Theme camp Gymnasium has become a big part of Active Naturists project, and we are set to continue at this year’s Burning Man festival. We’ve already scored some tickets for the core crew, and a few of us are applying for Low Income Program, but the rest should get tickets through the Main Sale: registration opens next Wednesday, and the sale itself is in two weeks (info and dates here). We are open for new campmates too, so if you would like to participate, please e-mail us or leave a comment below!
If you read this blog, you must have heard about our theme camp quite a lot, but if you are new here or would like a reminder, here are some key links:
Burning Man festival this year saw the second installation of our theme camp Gymnasium, which refers to the Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its webpage, but here is our report with some imagery that should help you imagine what it was like (or evoke some good memories, if you participated in our events).
Even though our theme camp was first conceived with an idea to revive the ideals of the Ancient Olympics, this year besides the athletics we put more effort into another aspect of the concept of ‘gymnasium’ in its original meaning – philosophical discussions (with wine). For one session, each participant received a quote of a Greek philosopher and lead discussion on its subject, which let us cover all kinds of topics. We also had a session when we talked about our personal attitudes towards nudity as well as our views on the possible role for naturism in the [default] society. The common theme was the feeling of liberation and bonding with others that brings the simple act of social nudity – and the photos here seem to confirm that.
An entirely new idea for this year was the gymnastics wheel (aka German wheel). Several month before the festival, I stumbled upon a photo with German wheel gymnasts from 1920’s and immediately got an impression that it would be a big hit at Burning Man. As you can see below, it provided a perfect link between the theme of our camp and the theme of Burning Man this year – ‘Da Vinci’s Workshop’.
We of course refer to the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci, and expectedly the Man himself took the iconic shape this year.
We were so happy to see that our idea was immediately understood by other burners – as soon as we rolled the wheel onto the playa, we had people queuing to take a picture,
and it seemed like it was self-explanatory that one was supposed to get naked for a photo à la Vitruvian Man 🙂
This was a big success in terms of bringing all kinds of people to try a new fun activity in the buff and in public,
and they were creative with poses.
But we didn’t forget the primary function of the gymnastics wheel,
and the flat playa surface was perfect to roll it.
We had to be careful to avoid possible injuries, as even one rotation proved to be a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. The gymnastics wheel turned out to be a great magnet for people back at the camp too – dozens of passers by stopped to try it every day; only a few managed though, even with helpers.
In their defense, I have to note that in the first days we only knew one, difficult way of holding yourself in the wheel during rotation: pushing up with your arms with all power while maintaining them as straight as possible. That was until someone came by and said that there had been a workshop on gymnastics wheel at Hellfire Society camp. (On what subject isn’t there a workshop at Burning Man?) So we went there, and the camp lead gladly arranged another workshop specially for us. It turned out that while our technique wasn’t impossible, the typical and much better way to hold yourself during rotation on the wheel was by hooking your feet.
After we learned that, the success rate among all the newbies to gymnastics wheel skyrocketed, and we were on the roll 🙂
Our first athletic event in the week was the running race.
This year we only had a short race on our street,
but it was a nice way to get attention from our neighbors and passers by.
It was all for fun, but it was a competition nevertheless.
Our Gymnasium also offered daily fitness exercises, with Matt leading push-up sessions every morning.
This year we had a certified yoga/acro-yoga instructor among our campmates,
so we had a few sessions at the camp
and also played a bit on the playa.
We probably should have spent a little more time posing with those amazing and massive art pieces,
but unfortunately some of them were burned much earlier in the week than we had anticipated (e.g. the pyramids on Friday morning).
Some installations were quite interactive and served as great frames for photos, literally.
Other installations referred to familiar views of the “default world”, like NYC skyline at the Kostume Kult, making the whole experience only more surreal…
(I wish we could sip our morning coffee in Manhattan just like that!)
