Or naked snorkelling anywhere I presume? I just happened to have the good fortune to be on holiday on the stunningly beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia. It really is a beautiful place, the largest of the Ionian Islands, combining an amazing, jagged and slightly imposing mountainous and indigenous pine tree covered interior, with the crystal clear cobalt-blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The hot high sun appears to helprelease an amazing aroma, a blend of the indigenous pine andnumerous wild herbs which seem to grow in abundance all over the island. Once you factor in a smattering of small, reasonably deserted, white pebbled beaches, coves and bays, you’ve pretty much discovered naked snorkelling heaven. And of course, what makes the island even more special are the welcoming and friendly local people, fantastic regional food and superb local wine, when can I go back please?
For me, the northern region of Kefalonia is absolutely ideal for the naturist to enjoy some discreet outdoor activities. I believe that there is an ‘almost’ official sandy naturist beach on the southern coast (and even a small naturist resort) neither of which have I had the pleasure of visiting. But, for naked sun-bathing and snorkelling and a day at the beach free from intimate sand chafing and sand/sun-tan lotion encrusted skin, the north is definitely the place to go.
This particular small cove (unnamed for purely selfish reasons, I hope you understand) which I discovered on a previous holiday here two years ago, reached after a steep andstunningly scenic drive down from the sleepy village high above, does have a sort of unofficial naturist area, it’s only accessed by either climbing over or wading around somefairly sizable rocks to reach it, After that it’s conveniently split into a handful of cliff backed and recessed, westerly facing separate miniature beaches, utter secluded paradise. The climbing or wading element tends to put the non-naturists off venturing this way but, if they do, once they spot the nakedness, they tend to turn and return to the other larger bays.
I wasn’t wearing (or even carrying) much when I arrived and it didn’t take me long to completely remove it once settled inminiature private paradise after I’d made my discreet climb over the rocks. After a quick blissful naked dip to cool off after the journey and scramble, it was time for a snorkel, that’s why I’m here. I can only really head left as, going right takes me past the regular beach and open water. To the left it’s rocky and jagged and leads to deeper waters which will take me away from everybody and everything that could distract me. With the tight strap of my face-mask positioned and mouth gripped round the snorkel, I wade in and make a rather ungainly belly-flop entrance but, I’m in, floating face down in the cool water.
Immediately the shallow underwater view is stunning. The unique shimmering and dancing, sun-filtered, turquoise blueof the sea, the colours subtly moving and changing with the ripples and waves from above, creating moving shadows on the pure white pebble and stone formations below. Occasional sunlit shards seem to suddenly pierce the sea then disappear with the next wave created shadow. I take my time and slowly move out into deeper water, the colour darkens in the depths and dark green, almost black, underwater plants are visible and gently sway amongst the larger, deeper rock formations. I start working my way along the jagged, rocky coastline and shoals of quick darting small silver fish and larger, slower moving solitary dark fish hove into view then disappear into the darker depths.
There’s definitely something, an almost other-worldly feelingwhen snorkelling, I’m not sure what it is or how to describe it. The muffled sounds caused by the water covering my ears which only enhances the sound of my tubed and rhythmic breathing, the slow deliberate arm sweeps and leg kicks, theeffortless floating and feeling that the world above the water does not exist anymore. Strangely, I find this unique feeling only enhance when I take a quick glance up above the water line and back some distance to the beach where all my clothing and possessions are to realise, I’m naked and have nothing with me at all except a snorkel and face mask. My few worldly possessions are some distance and time away and there’s nothing I can do if someone helps themselves to them. Highly unlikely I know but strangely exciting too, I just don’t know why?
When I return to my temporary private beach, the feeling remains, sitting on the small, smooth white pebbles at the water’s edge with my legs straight out in front and slightly descending with the natural slope, the waves gently lapping at the area of your body which is usually, always covered. There’s a pleasant gentle breathlessness from breathing through a narrow tube whilst embarking in mild aerobic activity. The sun is glistening on my wet skin and quickly warming my body once more. I lie back, take a huge deep breath of satisfaction and scan the cloud-free sky. I feel as if I could stay here forever, I certainly stay in this position for a long time, soaking up the sun until the pebbles start making indents in my buttocks and back.
