secluded spot at Key Biscayne (Miami)

naturist 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Welcome to Miami! And if you think that glamorous and crowded Miami Beach is the only way to enjoy the tropical seaside, you are wrong. Key Biscayne island lies south-east of Miami Downtown, close enough to see its skyline,

view 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but wild and remote enough to enjoy a small secluded beach with barely anyone else in sight, and totally naked if you will. (By the way, the first photo and the one below were taken at the same spot, just at different times of the day, so you can see how tides change.)

naturist 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

The northeast point of Key Biscayne, right by the fossilized reef, has a history of nude recreation, but it’s not an official nudist beach, while Virginia Key just north of it did have an official nudist beach until 1980’s. The place is known as Bear Cut beach. Maybe “bare” would be more appropriate than “bear” here, though far not all visitors bare it all, and some – actually nothing at all: a couple of fishermen were covered entirely, face included.

fisherman 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides humans, we also saw quite a few animals of the rare kind that actually wear something:

hermit crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hermit crabs were all over the place there, from the size of a nail to the size of a palm. And luckily for them, there seemed to be no shortage of shells of various sizes.

hermit crab 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAhermit crab 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It was nice to wander through the mangroves and observe nature.

naturist 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides numerous crabs, we saw quite a few crab spiders (aka spinybacked orb-weavers).

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of them built their webs quite high up,

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

with an impressive span between the trees.

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I found these spiders pretty too, and hopefully there aren’t readers of this blog with arachnophobia :O (Does anyone know its scientific name btw? And if you like spiders, check this post out!)

spider 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Well, the sight of ibises would probably be more commonly appreciated 🙂

ibis 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we walked at the fossilized reef,

naturist 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

we also saw a heron. It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. I got pretty good shots of it resting,

heron 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hunting

heron 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and flying.

heron 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also saw flocks of pelicans pass by,

pelican 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but only a couple of them rested nearby.

pelican 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Our neighbor at the cove where we stayed was an iguana.

iguana 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It  was climbing trees,

iguana 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and Lee Roy followed its example.

naturist 0004 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Although majority of trees there are represented by various mangrove species, we also saw papayas

papaya 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and coconut palms.

coconut palm-tree 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Too bad none of them had ripe fruit. These ants though seemed to be excited about something at the tip of the mangrove root, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. (BTW I later discovered that honey from mangrove blossom has a very particular fruity flavor, make sure to try it when you get a chance!)

ants on mangrove root 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Plants and animals weren’t the only thing that drew our attention though:

trash 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

unfortunately, there was quite a lot of trash too. Most of it was probably washed off from the sea. On the way out, we collected plastic bags and bottles from the cove where we stayed.

mangroves view 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of the bigger bits of trash though found their new life as sitting surfaces among mangroves. That’s a good way of recycling too!

mangroves view 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It also turned out to be a great place for snorkeling. I hoped to see manatees,

seaweed & corals 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but I had to be satisfied with their potential feeding ground only, as some parts of the seafloor were covered with seaweed.

seaweed & corals 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I was also happy to see that despite this place is known for its fossilized reef from several thousands years ago, there is some new coral growth – hopefully there will be a new live coral reef sometime soon!

seaweed & corals 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAseaweed & corals 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I saw quite a lot of fish, e.g. young barracudas (?)

fish 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and a stingray.

ray 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

There was a lot of small fish by the mangrove roots, confirming mangroves’ role as fish nurseries. Among the bigger fish, puffers were probably most common.

As you can see, the water is very clear there, and the seafloor is clean, but I did see some glass, so be careful when you wade.

hermit crab 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Overall, it was amazing to see this pocket of wildlife right off Miami downtown, great for naturists and naturalists alike!

mangroves view 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we were about to leave, this crab wanted to give us a good-bye hug… We weren’t quite sure.

crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also had a small video shot for something very special – stay tuned for updates!

naturist 0005 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

For now, just enjoy this view of Eddy’s jump split trying to bridge Miami downtown (on the left) with Miami Beach (on the right).