Unfortunately I enjoyed my nights out in an immediate manner, and recorded neither my own naked dancing on the ashes of the burned Man and at the White Ocean nor the performance by a couple of naked fire-spinners at the Mayan Warrior art car, which was probably my favorite mutant vehicle in terms of the music (and certainly in terms of the lights). But here is a short clip from that night I found online, where you can see those two naked fire-spinners, but resting in the crowd at the time – perhaps a video with their performance will appear at some point too, but I’m just happy to have witnessed it.
As you can see, our camp was primarily focused on providing interactive events rather than art and installations,
but we arranged some decorations to highlight our reference to Ancient Greece.
This year we added a statue depicting Hercules wrestling Diomedes for his 8th labor. By the way, I haven’t been able to find an explanation behind that ‘penile grip’ – so if there are specialists in history of art among the readers here, please enlighten us in the comments 😎
Finally, summer weather has come to New York and it’s time to open beach season here! My favorite beach around is Gunnison on Sandy Hook peninsula in New Jersey. I’ve written about it on multiple occasions already (just make a search on the site for other blogposts), but I have some nice photos to share from last year – in anticipation of yet another great beach time this summer!
The best way to get to Sandy Hook from New York City is by Seastreak ferry.
I used to post the discount coupons for it, but it seems there’s no need for it anymore. According to the ferry website, starting this year, with fist departure of the day, you always get a $30 return ticket to the beach (regular is $45). A sad news is that there is no late departure from the beach anymore – the last ferry to the city is at 5:45pm, while it used to be 7:45pm – no more sunsets on the ferry? However, there is a shuttle to the late ferry departing from the town nearby. Update: the late ferry is back on the schedule!
Here comes our report from Burning Man festival this year, when 18 of us gathered together to create a camp themed around Gymnasium as an Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its own webpage; we launched this project a few months earlier at FreeForm Festival, and here you can see how it came about at the festival of festivals, Burning Man. (But keep in mind that this is by no means an attempt to write about the festival as a whole, there simply “too much” fun stuff happens to be able to grasp more than just a fraction of it.)
After months of preparation, the last days before the festivals were very exciting but also a bit scary – with this endeavor being our first experience as such a theme camp, something was likely to go wrong! Indeed, our early arrival/construction crew had a flat tire at the start of the trip in San Francisco, and as we collected all the stuff that we planned to carry to Black Rock City, we realized we had to buy an extra trailer. We resolved all the issues smoothly but experienced another setback due to the weather, as on Saturday before the opening of the festival, when we had planned to construct our camp, a severe dust storm took place; we could only enter Black Rock City in the evening and started construction early on Sunday.
Well, luckily we didn’t plan on building anything complicated, so we raised most of our shade structures before the rest of our campmates arrived. (Then later on in the afternoon a strong gust almost blew off a part of our shade structure, bending some of the carrying metal parts and tearing apart one of the tarps, but we were able to fix it; although it doesn’t say so in the instructions, it is apparently important to fix the structure with additional ropes and rebar.)
The final touch was putting up the banner of our camp.
Our location was great – at 7:30 Portal and A, we were at a busy intersection, but also with easy access to the Esplanade and an open view all the way to the man.
And that view proved to be nothing short of amazing on the first night, with the supermoon rising next to the Man statue.
Another nature’s wonder was a mini-tornado coming to us from the playa –
it was not any dangerous though, as you can see in the video below.
Well, this video shows a few other things too, but there’s still a lot more to the story (and two more videos) – so keep on reading. A couple more words about the camp:
We had a simple bike rack available for the visitors (note the horse head masks used for its decoration, I’ll mention them later).
For decoration, we used an olive tree (artificial – live plants are prohibited at Burning Man), columns adorned with ivy, and a small statue of Poseidon (without a trident, to make him look more like a generic Ancient Greek athlete…) – next time, we plan to team up with a 3D-printing camp to make a bigger statue.
The schedule of our activities was put daily on the blackboard.
Our first event included two running races – a 100-yard sprint
and a longer, approx. 1.8 km run from our camp to the Man and back.