I venture further on my second foray, I can still only head in the same left-hand direction but, I decide to go further away from the small secluded beach this time. Although I’m hugging the coastline the sea is rougher and cooler the further I go, I assume due to the increased darker depths and proximity to more open waters but, I feel safe and it’s quite exciting. I find some small shallow hollows etched in the rock where I can stand submerged, hold on and rest in the sea for a while. I remove my snorkel and face mask and only the flat sea horizon is ahead of me as I look out. I’m completely out of sight of anyone now, naked, and totally alone. It feels very natural and I feel so alive, I doubt I would feel this good even with the most minimal of clothing on. I’m almost overwhelmed by a feeling of freedom and complete contentment, all of the stresses and issues of everyday life have disappeared.
I have no idea how long I’ve been in my private, submerged hollow but, I make sure I savour every minute of it. It feels a little disappointing to begin heading back but I’m starting to feel a touch cold, probably because of the opportunity to stop and rest. I take more notice of the submerged rocks to my right side rather than the dark terraced depths and spot a couple of pinkish-red starfish effortlessly clinging to the rocks just below the water line. As I head further in I start to realise that there must be a correlation between decreasing depth and increasing temperature because the sea is starting to actually feel warm again as I begin to recognise familiar, lone underwater rock features. The colour lightens too, I assume the hot high sun has less water to penetrate and is reflecting back off the white pebbled sea bed. My possessions are fortunately all still on my temporary private beach so I rest once more, letting the sun dry and warm my body. I consider myself very fortunate to have had this experience for last couple of hours or so and, after some stretching and rehydration, decide on one more snorkel before I have to regrettably head home.
The underwater view is starting to become familiar in places now but the moving sun has created a kind of sun-dial effect on the large, protruding cliff shadows, changing the underwater colouring slightly as I slowly glide along, on the way to spending a final few minutes at my secret resting place which I found earlier in the day. As I pause and gaze out across the progressively calming sea towards the horizon once more, I notice my slightly wrinkled finger tips; I’ve probably been in the water for long enough for today. I certainly feel that I’ve had enough sun exposure too, despite being immersed in water for longish periods, the skin on my back and neck feels a bit tight and dry. It’s getting on for late afternoon as I start heading back for the last time and I still seem to have this part of the island and sea pretty much to myself. I have seen the odd lone swimmer or rock scrambler during the day but, I’m rather selfishly relieved that they didn’t linger for long. As I return from my final foray, right at that point when the shallow water raises the body level slightly and the sea begins to slowly slide down the front of my face-mask to reveal sky, I spot a naked, deeply tanned late middle-age couple standing close to where my towel and possessions are, I’m glad they’re naked as I’m just about to stand. When I do I’m still waist deep but after a couple of wide waded steps forward, everything I have is exposed. They don’t flinch though, seasoned naturists and I’m guessing European.
As I gently crunch towards them on the small smooth pebbles, my snorkel now hanging from my mouth, I remove my face mask over the back of my head and smile. They both, much to my relief, return the smile and before I get the chance to say ‘Hello’, they speak to me in perfect English, how do they know? I soon establish, after some friendly mutual chat, that they’re Swedish, semi-retired, lean and fit and of late middle-age as I first thought. As we talk briefly about just how beautiful and secluded it is here, they notice, and seem to be genuinely impressed with my now much defined thong tan line, enhanced after some extended wearing during the previous week or so on beautiful Kefalonia. So impressed in fact they even ask me to perform a small twirl so they can admire the whole thing. They like the fact that I choose to wear swim thongs rather than trunks or, even worse, hideous baggy shorts when not naked. It was the cherry on the cake of an absolutely perfect day.