Haulover Beach

Haulover beach in Miami is  surely one of the busiest naturist beaches in the world, with reported million visitors a year. Tourists come year round and from all over the world, but I bet that New Yorkers are particularly common, considering that NYC – Miami area is by far the busiest air route in US in a “push to make South Florida New York’s sixth borough“. So I wasn’t too surprised when I stumbled upon a couple of friends from New York on my last trip there. (And that’s besides two other groups of NY friends who I knew were coming.)

naturist 0004 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Haulover is also one of the best organized beaches thanks to supporting organizations such as the B.E.A.C.H.E.S Foundation Institute and South Florida Free Beaches. They provide free brochures where you can read about naturist movement and activities in the area (also available online). They help to preserve this beach for naturist use, which often gets threatened given that this is one of the last undeveloped beachfront lands in Miami metropolitan area that are not part of state or national parks.

naturist 0005 Haulover beach, Miami, Florida, USA

At least for now, we’re safe to enjoy this beach as nature intended 🙂

At the same time, the beach has all basic facilities that you’d expect from an urban beach – restrooms, showers, drink water fountains, volleyball courts, food trucks, and of course lifeguards. Haulover beach is accessible, but after I was run over by car on my trip to Florida last year, my favorite way of getting to/from the beach was on Tam’s shoulders.

naturist 0002 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

Guardhouses apparently also provide opportunity for exercising, at least according to Mat.

naturist 0003 Haulover Beach, Miami, Florida, USA

By the way, guardhouses in the clothing-optional section of the beach are painted pink, and yellow in the adjacent textile area – so, in case you go swimming along the beach it’s easy to figure out where should get off the water and return. And swimming is something you definitely should do at Haulover. The water is just perfect – clear and warm year round.

naturist 007 Haulover beach, Miami, Florida, USA

On my first visit to Haulover beach, which was with Joe and a whole bunch of people from  Florida Young Naturists event, besides having nice company at the beach, when we went for a swim we were accompanied by a school of small fish… Either they mistook us for their parents or thought we’d simply provide them shelter from sharks 🙂

In any case, they followed us for half an hour!

Sharks are sometimes spotted at Haulover too, of which you’ll be notified by the lifeguards, but it’s rarely a dangerous kind. From my experience, you should be more worried about cars in Florida…

I used to think that the only thing missing to make Haulover an all you-want-from-a-beach kind of place was surfable waves, but on my last trip I saw there a surfer too who managed to catch some waves – nothing spectacular, but he had fun. Well, I guess you can’t have it all perfect, but Haulover gets pretty to close to it when it comes to urban beaches. Altogether, it is a great place if you want to spend the day together with your friends in the altogether.

Kalani resort, tide pools and black sand beach (Hawaii)

Kalani retreat center was our base on Puna side of Hawaii island. Tod had been there before and loved it.

The painting in our room set our mood for another naturist adventure 🙂

painting 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

As we arrived late in the evening, we were welcomed by a chorus of coquí frogs.

It’s an invasive species introduced from Puerto Rico, but I loved the ambient sound they provided (and to their defense, they haven’t really brought any harm to local ecology as far as I know). I managed to track down one of coquí frogs near the pool, which was impossible according to Tod – not if you’re a zoologist like me 😀

coqui frog 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

After that, we relaxed in the sauna, and then Tod did a Watsu session for me (“a form of aquatic bodywork used for deep relaxation and passive aquatic therapy… in which a practitioner gently cradles, moves, stretches, and massages a receiver in chest-deep warm water”). Needless to say, we were naked, and the setting – warm humid air, dark starry sky, accompanied by frogs chorus – was perfect for total relaxation!

In the morning we were greeted by another cute guest, a brightly colored but naked gecko.

gecko 0001 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

So it felt only more appropriate to do our morning stretch in the buff, and there was even a statue for inspiration 😉

naturist 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

However, after we finished our stretch, a worker came to us and told that apparently we were only allowed to be naked by the pool and another remote area. We could only guess why within the same premises it was ok to take off your clothes at one spot but not at another just 50m away. Tod’s speculation is that as Kalani is becoming more mainstream, they have to adapt to mainstream public, which includes restrictions on your attire.  Oh well, it wasn’t like we planned to spend too much time at the resort itself. We left to Kapoho tide pools after that.

