Ok, I see that you say that there is a secret
nude beach in the BVI, either Tortola or Virgin Gorda with the initials
SB. My wife and I enjoy nude beaching. Would it be ok to tell me
which beach it is? We are traveling there in January.
Tannin' In Our Birthday
If I tell you where the secret beach is, it won't
be a secret! However, there is one on the North Shore of Tortola, that
requires parking and hiking a good bit to get there, so pack lots of icy cold
drinks in a backpack and work up a sweat.
While it's fashionable to produce many
out-of-wedlock children in the BVI, as well as acquire numerous lovers, going
nude or topless (for women) at the beaches in the BVI is sadly, frowned upon and
heavily discouraged and probably illegal, though currently we have no beach
patrols. I say this because, it's FUN to swim naked and it's FUN to tan all over
and not get swimming suit zits on your unmentionables, but then again, I am a
real nut. I used to live on a sailboat for years, back before the area was
massively discovered, and the boats were few, and we simply sailed naked, once
we left the harbors and usually just donned a teeny bikini upon entering the
next harbor, so as not to offend the islanders who frown upon nudity.
The SB, actually refers to Salomon Bay Beach on St
John (which is often misspelled Solomon). Back in the dark ages, I used to
anchor on my mooring, in Cruz Bay , St John, US Virgin Islands, aboard my
boat. I had some business on St John and had to traverse there often.
The closest beach was Salomon, which can only be reached by dinghy or
hiking trail, the trail being about 30-40 minutes walking from Cruz Bay. So
me and my other anchored neighbors often traversed by dinghy to Salomon and swam
and tanned au naturale.
I do not know if this beach is still nude or not,
I haven't been there in awhile. I do know the US Park Service periodically
harassed folks there and at one point was issuing tickets, which largely went
unpaid, as folks don't seem to carry ID and such to go swim at a nude
beach. I used to just hop in my dinghy with nothing on but a sarong and a
straw hat and the requisite gold jewelry, zip over, swim, use the sarong to dry
off and redress then zip back. It was a glorious time, I was younger,
thinner, lived the carefree life of a sailing mermaid, my hair was sun
streaked and I sported no tan lines. (Ah, to have those wonderful
It was at times, a funny feeling, to see all your
neighbors naked and vice versa. We were like a secret club and in bars or
restaurants, during a boring lull, we might say loudly, "Oh, I didn't
recognize you, with your clothes on!" which certainly livened things up
and for the non-nude-beach goers, sure made them curious what we had been up to,
especially if this comment was directed towards another couple. Often the
intended might respond, likewise, such as "Gee, you actually look pretty good,
even with your clothes on."
I remember one hot muggy August day, my neighbors
and I were having an it's-too-hot-to-work party at the nude
beach. Many businesses were closed for vacations, many like me were self
employed and construction companies shut down early, due to the heat, so we had
a great party going on, as word spread and more arrived at the beach.
Dinghies were anchored out with coolers of
cold drinks and snacks, as word had spread, early that morning, around town,
that a bring-your-own party was being formed at the nude beach. Many of us
were naked, save for our straw hats and gold jewelry. While we were mostly
adults, a few naked children ran around or built sandcastles, a tiny baby slept
in the shade, in a sandpit, hollowed out by mom and lined with a
sarong. A few topless women were wearing teeny tiny
G-strings. It was definitely in vogue, then, to wear tons of gold
jewelry and a big straw hat, at the nude beach. Some of these people
had body piercing's, in the um, strangest places...um, that I shall
leave up to your imagination, so as not to offend any of my gentle
Cameras were a definite no-no and not to be used
at all. The bushes resembled a yard sale in progress, as we often draped our
clothes, sarongs, towels, and backpacks on them, to save them from getting too
sandy. I used to show folks how to play a game called Ouri
(Ew-rah-wee) which has numerous spellings depending on where the ancient
game originated. It's a pits and pebbles game consisting of 48-60
pebbles and 12 pits dug in the sand, clockwise and markers for each player, such
as unique twigs or shells. 2-4 players can play.
