This week we continue sharing Wanderlust readers' tales of their favorite nude beaches from around the world. Since requesting these stories two weeks ago, I have been amazed and heartened by the enthusiasm and variety of your responses. This week we have selected four tales that address some of the perils and pleasures of exposing yourself to the world -- whether on America's East and West coasts, or the bare-all shores of Greece. We hope you enjoy them, and please, if you have a favorite nude beach or tale to share, send us e-mail -- and photos -- at email@example.com. And don't forget that sunscreen!
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Moonlight, wine and desolation
A great place to go sans clothes, especially on a moonlit night with clear skies and calm seas, is Anse Lazio, on Praslin Island, Seychelles. The local Seychellois would like people to know that their beach is the prettiest in the world. From my limited experience, I think the claim has merit.
The beach is about one kilometer in length with huge red granite boulders at each end. The sand is as white as white can be imagined on a beach. It is hard and compact. Footprints are hardly noticeable. The sea is turquoise and under a full moon looks truly magical.
However, getting to Anse Lazio is not easy. The Seychellois like to joke that their island nation is a thousand miles from the nearest country. If you land on the main island of Mahe, where the international airport is located (not many airlines earn their living serving the Seychelles), you have to take another 14-seater plane to Praslin. From there, you can either get a car or walk the five or so kilometers to where the beach is located. But once you get there, unless there is a gale blowing, you will experience a place so beautiful, where the first thing that hits your mind is the thought of conservation. It is rare that a place as pretty as Anse Lazio gets the kind of protection it deserves.
The government, in its infinite wisdom, allows only one restaurant to operate on Anse Lazio, and it's only open during the day. Other than an illegally built hut on a small hill at one end of the beach, there are no other buildings. All you can see are coconut palms, red granite boulders and the most beautiful sea imaginable. People are rare, and at night they would rather cluster in their hotels at the center of the village.
The beach faces east, so when the full moon rises from the sea at about 7 p.m., the place becomes awash with light. Walking up and down the beach -- with a breeze blowing, the sound of the coconut trees rustling and a couple of bottles of good wine in hand -- is like finding paradise lost. You have to experience it sans clothes of course.
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Bald bottoms in Australia
Our favorite nude beach in the world is Balding Bay Beach on Magnetic Island, just off of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The beach is only reachable by a leisurely 45-minute hike through a remarkable gum forest (eucalyptus) -- part of the national park that makes up about half the island. It's an amazing place that never reaches an uncomfortable temperature. The beach is wide, white and fluffy, and the long granite outcroppings that hem it in are perfect sites for raptors -- the Yanks who were here in WWII thought they were bald eagles; the beach's name is the ossification of "bald eagle."
We met wonderful folks at this nude beach. We became regulars at Balding Bay, where there's a great campground for backpackers nearby. On the third day of our stay, an enormous yacht pulled into the bay. Turns out the entire family on the boat -- all three generations -- were avid sun seekers.
It's also good to know that the entire Queensland coast is subject to a horrific infestation of deadly jellyfish -- the kind where once you're stung, you have 30 seconds left to breathe -- for five to six months out of the year. So the best time to visit is in the winter. Check a guidebook for specifics on the jellyfish season. Despite this, one could easily be seduced into spending weeks at a time lazing on Balding Bay.
--Trish and Del Cornali
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Cooling off, Caribbean style
My favorite nude beach is Hawksbill Beach on Antigua. It's the only nude spot on a Caribbean island of 365 beaches. The water is aquarium clear, the beach is a quarter-mile crescent with a background of tropical forests and inaccessible hills. A friendly local hides in a hut and rents beach chairs for "5 or 6 dollars," smiles when we say we are not rich and accepts the fiver. Other local ladies, fully dressed, bring drinks to hotel guests who put in their beverage requests in the morning.
On a recent summer day, only two other families were at the beach. Rain came down unexpectedly and after a few minutes of downpour, we all jumped into the water, which was much warmer than the rain. For the next half hour, we talked to the other couples with the cold rain streaming onto our heads, and the warm saltwater kissing our naked asses.