape when you come closer. I was lucky to capture most of the fishes I saw on my camera.
Here is a slideshow with some photos.
I didn’t bother putting names of the species, as my blog is about naturism and not naturalism after all, but I for myself, I was happy to find a list of fish species of the Red Sea coral reefs on wikipedia; apparently I have seen most of the typical species in such a short tour! And I was happy to see even some interspecies cooperative interactions: the famous example of cleaner fish (a type of wrasses on my photos) taking care of the skin of their big fellows (needlefish on my photos).
And here is a video with some of them.
And I was happy to experience an interaction of one of the fishes with me! That was a Picasso fish trying to intimidate me protecting its nest. And it worked, despite its size :O
And did I mention I was naked too? That’s what I call to be connected with nature 🙂
Unfortunately, fish and corals were not my only encounters:
Once in a while I saw some rubbish floating…
Most likely it comes from those tourist boats… I saw plenty of them; people seem to have lots of fun there, jumping from boats to the sea, but probably they don’t bother looking at beautiful underwater world. Otherwise I cannot imagine how someone could throw garbage into the sea knowing that there is such a marvel right under the surface.
But then a very pleasant surprise came from above the surface! When I was swimming back to my place, I noticed a man sitting close to my stuff and I was preparing to put on my shorts before getting out of the sea, but then I noticed he was naked too! I was quite happy to see a fellow nudist, so I felt even more comfortable staying without clothes, although the place wasn’t known to be clothing-optional. I spoke to the guy, who turned out to be a strip-dancer from Chile, and he said he went there quite regularly and saw some other people naked too. I was quite thrilled that I managed to find that spot just by chance, although everyone told me there was no nudist beach at the Red Sea in Eilat. I thought I might have some special sense, radar, for such places which I called a ‘nudar’ 🙂