It became a popular shade game, at the nude
beach, because you could gather the game pieces from nature and make your
own board right in the sand. It's an ancient game under numerous spellings with
roots from Africa or the Caribbean or Europe or Asia, apparently pits and pebble
games were some of the earliest games ever.
At this time, maybe half the folks were in the
ocean and half were on the sand, sunning, or limin' or playing games or munching
on snacks and drinking. It was a friendly crowd, most all were boat owners,
maybe a handful had hiked through the forest to arrive at the beach.
Occasionally, some tourists would hike the trail
to the beach, apparently not informed of the clothing-optional status, and they
would seemingly slam on brakes and then have a little private discussion,
whether to stay or go, while taking side long glances and peeks and often they
retreated back up the trail. One day, this couple arrived and had a long
conversation and suddenly the lady starts stripping off her shorts and shirt and
then peeled off her bathing suit, heading for the water naked. Her husband stood
on shore in his shoes and socks and shorts and T-shirt and backpack and baseball
cap, and sunglasses, screaming at her to put her clothes back on and come
back while she merrily swam towards the opposite end of the beach leaving him
there to yell at no one. He sat down on a big rock and tapped his foot nervously
while watching his wife swim back and fourth and giving the rest of us terrified
The beach itself is splendid with no commercial
activity, lots of palm trees and sea grapes for shade. We were proud to
keep the beach spotless from garbage and when we left, our dinghies and
backpacks, often sported garbage we had retrieved from the bushes, but in
time, it became the cleanest beach on St John and we regulars, were proud of
that as many of us had worked tirelessly, hauling off anonymous garbage that
just appeared out of nowhere. It was a battle we fought often, and often
All of a sudden, on this particular day, out of
the bushes sprung 2 Park Rangers in uniforms, toting guns and ticket
books. They began yelling at us to get dressed. Instead, we all fled
for the ocean, up to our necks, and stood there with our straw hats on, holding
aloft a cold drink, in one hand and rapidly discussed and decided to have
a united front against the Park Rangers. It was just too dang hot and we were
having a lazy peaceful day at the beach, amongst friends. Now the party poopers
No one would budge out of the water and we
assembled in closer, to show what a large group we had that day. The beach
was now empty save for the hapless pregnant lady, cowering in the bushes and
fortuitously, the rangers had not noticed her.
Each day, of late, in the early afternoon, she and
her husband would dinghy over to the beach and spend the rest of the day waiting
on baby. He would string up a hammock between two shade trees. She would often
nap there, or lounge with a book, while hubby swam laps in the ocean. We used to
joke about how their baby was likely to be born at the beach one day. She was a
tiny woman, hopelessly big with belly, in the final stages and baby was due
any day now.
She was sound asleep in her hammock, with this
mammoth baby belly, draped by a book, she was previously reading, when this raid
happened upon us so suddenly. Her hubby, already being in the water, had
stayed. By the time she woke up and rolled out of her hammock, she
was the lone person left on the beach and she was naked. She crab-crawled in the
bushes and hid. I remember pointing and motioning for her to move, she was so
huge, we could see her belly peaking out, and she was trying to retreat further
back into the bush and go undetected.
For about 20 minutes, the Park Rangers paced
the beach, screaming at us to get out and get dressed and come get our tickets.
On this particular day, there was close to 80-100 of us at the
beach, when usually 20 would have been considered a goodly crowd, as
most days sported a dozen or less beach goers. Many folks didn't like to
hike the long trail, so mostly it was the boat owners and dinghy owners that
frequented the beach. Most only came for an hour or two. I made it a point to go
nearly everyday for an hour of swimming, between work, whenever possible.
We had a large raft of dinghies anchored out
and tethered together, so as not to take up precious beach space. We held
our protest while the Park Rangers continued to yell and gesture at us to get
out of the water.
We volleyed comments at them, such as "We're not
bothering anybody. There is no Federal law against nude swimming"
(there wasn't) and so on. Then we pretended to be deaf and would
yell "What? What was that?"