The sprint was won by Chris, and the long run by yours truly 🙂
Admittedly, there weren’t that many participants, but it was still very early in the week, while many camps were still wrapping up their construction. We had other races planned, e.g. piggy-back and barrel-run, as we did at FreeForm, but we had to postpone and eventually cancel those due to dust storms and because the horse head masks which were meant for the final run of that race were stolen borrowed without asking from our bike rack. We also had to cancel our only night event – ‘discus (LED-lit frisbee) throw in the dark… and in the buff’ – because the nights were bitterly cold in the second half of the week! (Though as you can briefly see in the video above, we still managed to dance naked at some night parties getting warm by the fire from the art cars.)
Our ‘Naked Philosophy’ session was more of a personal introduction among our camp mates, as we did not know each of us in person; and then we discussed our experience in naturism and what it meant for us.
Our most successful event by far was the naked oil wrestling, and here is our second video dedicated to it. Unfortunately some of the video is quite blurry, because oil got on my camera, and most of the footage was not usable at all Oh well, at least it was a GoPro in a sealed casing, so the camera was totally fine after washing.
Our naked oil wrestling drew a lot of attention, even people in fancy mutant vehicles stopped to watch the match.
As at FreeForm Festival, we used sumo rules, which are the easiest to follow from all wrestling types, and added some Greekness to it with olive oil (and nudity), as a reference to the authentic Olympics.
Each match started with ceremonial wide steps, and then opponents tried to push each other
until one of them stepped outside the ring;
and the soles of the feet were the only part of the body allowed to touch the ground – so pushing the opponent down could also work.
But perhaps the most effective approach is simply carrying the opponent outside the ring, preferably keeping him upside down! 😀
For each pair, the victory was decided in 2 wins out of 3 matches.
We didn’t structure the whole event as an ultimate competition though – anyone could challenge whoever they wanted, and more than once. But we had two wrestlers that stood out
and were well matched –
so their sparring was very intense and captivating.
But even the fiercest match ended with a hug.
And both of them received well-deserved golden laurel wreaths!
(By the way, I lost their contact, so if anyone knows them – please put us in touch!)
After the final match, all wrestlers were welcome to go to an amazing massive group shower ‘perfoamance’ at the camp called ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’. Next day, we arranged the same competition at their camp – so that people queuing up to get foamed would try their strength in wrestling and entertain the public, and skip the line. We got in touch with one of the organizers of this camp at FreeForm Festival, and this was the best collaboration we could ask for – getting clean and relaxed felt particularly amazing after days in the dust and then even more so after wrestling. Decent showers are obviously quite sought-after at Burning Man, but this camp brings the whole experience to the next level by making it a massive group (40 people at a time) and entertaining activity (with countdown and music, water and foam sprayed under high pressure).
Here are some more photos from the wrestling matches at our camp and ‘Something Freaky Foams This Way’, if the ones above and the video aren’t enough.
Besides planned events, we had a few spontaneous activities, e.g. dance practices by Antony and damoN.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any footage of our fun session of a naked Greek dance with music from ‘Zorba the Greek’. It was lead by our new friend from another camp, and he rightfully suggested we would like the idea of performing this dance naked, which he said was his fantasy from a while ago, when he learned it at a Greek restaurant.
And if you follow this blog, you shouldn’t be surprised seeing some naked capoeira here 🙂
And with Tam around, acro-yoga was bound to happen sooner or later –
to our own and guests’ entertainment.
Then we toured a bit around the playa and did more acro-posing with some of Burning Man’s most interesting art constructions in the background.
This structure proved to combine very well with acro-yoga,
as its multiple lines were quite easy to align with the body parts of the posers.
From afar, it looked as if the giant metal ball was resting on Antony supported by Tam’s legs…
And one of the Mars Molecules seemed to be designed perfectly for acro-yoga, not just as a background, but as a base too.
Here is a composition with three men again.
And now, three men intertwined into one ‘laughing dragon’ –
laughing and causing laughter in viewers alike.
