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Friday, April 15, 2016

Nudists of Tilloo Cay

Several boats anchored off Tilloo Cay.  

There is no nudist colony on Tilloo Cay, however I suspect that the catamaran of nude people next to us are not the first ones to visit this beach.  Why do I think this?  A few reasons—first off, on the beach there are pieces of tent suspended purposefully from a couple of trees (providing shade) white plastic chairs (known as the least hot surface against bare skin) and a little further down the beach, there is a roughly built ribcage-high table. (I am no expert, but I am guessing that while nude, standing to eat may be the most sensible thing.  Even the tidiest of eaters end up with crumbs in a lap, that is if there is a lap.  Better to just let the crumbs fall where they will, I say).  
Ribcage high table and water jugs

Next to the table, several empty spring water jugs.  Why are empty water jugs suspicious for nude partiers you ask?  Stands to reason—anyone who hangs out on the beach for a long time is going to get thirsty and yet, there is a conspicuous lack of beer and liquor containers here.  Very odd in a country where rum is so cheap and isolated beautiful beaches so plentiful.  The most reasonable explanation I can think of, is that the trail of nude visitors passing through here have wisely avoided intoxication while on the beach.  Probably better to not call attention to a large group of people sporting their birthday suits, right? 
Tilloo Cay beach

The primary reason, though, that I suspect these are not the first nude visitors is because after their boat was anchored and they had a brief chat on deck, they headed directly to that spot on the beach, in two dinghy trips of 4 to 5 clothed persons each time—as if they knew exactly where to go.  And then immediately became unclothed.  I was glad that Carl noticed this fact before we landed on the beach next to them with Jax.  Jax could care less what humans do or do not wear but he would certainly have wanted to sniff out each of them individually, to see whether they would like to pet him, and were they carrying any treats for him. Might not have been appreciated in a group of bare butted folks.  
A sauna in the North Woods, actually Canadian soil

Other than northern Minnesotans I have known that will share a sauna (in the buff) and then race out into the snow to cool down (pretty bizarre behavior for otherwise subdued folks) I’ve never really known anyone personally who looks for opportunities to walk around naked.  So, let me just say this— I don’t get it.  What is it that fuels the desire to see and be seen by others all of them lacking even the tiniest fig leaf for cover?  Is it because clothing is uncomfortable?  Confining?  Is that it?  I’ve known some children with Asperger’s Syndrome who are so bothered by the feeling of clothing against their skin that their parents report it difficult to keep the child clothed.  I, myself, have experienced some scratchy, troublesome clothing tags, but in general, I really don’t have any quarrels with clothing.  I’d even go so far as to say that I LIKE wearing clothes.  
Looking over the Sea of Abaco from highest point on Tilloo Cay

But here’s what I’m trying to parse out—leasing a catamaran for a week in the Bahamas on a vacation with 7 of one’s closest friends, all of it orchestrated around the desire to get away from disagreeable clothing seems a little extreme to me.  It’s not as if we are dealing with stuffy Victorian attitudes about swimwear for heavens’ sake.  I mean, Speedos are so small already that very little of the human body is concealed.  But is even that too much coverage?  If so, it must be the principle of being clothed—the expectation that bodies should be concealed that is objectionable.
Jax belly-dipping at Tilloo Cay beach

So, if the goal is to experience the freedom to go out and about without adhering to "arbitrary" rules about clothing one’s body, then why I ask, are all but two of these nude vacationers so reluctant to walk the beach?  Most of them are clinging to the part of the beach with the tent shades and the stand-up-to-eat table.  I mean, I’m not staring or anything, but they do not seem to be enjoying the beach.   In fact, there are more people lurking back under the trees than near the water.  

Only one nude couple went walking the beach.  Hats are acceptable for nudists.
One nude couple, however, strolled down the beach, looking for all the world as if they were coming solely to have a chat with us.  What is proper etiquette for a clothed couple when they meet with a nude couple on the beach?  There seem to be so many ways in which ordinary chitchat could lead one down a rocky path.  For their part, the nude couple seemed to be focused on appearing totally “cool” with their own nudity. 
Live sponge found on Tilloo Cay and returned to water.

Their agenda may have been to warn us of their approach in case we would be uncomfortable, but they hailed us well in advance of their arrival. There is an appropriate distance from which people who do not know each other may call out a greeting.  I don’t know what that exact distance is, but I do know when it’s too far away, as this one was. 
Nonchalant nudists

Now, I agree that one really should not be in the habit of trying to second guess what others are up to, but I could’t help thinking that this couple was making a statement to the rest of their group.  ‘See how comfortable we are walking on the beach in plain sight for all to see.  Watch us and learn. You, too, can be comfortable in your own skin.”
Fossilized reefs undercut by the tide.  

Upon closing the gap between us, the cigar smoking gentleman immediately inquired as to whether we were “okay” with their nudity.  Well, what can one say to that question?  “Oh sure, we talk to nude people on the beach all the time.”  “No problem, I wouldn’t even be wearing clothing myself but for this huge bruise on my behind….”  “Oh, gosh, are you nudists? I hadn’t noticed.”  “Nice tans!”  “I’ve been dying to take off my pants.  Excuse me while I disrobe too.”  No, none of that.  I kept it simple.  I left Carl there alone to talk with them while I collected more shells. 
Tilloo Cay shell and sponge collection

When I joined them, they were trading boat information and all the usual things, “where did you come from?  How long are you here?”  “What is your workout routine—you look like you’re in good shape.”  (Just kidding about the last part).
Live critter at home in this shell

It seems to me that without clothing a person is in need of additional props.  The gentleman with his huge cigar, for example.  The woman who then joined me in looking for shells in the water.  It gave her something to do with her hands.  She spent the entire time bent over (backside facing the water) looking into a square yard of shallow water.  There weren’t THAT many shells!  She and I chatted like old friends while staring at the water.  Why did we both make a point of demonstrating how “okay” we were with her nudity?  I don’t know if she was trying to make eye contact with me, but my eyes were definitely glued to the water.   And all the time, what I really wanted to do was just ask, “What is it about being nude in public that you find appealing?  I just want to understand.  Seriously.”     
Jax is totally unimpressed with a nude beach.

There are vacations for all kinds of folks, aren’t there?  

1 comment:

Mark Bennett said...

Very few bodies are not improved by a little clothing.