On the trail to the tide pools we saw this tree with interesting fruit,

tree 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

but the most interesting stuff awaited us under water.

view 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Kapoho tide pools are popular among snorkelers thanks to crystal clear water, and we could see how clear it was from above.

view 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The only thing that interfered with water’s transparency was… water, just of different temperature. There were a few geothermal springs coming out, and at everything looked blurred where their water was mixing with water from the ocean.

water 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Although Kapoho tide pools is not an official naturist spot, to swim in au naturel I used a technique I developed at the Red Sea coral reefs in Israel, and then in Akumal in Mexico – just put your swimming trunks around your shoulder 😉

naturist 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The corals there were not nearly as bright as at the Red Sea, but some rocks were covered with colorful moss animals.

algae, corals, moss animals 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Another invertebrate that was abundant there was sea cucumber.

sea cucumber 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

But numerous vivid coral fishes were of course the main attraction.

fish 0002 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Unicornfish was probably my favorite.

unicornfish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

There was at least a couple of species of unicornfish, and besides the unicorn

unicornfish 0002 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

they were decorated with adornments on the tail and stylish make-up.

unicornfish 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

It was a lot fun to navigate in the labyrinth of corals and rocks of Kapoho tide pools, and we got lost twice (lost in a sense that we didn’t know how to get to the main, deepest path). And then we also got lost in the fish.

fish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

An impressive shoal of striped wish surrounded us all of a sudden and didn’t seem to be bothered by us swimming next to them.

fish 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

But not all are so conspicuous at the coral reef. Needlefish is hard to spot and they usually don’t come too close.

needle fish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

And this one we almost missed altogether. Can you actually spot what it is?

flatfish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The first reader who sees and guesses what it is on the photo above, besides sand and rocks, will get a print of any photo from this blogpost! (Maybe you’ll choose this photo? It’d be a nice background picture.) I guess I’m starting a new tradition. Comment here!

On the way from Kapoho, we stopped at the pandan forest. Pandans looked quite peculiar with their adventitious roots, which in turn made me feel adventurous and want to climb them (no particular logic, just like I wanted to do push ups on the cypress roots in Mississippi swamp forest 😀 )

naturist 0001 forest near Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

And I don’t know what it was about that forest, maybe the light, but I think I look particularly good on the photos from there. Another contender for your printout choice? 😉

naturist 0000 forest near Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

The next stop was something that I’d been dreaming to visit for a long time – a beach with black sand! There are just a few black sand beaches in the world, and Kehena on the island of Hawaii is certainly among the most picturesque beaches.

naturist 0000 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

The first thing you’d want to do on that sand is simply to lie down and enjoy its velvet softness, which I did too with great pleasure.

naturist 0003 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

I got a new dog friend while his owner was body surfing.

naturist 0001 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

That sand really feels (and looks) nice on the skin.

naturist 0005 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Well, if you read this blog, you’d know that I wouldn’t be lying for too long. The rocks at surrounding the beach with tree roots coming all the way down from the top seemed too tempting to climb.

naturist 0010 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

And there I was, bouldering in the buff 🙂

naturist 00 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

It may not look that high on pictures, but it was quite scary to look down.

naturist 0011 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Then we discovered a horizontal bar hanging on the tree. I’m always up for some pull-ups!

naturist-pull-ups-Kehena-black-sand-beach,-Hawaii,-USA

Then we chatted with a local owner of a small coffee plantation, who claimed that his coffee is even better than famous one from Kona side of the island. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to test that, but it was nice talking to him, as he also assured there were quite a few nudist groups in the area – something to keep in mind for the next time 😉

I thought yoga would be the best to finish the day at the beach.

naturist yoga 0002 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

With such a nice sand there was no need for mat,

naturist yoga 0001 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

and I followed the rhythm of ocean wave alternating between poses.

naturist yoga 0007 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Fresh and at the same time very warm air was perfect for stretches –

naturist yoga 0004 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

“pigeon”, all the way to the front

naturist yoga 0006 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

and “camel” – all went well deep.

naturist yoga 0005 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

After some twisting,

naturist yoga 0009 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

it felt right to finish off with balancing in the tree pose on the coconut palm tree stump.

naturist yoga 0010 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

I so much look forward to coming back to this beach again!