There were a few other camps that offered activities in the buff. Besides washing your body from all the dust, sweat and, in our case, also oil at the ‘perfoamance’ camp, cleaning the nose from accumulating dust seemed like a good idea too… and of course there was a camp for that – Neti’s (naked) Nose Spa – and naked too! I really liked how I felt afterwards, so when I got home I immediately ordered a neti pot. Some events were missed due to dust storms or cold nights (e.g. black light naked twister), others I simply forgot about (e.g. naked skateboarding session).
The camp across the street from us, Decadent Oasis, provided the best light show at night, with their technicolor ever-changing palm trees and great music. We were invited to do a striptease for their bachelorette party, though we first had to find some clothes to put on 😀 They also had a slackline,
and we were treated with a show of really good slackline walker who was naked and walked it all way through.
which featured plenty of nudity in its decoration among other elements.
Another view of the R-Evolution statue.
Riding on the bike in the heat of the day felt pretty nice thanks to the light wind (unless it turned into a dust storm!)
But the best conditions seemed to be around sunset time – the sun wasn’t scorching but it was still very warm before the onset of the cold night, and the air was still – that’s when we liked strolling around in our altogethers. But the photo below shows how you can be well protected against the elements while being naked!
And for comparison, this is how the same place looked like one day after the end of the festival…
Sad that everything has to come to an end, but on the other hand Burning Man celebrates immediacy, so realization of the temporary nature of… everything is part of the festival.
We made sure to leave no trace behind us and were ready to go home for the next adventure. Gymnasium proved to be a great experience for its organizers and visitors alike (hopefully all of them, let me know if not) and will hopefully develop only more in years to come!
And here is our third, bonus video with damoN performing on the playa. This was shot while the festival was still rocking, just outside Black Rock City. In case you thought it was difficult to escape from the crowds at this massive festival, it is actually easy to find a place where you can be alone when you would like to reconnect with your ‘inner self’; and the vast open landscape of the desert will only help with that. But it’s good to know that you’re next to the city full of your friends or yet-to-become friends.
FreeForm Festival really lives up to its name, and after I had so much fun there last year, I was determined to come back, and even more excitingly, together with our theme camp Gymnasium. FreeForm brings together a very diverse crowd, and although you wouldn’t see many naked participants, it is officially a clothing-optional event. Our camp was the only one where nudity was at its core, but there were some occasional fellow nudies here and there, e.g. two naked fire-spinners at the effigy burn (to which I unfortunately forgot to bring my camera). So, we saw it as our opportunity to reach out to many people who don’t have experience in naturism (or simply said, those who are not used to hang out naked) and show them the great fun that comes with nude recreation. This was also a good test for us before launching our project of Gymnasium on a much larger scale at Burning Manlater this summer. We got lots of encouragement and ideas for collaboration, and here are just some highlights.
Our first event attracted about a dozen people, but only our camp members were naked. Well, we thought it was still a success, as to bring across the idea of social nudity, people should get comfortable with others being naked, and then maybe it will not be too long until they feel comfortable in their own skin too.
And our event required quite a bit of collaboration, often between ‘skins and shirts’, as it was a race that combined a piggy-back ride
and a barrel run.
It was pure fun,
but to add a bit of competitive spirit and even more fun, we arranged a final race for the first 4 pairs from the initial run;
for the final, the leading person had to wear a horse (or pig, in one case) mask, which partially obscured vision.
Thus, besides making it more fun for the spectators, these masks were supposed to encourage communication between riders and horses.
At the turn from piggy-back ride to barrel-run, riders and horses had to swap, so the participants in each pair experienced both roles, though in different versions.
Just seeing these photos, it looks like barrel run in the mask was a bit more difficult to control,
but everybody made it till the end 🙂
My pair won, and is it was the only one where both participants were naked, let me conclude (admittedly, in an anecdotal manner) that communication and collaboration work best between naked people 🙂
And the horse sort of became our camp’s mascot (we hung our program with historical references at the entrance to the camp).
