Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Family Outing You Don’t Necessarily Want Your Kids to Write About in Their Journal on Monday

Last Saturday was a glorious day in the Lower Mainland. There was a brilliant sun in the sky bearing down its warm rays. A gentle breeze was blowing, and the leaves were falling slowly from the trees. Since we were in the city anyway for “The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up” we thought we’d spend the day exploring Vancouver.

After a few hours on the beach at Spanish Banks, we hit Kitsilano. We wandered, people watched, and drank smoothies on a patio. It was lovely.

Mike and I had long wanted to check out the UBC campus. It’s located near Kits, so we thought it was the perfect day to do some exploring. We drove onto the campus and headed toward the ocean, expecting that there would be some awesome views from the shore.

As we neared the shore we searched for both parking and a walkway or trail that would take us down onto the beach. We kept seeing glimpses of water through the forest but no clear way to get down where we wanted to go. Finally a parking lot appeared. We paid the parking and started to walk along the sidewalk hoping for an opening or clearing that would take us down to the water.

After walking for a few blocks we ran into a large group of students dripping wet and carrying their skim-boards. We asked how we could get down to the water and were told it was just up ahead. As we approached the clearing to the water, I heard Mike say, “Wreak Beach. Isn’t that the nudist beach we read about?” Yep. It sure is.

Mike and I had a quick pow-wow that lasted all of 15 seconds which consisted of us assuming that since it was the end of September and only moderately warm out the odds of running into a bunch of naked people down below was fairly slim. Plus, we’d just PAID FOR PARKING and walked a few blocks, and hadn’t even seen what we came for. Get ready kids, we’re going to Wreck Beach.

The way down to the beach wasn’t for the faint of body. There were 500 stairs leading down to the famous beach. This provided us with ample time to set the scene for the girls and enlighten them with what could possibly be awaiting them at the bottom of the stairs. None of them seemed too concerned, and again, we were not expecting a huge crowd below.

When a woman going down inquired to Mike about whether this was our first time going to Wreak Beach and “you do know this is a nude beach, right?” we could have re-evaluated but by that time we were 300 stairs into it and we could see the glorious view below, so there was no turning back.

When we finally descended the stairs we were witness to the most beautiful view. Skim boarders were still out on the water and the sky was clear enough to allow us to see Vancouver Island.

As soon as we finished glancing at the view, it was hard not to glance at the other view of the naked persuasion. We hung back near the stairs to save the girls unnecessary trauma but laughed and talked about all we were seeing. Only about 10 percent of the beach were in their birthday suits, so it definitely wasn’t overwhelming.

I told Mike I thought he should go and photograph the view to which he replied that he didn’t think cameras were well received at a nude beach. Finally he relented and walked out to the water. He was very relieved when Sasha willingly wanted to go with him to take the edge off.

Interestingly, Wreak Beach was the busiest and most populated beach we’d visited in B.C. this far. You’d expect buff and young bodies to parade around a nude beach, but all the ones we saw were well into middle age and proudly strutted their stuff, wrinkles, rolls and all. In a funny way, there is something kind of freeing about visiting a place like that. Shame didn’t exist for those people on the beach that day. Now this doesn’t mean we’ll become regulars there, but there are lessons to be learned from every experience and we took some home with us that day.


  1. Now that is making great memories!!!! Love it.

  2. I really wish I'd been a witness to your nudism discussion. ha

    I felt the same freeing feeling when we visited the beaches of Spain. I didn't feel so free that I took off my bathing suit but I did admire the people that could. There is no judgment on a nudist beach. A body is a body is a body.

  3. So glad I "came by". Would have loved to "be there" with you. Great story!

  4. That'll take the sting out of those special classes they have for the kids at school these days. I fully expect your children to excell in biology, anatomy, and psychology.

    carry on, Penners. I'm so impressed with all your explorations, and love to come along for the rides.