Beach #67, much more interesting than it sounds (Hawaii)

view 0004 beach 67, Hawaii, USAHope you didn’t think that my story about the Big Island, Hawaii, ended at the beach next to Kona airport 😉 The island is indeed big and very diverse. Even this beach at Kona side of the island looked totally different from Makalawena. It’s a cozy cove with yellow sand surrounded by black rocks and trees.

view 0003 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

It’s called after the electric pole #67 by Old Puako Road where you’d have to stop to get to the beach. I doubt you could find a label that would wholly reflect the atmosphere of this spot in any case, so never mind the numeric name of the beach.

view 0002 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Upon arrival, I first had a short walk, enjoying the views from the rocks.

view 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Meanwhile, my friend Tod started snorkeling already.

naturist 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

He saw a turtle pass by next to him, and although I’d seen a few sea turtles before, I was looking forward to seeing them here, in shallow and clear waters.

naturist 0001 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Coming down to water, I noticed a pretty stunning example of fossilized life –

fossils 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

– white snail shells encrusted into black lava. Crabs were on contrary black… and alive! 🙂

black crab 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Even more life could be seen under water. I couldn’t identify this kind of fish,

fish 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

but just as I reached Tod, we saw the fish that we both were eager to find –

reef triggerfish humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, or reef triggerfish in simple English – the state fish of Hawaii (the concept of state fishes was totally new to me btw).

reef triggerfish humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa 0001 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

After that, we saw pretty big shoals of yellow tangs and many other fishes,

yellow tang 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

including pufferfish

pufferfish 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

and moray eel.

moray eel 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Besides snorkeling and sunbathing,

naturist 0002 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

this place seemed good for climbing trees, because the trees had a lot of horizontal branches. However, I managed to fall from a tree and even hit another branch on the way to the ground, maybe exactly because it seemed so easy to climb trees there and it made me less cautious. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt seriously and after a pause I was back on the trees again.

naturist 0004 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

This time I made sure to have at least 3 points of support

naturist 0005 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

or even held myself with all fours.

naturist 0006 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

Later in the afternoon, several quails came by;

quail 0000 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

they seemed to be totally accustomed to humans. In case you forget your beach snack, you may be lucky to find their eggs (quail eggs don’t have salmonella and are even safe to eat raw), but we didn’t see any.

quail 0001 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

While sunbathing before our departure, I was going though the guidebook and picking locations for our next adventures at Puna side of the island. Stay tuned!

naturist 0003 beach 67, Hawaii, USA

“canuding” swamps of the Mississippi delta area

I’ve mentioned already my recent visit to New Orleans with a resort-like club in the centre of the city, but my trip wouldn’t have been complete if I hadn’t ventured out to the outdoors. In the case of New Orleans, I am talking about swamps, of course.

There are numerous boat tours offered by tourist agencies in the city, but it was quite difficult to find a place where kayaks or canoes could be rented. My friends and I opted for canoe rental as it promised a more personal and adventurous experience at the swamps, plus it is also a good exercise. I also secretly hoped that I would get a chance to explore the swamps ‘as nature intended’, especially given that mid-October is still summerly hot in New Orleans.

One of just a couple of places that provided canoe rental in the area was Pearl River Eco-tours. They are located in a massive swamp area north-east of New Orleans, which includes various habitats such as river, marshes and flooded forest swamps.

Our adventure started as soon as we departed from the boat/canoe station. All of a sudden, a fish jumped right in our canoe!

You’d think it just happened by chance, but it happened two more times during our trip. Perhaps fish jumps out of water so often in that area, because it is chased by alligators. Oh, have I mentioned that was what we actually hoped to see there most?

Going upstream just a little away from the rental place, we noticed a narrow canal leading to marshes.

It was a vast open space covered with semi-aquatic and floating plants with some lagoons in between.

The water was very shallow, often barely enough for a canoe to go through – tourist boats definitely wouldn’t go there, so I felt confident enough to disrobe for a bit.

And here it was, our first encounter with a gator! Young and small, but looking  out of water with big appetite in the eyes :p

Soon it submerged and we headed back to the main river.

The river itself was beautiful too, surrounded by lush forest and very quiet… except for an occasional water-scooter, unfortunately. Unfortunately – because to me it seemed inappropriate to use such a noisy and not-at-all-environmentally-friendly watercraft in that wilderness.

Abundant fish attracts numerous birds to the Pearl River. You can see them resting in the woods at the riverbank or preying in shallow waters. The most common are egrets

and great blue herons.

It is even easier to spot them when they take off in the air.