Later in the day, we went to the temple area, played wind gongs
and climbed trees (because why not? This won’t be an option at Burning Man :-))
Then it was time for our nude dance workshop aka NuDance, for which we collaborated with our neighbors, ‘Priority 5’ camp – they provided the soundtrack. Thanks again, guys, in case you read this! We were really lucky to have them as our neighbors, as they had some of the best music around (probably among my 2 favorite music camps along with ‘Echo’).
But here is a sad side note about music at FreeForm: apparently, some outdoors after-hours music sessions that were not supposed to take place kept some locals in the neighboring village awake to the extent that they filed a complaint and now FreeForm has to find a new home 😦 Hopefully, it won’t be difficult for the organizers.
Then there was another event that triggered some joyful nudity – a crossover from Holi festival, where participants splash each other with brightly-colored powders. I missed it, as I was getting massage at that time, but luckily other campmates brought some extra powders, so we had our own naked celebration of colors.
And our colorful rabbit with a powerful jump deserves an extra credit 🙂
We continued with Indian-inspired activities by doing yoga that turned into a symposium (as you may know from our theme camp description, this idea of drinking wine in different poses was also inspired by depictions of symposiums from Ancient Greek vases).
We discussed a bit how to increase attendance of our events next year, and one solution was obvious – we should apply for workshops at the lawn by the main stage to increase visibility and traffic.
But then our last event was very successful indeed. Perhaps because people started packing and bringing down their tents, so our camp became more visible, or simply because many liked the idea, we had a very good attendance at our oil wrestling match. Even the founder of FreeForm Festival stopped by; he liked the idea of our camp, being both very interactive and educational, and advised to get some Greek-themed decorations such as columns (which we’re already planning for Burning Man).
Quite a few people showed for our wrestling match, and then more were joining from passers by. It was a good idea to use oil for participants (and we used a good quality Greek olive oil), as this encouraged them to get naked (and all did except for one who kept his underwear, because his girlfriend was strict about that allegedly :-))
Here are just a few highlights,
so you get an impression of how our matches went.
We used sumo wrestling rules, which are the simplest of all wrestling styles, i.e. only the soles of the feet are allowed to touch the ground and you have to stay within the ring.
The most common winning strategy was pushing the opponent outside the ring, sometimes quite vigorously,
but even then all matches ended in a peaceful manner
and the whole atmosphere was very friendly.
Another strategy was lifting the opponent and bringing him, or her as in this case, down… Though it didn’t work for me, as my opponent clung to me, and I had to extend my arm to the ground not to fall.
Lifting the opponent and carrying him outside the ring worked well too.
And some more selected moments for you:
I really like these pictures,
as they show interaction between people,
many of whom are complete strangers to each other,
while some are close friends,
but in either case, it is both very physical and social.
At times it looked almost like a fist fight,
and then more like a dance,
but keeping it balanced was the key to maintain the fun,
even when the opponents were of quite different size.
Which by the way wasn’t often a good predictor of who would win:
our match showed that size doesn’t matter, but skillfulness does! 😉
Admittedly, the matches between more similarly skilled and sized opponents
were the most exciting to watch
and lasted longest.
And I guess you’ve been wondering – yes, we did have an all female match too!
And I’ll just finish here quoting a comment from one of them, which makes me think that our mission was accomplished: “thanks for making me feel so comfortable naked and learning how much I love how it feels!”
PS I actually love these photos so much, and I think they quite grasp the essence of the whole idea of Active Naturists and our theme camp, so here is a gallery with an extended selection for your enjoyment.
Sorry for having been quiet the entire month of March, but I was busy getting new material in Florida 🙂 While it’s not ready to be published yet, I’d like to announce a few events that sound like fun and well in the spirit of αctive naturists.
On the 18th of April, Travasuns will have their monthly Indoor Pool Party in Long Island, NY, which will be my last, and unfortunately only second, this season. I usually go to their events throughout winter, but this yeah I’ve had schedule conflicts. It’s a low-key event at a rented gym with saunas, hang-out pool, pizza and wallyball.
