Some things in life go together so well, and compliment each other so perfectly, you wonder if there has been some divine intervention at play. Like strawberries and cream, sea and sand – and for us Naturism and Sailing. All these things have a sum that is greater than their two parts – they are perfect! And sailing naked for us has been a truly ‘bucket-list’ activity.
We all know the absolute pleasures of skinny dipping. This is often the first activity that seals it for most of us that we want all our holidays to be unclothed. That feeling of freedom of swimming naked that is followed by the added bonus of no wet sticky clinging fabric that takes an age to dry. So it is the same feeling once you go sailing – unclothed. I have to be frank here – I am not talking about sailing to the Fastnet Rock, or in global latitudes that would freeze you solid. Sailing where the sea is azure blue, the breeze is warm and dry, and that the sun shines from rising to setting are the kind of places to sail. Then you have found perfect naturist sailing conditions. The freedom of naturism marries perfectly with being blown by warm breezes freely over clear blue waters.
We discovered the very same perfect combination last year whilst staying at the beautifully maintained resort of Vassaliki Naturist Club, on Kefalonia, an island that is a jewel in the Ionian Sea. One of the excursions was for a day’s naturist yacht trip. The trip sounded nice and our fellow holidaymakers spoke highly of their experiences. With other guests from our resort we embarked on the stunning 38 foot yacht, ‘Ino’, out of Argostoli, a beautiful port on the south west corner of the island. Even before fully leaving harbour we were seeing huge loggerhead turtles swimming just below the surface of the crystal clear waters. That day we cut through gentle waves under the power of taught white sails to a deserted ‘tropical’ isle where we swam and snorkelled in crystal waters, and dined on simple greek cuisine and wines. The simplicity of the whole day harmonised with everything we love about naturism. We were hooked. Sailing naked was in our blood.
The same holiday we were drawn to taking an exhilarating RIB day – seemingly skimming between stunning bays, punctuated with lunch the most rustic taverna built and lazy sunning moments on beaches far from the madding crowd. There seems to be a certain euphoria brought about by speeding naked in a powerful boat – or is it just raw adrenaline?
Another opportunity came our way to sail naked in January this year. Thankfully it wasn’t in the cold of the Northern Hemisphere. It was in the winter sun of Cape Town’s stunning Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. We sailed on a sleek white catamaran owned by friends we had made at the new Vasnat naturist spa resort. A retreat of stunning quality in the elegant South African Winelands region. On this occasion we saw penguins swimming along side our super smart vessel, making flashing dives into huge shoals of small fish feet below the shining surface. We saw seals, their heads bobbing with curiosity, so close we could see their huge round black shining eyes as they watched us glide by. Unusually for the time of year, only yards from our bow, we were privileged with the iconic sight of a Southern Rights’ whale tail upend and slip below the ink black deep water as it made its way through silent depths. Some days you know you are blessed – sailing on those waters, warmed by a distant southern sun, we knew it doesn’t get much better.
So what do you do when you have discovered your love of this divine combination? Well, our answer was to go sailing for longer. Day trips are an awesome fillip – but sailing naked for a week with a ‘crew’ of likeminded people becomes an apex in naturist holiday-making. Once again we returned to Kefalonia and journeyed from our naturist resort base of Vassaliki to Fiskado in the north of the island where we boarded the ‘Tove’ – a 42 foot, six cabin luxury catamaran. This magnificent sleekly double wedged piece of luxury marine boat building took us around the blue seas that divide Kefalonia, Lefkas, Ithaka and mainland Greece. We sailed with our very able skipper Mark Taylor (owner of Vigla Natura), and his hardworking most amiable hostess Annie, and six other ‘crew’ (our fellow holidaying guests). The popularity of this sailing week was evident with guests joining from the UK, Israel and South Africa. We sailed together to quaint traditional harbours, isolated white beached coves and across deep blue channels legendarily sailed by Jason and his Argonaughts. We BBQ’d on curved marble white stone coves, snorkelled over tantalising green dancing sea grasses, and excitedly grabbed for our cameras when a pod of dolphins chose to chase their silver prey beneath the bows of our trusty two white hulls. And not only are the days wonderful but the nights are beautiful – to sit up on deck, anchored in a far off cove with your fellow travellers, waxing lyrical as the heavens slowly spin above is a magical experience. A week of this leaves the heart full and the spirit re-charged.
Special to naked sailing in the Ionian is that you share those resplendent waters with a special community of yacht loving transient neighbours. Many are ahead of you in realising the joys of being naked on their well manicured sailing vessels. It is not an infrequent occasion to see fellow sailors in naturist garb. We’re back to that perfect combination again! However, those evenings spent in port had to revert to traditional textile coverings, that were only to be cast aside moments after sailing away from those old quaint sailing refuges.
Those long warm June days spent on the Ionian Sea, shared with fascinating people who had travelled from around the world to be there, gave us an appreciation of the feeling of freedom and accord that we have only truly experienced with sailing naked. We had felt warm winds blow over us. We had swam in waters that can only be reached by boat. We had travelled with people who like kindred spirits had made that discovery that sailing and naturism are a very special combination – one of those experiences that every person who is comfortable in their own skin should really add to their ‘bucket-list’.