A rarer encounter is an osprey, but we did see a few of them, which is a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

We continued paddling upstream, and without a proper map, we did not know where we would see those typical southern swamps. We almost gave up, but just behind an old metal bridge, we found an entry to a narrow canal through the flooded forest!

Yes, that was the flooded forest of bald cypresses that we had in mind!

But what gave the forest its mysterious, almost spooky, appeal was not so much the trees themselves but a plant that grew upon all their branches, spanish moss.

Another feature that made this forest look unusual was the so-called cypress knees.

Cypress knees are special structures of swamp cypresses formed above their roots. They are thought to provide additional support and stabilisation, and possibly additional oxygenation for the roots.

It’s pretty obvious that cypress knees indeed help secure trees in the ground, as they create islets around the trees; they look as if protected by fortress walls… I found another use of them – creating a live bridge 🙂

This felt almost like flying right above the water. By the way, the black water of those marshes was in fact quite clear – we checked it by dipping our oars. On the other hand, alligators aren’t as bright as those yellow oars, so one should be careful when stepping outside the boat… And yes, there are some pretty impressive alligators in the area! We saw this beauty on the way back.

Not that gator attacks are common in Louisiana, they are most likely to retreat when they see humans, but you never know… But if you do want a gator to come closer to you, local advise to give it a marshmallow. It sounds more like a joke, but we did see them go for it!

beaches of Cape Fiolent (Crimea)

Русский

With this post I am starting a series of descriptions of Crimean beaches. Right on time if you plan some vacations in Ukraine after the final of the Euro Cup 2012 😉 Crimea is the main tourist destination in Ukraine with rich history and diverse nature, as well as several nudist beaches.

Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol provides some of the best beaches in the area thanks to the beautiful scenery and clear waters. Several years ago it was treated as a protected area, so the number of visitors was limited and one had to arrive in the morning and get tickets in a nearest pension or hotel, but in 2010 it was no longer the case, which I found rather unfortunate, even though it made it easier in terms of reaching the beach.

In any case, prepare to go down by hundreds of stairs, as the beaches are down by the steep cliffs.

If you go to the beach on the western side of Cape Fiolent, aka Tsar beach, you’ll be stunned with the vast views over the Black Sea.

At sunset, the colors are only more dramatic.

The nudist section is behind that big rock that you see in the center of the photo, but it is actually even marked as such (probably by its visitors themselves).

This beach is mostly pebbled, which is not the best option for sunbathing, so there was only more reason to go swimming. Luckily, I had my waterproof camera too, I was surprised to find rich underwater life.

Most of the rocks are covered by green, red and brown algae and moss animals (bryozoans).

And I’ve never seen that many hermit crabs as there.

Of course they were hiding in shells and were not eager to pose before my camera whatsoever.

But I was able to get a comb jelly photographed, also a relatively rare but beautiful sight; while moving, it created shiny multicolor waves at the edges of its body.

If you go to the beach on the eastern side of Cape Fiolent, aka Yashma [jasper] beach, the views are even more picturesque,

with a small monastery on the left.

Probably it was them who put a big cross on the small rocky island right in front of the beach.

Given a conservative stance of both Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches (I don’t know to which one the monastery belongs), I hope they don’t mind that part of the beach is by default clothing-optional. Actually, I was so inspired by the view with the cross, I felt like I could walk on water!

OK, I’ll have to tell you my secret, there was a barely submerged rock a few meters away from the shore.

And this is how the beach looks like from that island with the cross.

The unofficial nudist again hides is protected by the rocks and has a sign.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only sign there. I saw also another custom-made sign, or rather obscene homophobic warning (this time not only in Russian but in English as well), which was apparently painted, erased and repainted a few times. Hope it didn’t represent an ongoing ‘battle’ between different beach visitors and was rather a flick by a single individual idiot.

In any case, whenever I was at that spot, it all seemed very peaceful.

Further behind another set of rocks, accessible only by water, there was a place where fresh water was coming down by the rocks covering them with a thin layer. Useful if you decide to camp there, or at least to refresh.

But I wasn’t the only one who leaned against the rocks there.

Even further away from the beach, there are rocks of contrasting colors,

that look especially spectacular from and underwater.

Algae, moss animals and mussels appear highlighted on the white background of chalk rock.

Then I saw two bright animals side by side: a blenny fish, and a big prawn, 

that was actually transparent but had some bright blue, orange and white spots.