YNOTU(Young Nudists of Texas United) will host their second Nude Games on Memorial Weekend, 22-25 May, at a campground near Dallas. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend again, but the program looks like fun: flag football, tug of war, a few varieties of volleyball among other things. However, it seems to me, they downplayed the athletic component this year. If any of you go there, I’ll be happy to hear your thoughts!
I’m finally updating information on Berlin, the most naturist-friendly city in my opinion, and I’ll start with its main park Tiergarten in the very centre of the city. Given the park’s central location, it is easy to get there from pretty much anywhere around, so you could even come there after work or on a lunch break for some relaxed sunbathing on one of a few known FKK meadows (Freikörperkultur translates as Free Body Culture) south of Straße des 17 Juni. In the first half of the day, you can also refresh in one of those “showers” from sprinklers on the lawns throughout the park,
The lawns of Tiergarten are perfect for frisbee, ball games, badminton and its new faster counterpart, speedminton. By the way, speedminton was invented in Berlin, so playing it in the centre of the city a la FKK sounds very authentic 😉
Joe and I used to play speedminton in Tiergarten pretty often, as you can see even rain wouldn’t stop us!
If you want to try something more ancient, how about naked oil wrestling? Tam and I certainly had fun reviving the Ancient Greek tradition.
As I had very little experience in wrestling, it was more of a lesson for me from Tam, but the very slippery aspect of oil wrestling was new to him too.
Given that it was olive oil, this exercise must have served as a nice skin rub too.
Despite the oil, we still managed to grip each other,
and each of us (but mostly me) got thrown on the grass too a few times.
The latter was more difficult staying lower with knees on the ground in our final match.
On another occasion, we wrestled two against one, but we certainly need more practice.
Another activity that proved to be fun in Tiergarten was acro-yoga.
Below is a good example of how good positioning that comes with experience lets even a much lighter ‘base’ person hold a heavier ‘flyer’.
However, when the flyer is much lighter, even the arms may be enough to support the flyer.
(Excuse our friend for clothes, but she didn’t feel like undressing at that moment.)
Some of the poses did not only feel relaxing (for the flyer at least),
but also provided opportunity to suntan those hard to reach places 😀
Some poses may seem simple but are fun to maintain,
and the next step is to learn to transition them into a totally different pose.
Such dynamic exercises are much more challenging for the base,
whereas the flyer should follow his directions and enjoy the ride
until he ends up in yet another unusual but stable pose.
This pose below serves as an excellent back and hip stretch for the flyer.
Here are some standing acro-yoga poses, starting from simple
to a more difficult balancing exercise.
Standing on shoulders of another person is probably one of those things that seem scary and challenging primarily for ‘mental’ reasons,
as the weight is the same as when you sit on the shoulders and the height isn’t that dangerous if you decide to jump off. I decided to avoid it though, due to my not fully recovered ankle.
Sean and Tam made it look easy from the first time!
Here is another pose that combines balancing and stretch (and transitioning into it is kind of scary).
Once you’re in the pose, don’t forget to point your toes (if you’re the flyer)!
We ended our session that time with the ultimate balancing exercise – two bodies maintained by one pair of arms!
I hope this blogpost will inspire Berliners and visitors of the German capital to use their main urban park for naturist activities. We can only wish for anything like this in Central Park in New York, Hyde Park in London or pretty much anywhere else in the world!
After having maintained a nude yoga group with my friends for almost two years at private locations, we are finally going public. Starting from this Wednesday, we will have a weekly class in Harlem at 9pm with Michael. He is a very experienced and talented yoga instructor, and we are very lucky that he will teach us. He will also join us again for the second yoga retreat at the Woods campground on the first weekend of August 1st-3rd.
Feel free to comment here or contact me by e-mail for more details about the class and retreat. You’re also welcome to just stop by. We are offering $15 per class for frequent visitors who are ready to buy a 10 pack for $150 or single class for $20. As for the retreat, you’re also welcome to just join us at the Woods campground, but if you drive from New York City, we’ll appreciate any carpool options. The retreat is purely donation-based, and all costs will be shared!