The Rangers came down to the water's edge and
screamed at us some more, waving their guns and ticket books at us. We discussed
amongst ourselves, whether or not they would really shoot anyone and decided
they wouldn't take a chance. That would sure be really bad publicity, naked
unarmed swimmers shot by Park Rangers. But the mere
appearance of their waving guns, was enough to terrify any of us from leaving
our group which was now pretty tightly packed as we stood neck deep in the
ocean. No one was swimming, a few small children were held aloft on their
parent's shoulders, puzzled by the Rangers. To small children, nudity means
nothing and most prefer their birthday suit anyhow, so running around naked on a
beach full of other naked folks, just seemed like a normal day in the life of a
Caribbean boat child.
Someone yelled "Leave us alone! Go chase
some donkeys!" as at that time, in the news, the Rangers were complaining
the park had too many donkeys and were contemplating shooting them, which was
another uproar in the newspapers at the time, no one wanted to be hiking the
National Park while crazed Rangers were out shooting donkeys. It was the 90's
and St John was experiencing nutty times.
One Ranger stepped forward to the water's edge,
looked at the guy who had yelled at him and said "What's your name?" and opened
up his ticket book and pulled a pen out of his pocket. I could see he had
a pocket protector and pens in assorted colors. Let me tell you, when you see a
bureaucrat with assorted colored pens in his pocket, and especially if he wears
a pocket protector, you are in for some deep doo-doo should you cross his ire.
We murmured amongst ourselves to hold our front.
Someone started yelling "Let us be! Let us be!" and that became the
chant. So now we have 80+ naked sailors in straw hats in the water chanting "Let
us be!" over and over. In the background was the loud rumbling noise of a
speeding ferry, no doubt, late again, zipping behind us, a bit too close
for comfort, probably skimming over to take a look and see why 80+ people were
huddled in the water against the backdrop of an empty beach, save for the 2
Meanwhile, the pregnant lady had taken this
opportunity, to scurry out of the bushes, grab her sarong, dangling from a sea
grape tree, and scramble back in the bushes to dress. Have you ever
seen a 9 month, pregnant naked woman try to do anything fast? It
was comedy at its strangest and a few of us giggled and felt bad for her, being
the lone person left ashore.
The man at the water's edge was screaming and
shaking his penned hand at us "I want you out of the water NOW and I want
your names!" His partner had now joined him at the water's edge and about
that time, a huge wake from the passing ferry slapped us in the water,
drenching some of our straw hats, knocking others off and slapping salt
water, into some of the drink cups held aloft by many.
Then, the wake slammed the beach,
splattering the Rangers with salt water up to their thighs. They ran from the water's edge as if seriously injured
and began studying their shoes and pants. They might have been cursing, we
couldn't hear them cause we were roaring with laughter and retrieving hats that
had been knocked off by this sudden wake and bemoaning ruined
A few moments go by and finally the Rangers
retreated and headed back up the trail, no doubt back to headquarters in search
of dry clothes and reinforcements.
We cheered and yelled, you could probably hear us
all the way to Cruz Bay. The party continued without further harassment and it
was close to sunset before we finally broke up and headed home. Everyone wanted
to keep a large crowd around, we felt like we had finally won against the
It is one of my most memorable days I ever
had at that particular beach. Usually it was underpopulated and
peaceful and the Rangers were too lazy to hike out and harass us. This was years
ago, in the 90's.
The following week, a sign appeared on the beach,
a huge ugly sign, marring up the natural beauty of the place. It read "NO NUDE
BATHING". You can well imagine, that sailors are often a handy lot and
within days, the sign had been shortened to "NUDE BATHING".
There after began the battle of the signs, but
that is another story for another day.
I have no idea what the beach status is these days
now for Salomon. I have heard rumors that the Park Rangers won over, in recent
years, by building a permanent post close to the beach, so they could
write tickets and chase off people and that the place sported huge ugly
signs. But this is just rumors I have heard, and not to be set out as
In the BVI there are no nude beaches and that is
the official word (but if you find that secret trail on the North Shore of
Tortola, you might just get lucky!)