This kind of prawn is like the next level of nudist, with most of its body parts being transparent 😀

The blenny fish first appeared somewhat sad but then flashed with its bright colors before swimming away.

That was definitely a memorable swim; I’d love to come again in search for sea life posing on light background of chalk rocks.

בילוי בעירום בשונית האלמוגים. הפעם מפרץ אילת

 English

שחיה בעירום במים חמימים בשונית אלמוגים שוקקת חיים זה חלום ישן שלי. ביקרתי במיצרים בשנת 2005 יש שם חוף המאפשר רחיצה ללא בגד ים. זאת אותה השונית רק בצד הישראלי של הגבול. הפעם היתי מצוייד גם במצלמה תת ימית.

שוב הדהימו אותי הצבעים העזים והחיים הטוססים מתחת לפני המים. אחד המראות היותר מהממים שראיתי מעודי. לישראל חוף בים סוף באורך של 10 ק”מ זוהי שמורת האלמוגים הטרופיט הצפונית ביותר.

 

שהותי באילת תוכננה לקצת יותר מ24 שעות. בגלל קוצר הזמן התרכזתי בשמורת האלמוגים בלבד. לא ידוע לי על חוף נודיסטים בצד הישראלי. התקווה למצוא חוף מבודד מספיק הגיע מידידה שהכרתי דרך מדריך גלישה. פגשתי אותה שוב בדרכי לים המלח. היא סיפרה לי על [חוף המיגדלאור] הריק יחסית שבו היא מבלה עם חברייה ואף נשארת לישון שם. מדריך גלישה נוסף שפגשתי הסכים לארח אותי בביתו למרות שהיה עסוק בהכנות לבחינה. השארתי את הדברים שלי אצלו והתכוננתי לצאת לישון בחוף. זה היה בחודש יוני היה חם ולא היזדקקתי לאוהל או לשק שינה.

מונית לחוף לא צריכה לעלות יותר מ-20 ש”ח. קו 15 של אגד לחופים הדרומיים יוצא כל שעה עגולה מהתחנה המרכזית באילת. חוף המגדלאור הוא תחנה אחת לפני האחרונה של הקו. אין שם ממש תחנה אבל אפשר לבקש מהנהג לעצור בחוף.

הגעתי לשם כבר בשקיעה, אבל בגלל ההרים החשכה היה מגיע אפילו מהר יותר. אז הייתי צריך למהר אם אני רוצה לראות את שונית לפני החושך ואני עדיין צריך למצוא מקום לישון. החוף עצמו לא עשה עלי רושם. כפי שאתה יכול לראות על התמונה מעל, זה פשוט קטע של כמה מטרים רחב של מכוסה חצץ החוף נדחק בין הכביש לים (הכביש יש ללכת כל כך קרוב לים בגלל הסלעים). אבל זה לא היה על החוף הייתי אחרי, אז הלכתי ישר אל הים (במכנסיים קצרים, כי הזמן). ונדהמתי מיד על ידי היופי של שונית האלמוגים. זה לא היה גדול כמו אחד שראיתי Hurghada, אבל הוא היה מלא חיים. וברגע שראיתי צלופח מוריי כי היה מסובב לצד באיום אל החור שלה, אני חשה שמחה נתקלו כזה התושב הייחודי של שונית האלמוגים, כי לא ראיתי לפני. בעוד לשנרקל הבחנתי מקום בגבול עם חוף הנסיכה, כי נראה היה גובה גבוה 1m על אשר חשבתי היה להסתיר אותי מן האור מן הכביש, כמו גם להגן עלי מפני הרוח. אגב, החוף היה מלא באוהלים, אבל לא יכולתי לראות אף אחד מסביב רובם. בכל מקרה, זה נתן לי את הרושם מחנאות היה בסדר שם, אנשים חשו בטוחים להשאיר את הדברים שלהם. אז הרמתי את התרמיל הקטן שלי הלך למקום הזה. זה הרגיש כל כך גדול כדי להיות מסוגל לישון בחוץ ללא צורך לכסות! אז ישנתי תחת כיפת השמים המכוכבים ליד הים הדבר היחיד שהטריד אותי היה האור מגיע מן הכביש. ובכן, בשלב מסוים היה גם עכבר קטן ניסה להיכנס לתוך התרמיל שלי, אבל אחרי שאני פוחד שזה כמה פעמים זה השאיר אותי לבד 😉

