There is no better sensation than swimming naked in the ocean under a full moon with a few friends. It is the finest pleasure imaginable, for me.
Imagine a quiet beach in southern Cambodia, there is no one else around, just the moon shining down approvingly on your skinny dipping intentions and the sand beneath your feet. It looks good and feels even better, right.
Now, add a few close friends, and some new ones just to shake things up. You all strip your clothes off and run towards the ocean, letting out a few quick squeals with an abandon that rekindles the sort of joy you have not felt since you were a kid and your dad bought you a chocolate back from a work trip. It’s truly thrilling.
Hang on, it gets better.
You hit the waves and the salt water rushes over your body. There are no pesky cossies to get between you and the water and the reflection of the luscious moon, so it feels completely natural.
That moment, just a few short days ago, was my nirvana. As the waves crashed around me I felt an intense happiness stain my soul. It was a bountiful reward for the challenges I have faced getting to that moment.
I should mention here that I am an avid skinny dipper. I have, perhaps, a disproportionate love for the pursuit. Some get their pleasure from partying or a nice cup of tea or a successful dinner party, a nice bottle of wine, even. Not me, all I need is a beach, or a pool, or even a puddle.
It all started, I reckon, with a story my cheeky dad once told me about skinny dipping at a party when he was younger. He’d jumped in the pool in the nude because he thought the patrons were a little dull. Then he strolled out naked, head held high, confident he’d instilled some character into the shenanigans. Or at least that is the embellished version.
After dad’s amusing inspiration I moved into a house with a pool. It was an open invitation to swim naked, regardless of the elderly lady living next door whose lounge room casually peeked onto our pool. Our daily jaunts were a highlight of my sharehousing life.
I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom have stripped down, trading their suits and gowns for blissful immersion with a watchful moon. It seemed a superbly fun way to celebrate and share the nuptials.
Of course, I should note here that not all skinny dipping ends with such a heart-warming feeling. Take Dan of the Night, for instance, a backpacking reveller I met a few days ago.
He’d been indulging in a spot of night time natural bathing when a crafty Cambodian local thought his clothes would be better suited on their Khmer frame. I’m not sure how the thief looked in his garb, but I have a great vision of Dan running after the motorbike riders, in the nude, demanding his clothes back. The poor sucker also had his room key taken, so after the humbling trip from the beach to his hostel, in just the birthday suit, Dan had to ask for a replacement to get into his room.
His search for new clothes, however, was thwarted by the unhelpful receptionist who, no doubt, loved the sight of the naked Canadian. There was no key for Dan of the Night. No clothes, either.
He copped it well, I reckon, recovering his dignity and basking in the story of sleeping naked in front of the entire dorm. About 14 people had the chance to catch a glimpse of his tanned frame, apparently.
On our quieter beach, however, there were no nasties lurking in the shadows, except the beastly dogs, but that’s another story. So, the hot Swedes and I recovered our towels, bade farewell to the coast and ambled home.
Now, I’m tucked up in Beijing and delighting in the city life again.
Otres Beach, the haven of my trip, seems almost a lifetime away. But for a seasoned skinny dipper, it’s not too difficult to recall the moonlight shenanigans. Already I’m planning a sneaky trip to one of Australia’s mighty fine strips of sand.