Meanwhile, get inspired by these pictures of Michael stretching out at the great Sandy Hook beach!
His routine includes some sophisticated poses and transitions that require advances flexibility,
but don’t worry, he’s a good teacher and will make sure that everyone is comfortable at their level of experience.
The doggy yogi classics is certainly on the menu too.
However, it’s always nice to see something challenging to aspire to.
We also like partner stretches and acro-yoga; below are photos from our spontaneous session last September at Sandy Hook.
Partner exercises turn yoga into an interactive experience
and allow deeper stretches.
Some poses even involve more than 2 partners.
Join our nude yoga group, and your body and mind will thank you!
Saunas provide an easy opportunity to have a naturist experience to laypeople and are among favorite pastimes for hardcore naturists as well, but there is a hidden and unique (please let me know, if it isn’t!) place on the Hawaii island that brings it to the next level: a combination of geothermal steam vents, small caves and lush greenery creates the most natural and idyllic steam room imaginable!
Again, I found out about this natural wonder thanks to the guidebook ‘Hawaii, the Big Island Revealed‘ – and it would be hard to know about it otherwise, as it is on private land whose owner by no means seems to want to advertise it. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to mind the visitors much either, and the place is accessible for those in the know 😉 The guidebook also noted that locals enjoy the natural steam in their altogethers, as nature intended.
You’ll have to guess where the trails are, as they are not very distinguishable in the beginning but get better by the steam rooms. Some of those are hard to notice behind the plants,
but you’ll sense the heat and see the steam. Now, how is this for a steam room?
An individual cabin adorned with ferns and orchids!
If you’re with a bigger group AND have a ladder, you may go for this steaming hole in the ground!
Next to it, there was a small cave with a ladder installed already. Then, I noticed steam coming above a meadow below.
I went down there and took a chance for using the space for my personal hot nude yoga session (based on Bikram yoga sequences I used to do 2 years ago). This was a unique opportunity to do hot yoga in an open-air space, and it felt amazing.
As darkness fell, I was staring at the first stars, and, getting warmed up by the heat from the depth of our planet, I couldn’t help thinking of being one with our vast universe, and my nakedness only facilitated the feeling. The lush vegetation around and the chorus of crickets and coquí frogs also reminded me that we were lucky to be in the part of the universe suitable for life; and I personally felt very lucky to be in that particular part of the universe that made me feel life was amazing!
The painting in our room set our mood for another naturist adventure 🙂
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 😀
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.
So it felt only more appropriate to do our morning stretch in the buff, and there was even a statue for inspiration 😉
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,
but the most interesting stuff awaited us under water.
Kapoho tide pools are popular among snorkelers thanks to crystal clear water, and we could see how clear it was from above.
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.
The corals there were not nearly as bright as at the Red Sea, but some rocks were covered with colorful moss animals.
Another invertebrate that was abundant there was sea cucumber.
But numerous vivid coral fishes were of course the main attraction.
Unicornfish was probably my favorite.
There was at least a couple of species of unicornfish, and besides the unicorn
they were decorated with adornments on the tail and stylish make-up.
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.
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.
But not all are so conspicuous at the coral reef. Needlefish is hard to spot and they usually don’t come too close.
And this one we almost missed altogether. Can you actually spot what it is?
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 😀 )
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? 😉
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.
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.
I got a new dog friend while his owner was body surfing.
That sand really feels (and looks) nice on the skin.
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.
And there I was, bouldering in the buff 🙂
It may not look that high on pictures, but it was quite scary to look down.
Then we discovered a horizontal bar hanging on the tree. I’m always up for some pull-ups!
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.
With such a nice sand there was no need for mat,
and I followed the rhythm of ocean wave alternating between poses.
Fresh and at the same time very warm air was perfect for stretches –
“pigeon”, all the way to the front
and “camel” – all went well deep.
After some twisting,
it felt right to finish off with balancing in the tree pose on the coconut palm tree stump.
I so much look forward to coming back to this beach again!