הגעתי לחוף בשעת השקיעה. בגלל ההרים החוף מחשיך מוקדם. הזדרזתי כדי להספיק לראות קצת אלמוגים ולהיתכונן לשינה לפני שמחשיך. החוף לא מרשים כפי שניתן לראות בתמונות למעלה. חוף חלוקים ברוחב כמה מטרים תחום בכביש. הכביש צמוד לחוף בגלל הסלעים הטבעיים המזדקרים לאורך החוף. החוף לא עניין אותי ושמתי פעמיי לים (הפעם במיכנסיים) המפגש עם השונית והיופי של האלמוגים היכה בי מייד. השונית קטנה מזאת שראיתי בע’רדקה (Hurghada) במיצרים אבל היא מלאת חיים. מורנה הציצה אלי מתוך חור בשונית זה ריגש אותי מכיוון שזאת הפעם הראשונה שאני פוגש יצור זה שהוא כל כך מזוהה עם השונית. בעודי בים ראיתי על החוף בסמוך לחוף הנסיכה תלולית בגובה מטר שהגנה מהאורות של הכביש ומהרוחות. על החוף היו הרבה אוהלים שנראו שוממים מאדם זה נתן לי תחושה שאפשר לחנות במקום ולא צריך לחשוש מלהשאיר את הציוד כל החוף. אספתי את התרמיל הקטן שלי והלכתי למקום. התחושה של שינה בחוף ללא צורך בכיסוי כל שהוא היתה נפלאה. ישנתי על החוף תחת כיפת השמים. הדבר היחידי שהפריע היה אור המכונית מהכביש. בשלב מסוים מכרסם קטן ניסה להיכנס לתוך התיק אבל אחרי שגירשתי אותו שוב ושוב הוא הסתלק.

השקמתי עם עלות החמה מכיוון ירדן. איזה כייף להיעורר על החוף ולראות שלוש מדינות בו זמנית.

ארוחת בוקר של פירות ואגוזים. החלטתי להישתזף ערום מכיוון שהחוף נראה שומם.

קמתי להיכנס לים, דרך אגב בתמונה למעלה אפשר להבחין בגדר לאורך קו המים עם כניסות מוסדרות כדי להגן על השונית… טוב הלכתי לים אבל לא העזתי ללכת ערום. הורדתי את בגד הים בתוך המים ונישארתי לבוש בשנורקל בילבד. 😎

הפעם השונית התגלתה במלוא הדרה כשהשמש האירה את השונית. דגים בצבעים בוהקים שחו בסמוך לשונית.

אחדים בניגוד כמו האבנונים (Crocodilefish) למטה היו מוסבים לגמרי וקצת מאימים.

בסך הכל זאת היתה חוויה מרגשת לפגוש מגוון כזה של דגים בשעתיים של צלילה. רובם לא הראו כל סימן של פחד. התמזל מזלי לצלם אותם. אפשר לחזות בכמה מהם במצגת.

שמות הדגים פחות מעניינים. בסופו של דבר הבלוג הוא על עירום בטבע ולא על חיות בטבע. בכול זאת נראה לי שאני אבדוק בויקיפדיה מה בדיוק ראיתי שם. ראיתי את רוב הדגים האופיניים לשוניות בזמן הקצר ששהיתי שם. זכיתי לראות מינים שונים יצורים החיים בגמלין ושיתוף. למשל דג הנקאי (דג ממשפחת השפתניים wrasses בתצלום) המפורסם מטפל בעורם של החברה הגדולים (חלילן needlefish בתצלום). אפשר לראות אותם גם בסרט.

חוויתי על בשרי תוכון (Picasso fish) מנסה לאיים עלי כאמצעי
הגנה על הקן שלו וזה פעל למרות הפרשי הגודל כ :O

כמומן שהכל בעירום. זה נקרה התמזגות עם הטבע.

לצערי פגשתי לא רק דגים ואלמוגים –

מדי פעם ראיתי גם זבל צף במים.

כנראה שזה הגיע מסירות התיירים הרבות. התיירים על הסירות נראו שמחים. הם קפצו מהסירות לים אבל לא נראה לי שהחיים מתחת למים ענינו אותם. אין לי מוסג מי משליך את כל הזבל הזה לים. זה חייב להיות משהו שלא מזיז לו כל היופי הזה שאותו הוא מזהם.

