I’ve just returned from a great week away at the coast with my family. Interestingly my phone turned to a brick on the first day away, so I’ve spent the week more or less totally devoid of technology. What’s more, neither my wife nor I wore a watch. Daylight savings has just started in Australia, so it was great running entirely off our body clocks.
One beach in particular I wanted to check out is an unofficial nude beach called Myrtle Bay which is in the Murramarang National Park. Beyond an intention to visit, I had no idea how this might be accomplished.
The weather was absolutely fantastic. We had one morning of rain, but that soon cleared up to deliver a bright, hot sunny day.
My wife wanted to explore a bush track she’d walked years ago with her family. The track went via Myrtle Bay.
I’ve read some mixed reports about the beach, one in particular stating that no naked bathers were there, only families with kids.
On the day we walked, Myrtle Bay ended up being our destination. The kids were tired and hungry, and everyone was ready to stop.
I set about setting up our beach shelter and picnic mat. As I was doing so, I noticed a person a little further down the beach was standing bare, enjoying the sunshine and view.
“This isn’t a nude beach is it?” my wife asked with mild suspicion.
“I’m not sure,” I replied honestly. “If it is, at least nobody will mind me having a nude swim.”
“True,” she said, and that was that.
My son was absolutely delighted with the concept of a “bare beach”. My daughter didn’t want a bar of it. My wife was okay because there weren’t too many people there. A middle aged couple down the far end of the beach. A slightly older couple in front of us, and two separate guys further down the other end of the beach.
My son and I took full advantage of the surf. We later walked down the beach and we probably spent a couple of hours or more there. The slightly older couple approached us and pointed out some whales playing further out in the bay.
I wouldn’t have believed a few months ago my wife would be okay spending time at a nude beach; even if she herself didn’t participate.
A couple of days later, we drove further up the track and explored some of the other beaches. One in particular stood out. Oaky beach which is within the Marine park, meaning no fishing and no collecting of shell fish or anything else.
“This looks like a 'bare beach’ to me,” exclaimed my daughter. This is her term for any beach where it’s basically okay to go nude. Either because we’re the only one’s on it, and I tend to take advantage of that, or, being the like’s of Myrtle Bay, other people on the beach are bare.
My son and I took advantage of the surf again, though it was a lot rougher here. After one particular wave when my son had returned to play in the sand, I noticed a bare body bathing face down in the sand.
My wife had almost walked up to him thinking it was me. She noticed me in the surf just in time. It would have been highly unusual for me to be bathing off on my own.
Some twenty minutes later, me in the surf, her exploring the next bay and kids entertaining themselves up by the beach shelter the bare body vanished.
What’s particularly odd about all this, is none of us saw this guy arrive. None of us saw him disappear either. Just after I noticed him gone, with absolutely no sign, I got out of the water to check the kids were okay.
“He disappeared Dad.”
“I think he was a mirage.”
When my wife returned, we were all so mystified by this, we walked over to see if there was any kind of imprint on the sand. I was quite eerie seeing no footsteps in the sand leading to the spot. Maybe it really had been a mirage.
When we did reach the spot, there was indeed an imprint, and a small number of footsteps from the sandy bank to the body mark. It was almost disappointing.
It was however interesting that someone coming upon us playing naked in the surf decided it would be perfectly okay for him to sunbath naked for a while.
So we now have a new term in the family for places it’s okay to be bare. Bare beaches.
As a humorous aside; when we were at these locations, my daughter had no interest in going bare. The next day however, on one of the public beaches we were visiting, she was quite happy to strip off in order to ride on the skim board we had. She’d been swimming and had gotten dressed. Rather than get into wet swimming clothes again, she asked me, “is it okay if I go bare?”
“Of course," I replied.
It seems naked kids are always okay on the beach, and not an uncommon observation. If only this applied more broadly where nobody cared who else was or wasn’t naked at the beach.