חוויה מתקנת מצאתי על החוף. כשחזרתח בשחיה לחוף. מתוך הים הבחנתי בבחור יושב עליד התרמיל שלי. בעודי מתכוון ללבוש את בגד הים הבחנתי שהבחור יושב ערום. שמחתי לפגוש נודיסט על החוף והרגשתי מספיק בטוח לצעוד במערומיי על החוף למרות שהחוף בוא לא באופן רישמי חוף שאפשר להיסתובב בו ערומים. שוחחתי עם הבחור והיסתבר לי שהוא חשפן מצ’ילה והוא מגיע לחוך לעיתים קרובות וראה לא פעם נודיסטים נוספים בחוף. האם המזל הביא אותי לחוף הזה מבלי שהיה לי מידע כלשהו ולמרות שכולם אמרו לי שאי אפשר להשתזף בעירום באילת. אולי יש לי מין חוש או ראדר למקומות כאילה. חוש שאני קורה לו נודאר. ‘nudar’ 🙂

Hebrew text by Dror

snorkeling naked in coral reefs again! (Red Sea, Israel this time)

עברית

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’ 🙂

flat rock beach in Athens (Limanakia)

ελληνικά

Nudist beach at Limanakia is a popular place to enjoy the heat of summer in Athens instead of suffering from it in the city. It has a lot of convenient open flat rocks, as well as hidden corners to get some more intimate atmosphere even when it is pretty crowded. view 0003 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

The crowd is quite diverse and international, a lot of gays, sometimes textile though. The water is warm from April to October, and feels nice even when it rains. naturist 0002 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

The underwater life is pretty interesting by the way. You’ll see lots of different fishes,

fish 0002 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

schools of young fish fish 0003 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

and some parrotfish of rainbow colors.

fish 0001 Limanakia, Athens, Greecefish 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Another beautiful encounter, which we saw only once there, was this jelly fish. jellyfish 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greecejellyfish 0001 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Thus, Limanakia proved to be great for snorkeling and swimming.

naturist 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

However, while getting out of the water beware of sea urchins,sea urchin 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

although not all rocks are covered with sea urchins – some have only pretty moss animals and algae.

moss animals 0001 Limanakia, Athens, Greecemoss animals 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

In any case, goggles are highly recommended both for enjoying underwater scenery and safety!

naturist 0001 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

This place is obviously great to take some good photos,

naturist 0009 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

just make sure to have good equipment;-)

naturist 0010 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Well, this pigeon thought it was all about him and tried to get in the shot all thetime!

naturist 0011 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

But the crab turned out to be more photogenic and cooperative.

crab 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Late october, with more rain, brings some blossom to the rocks of Limanakia.

flowers 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

But not only flowers can be pink there, the rocks themselves may turn pink too!

view 0001 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

This is what happened one evening with unusually bright pink clouds at sunset, which reflected their color on the rocks and the sea.

view 0002 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

In the cove which is closer to the city, view 0000 Limanakia, Athens, Greece you can also do cliff-diving. Does it look high enough?

naturist 0003 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Well, look from above!

naturist 0004 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

By coincidence, on the day when we finally dared to jump from those cliffs, there was a contest of 12 top cliff-divers at the neighboring lake Vouliagmeni. Well, we couldn’t compete with them in terms of height of our dives, but at least we dived in a more natural way – from the cliffs, not from a platform (I don’t know why they call it cliff-diving then), and without swimsuits 😉

So, ready?!

naturist 0005 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Wait, there is a swimmer below.

naturist 0006 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Steady!

naturist 0007 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

Go!

naturist 0008 Limanakia, Athens, Greece

And here is a video.

I think you’re convinced now to visit this place, if you’re in Athens. To get to Limanakia from the center of Athens use express bus E22 (from Panepistimiou (Πανεπιστιμίου) or Syntagma (Σύνταγμα)) or from Glyfada by buses 115 or 116 to B’ Limanakia (B’ Λιμανάκια). On my frequent visits to Athens, this was often the first place I wanted to go, granted that I also saw it from the airplane on approach to the airport; too bad I couldn’t just jump down with a parachute!

view 0004 Limanakia, Athens, Greece