The first time I got naked in public I had more to be nervous about than most people. Sure, the idea of taking off my cloths in front of others seemed both titillating and a little bit terrifying. More than that, however, I was going to a place that had recently been in the news - in fact, it was the news stories that made me aware of the place - because people were being arrested as a means of cracking down on public nudity. The most frightening part was the fact that it was also a gay cruising spot. And, while deep down somewhere, I knew I was gay, I had never really faced it or admitted it to myself. Going to the North end of Honeymoon Island in the the Spring of 1981 was a exciting, intriguing and downright terrifying adventure.
Honeymoon Island is a breathtaking State Park that contains some of the last remaining pristine wilderness on the west coast of Florida. Just a short causeway hike, bike ride or drive from the quaint little town of Dunedin (just north of Clearwater), Honeymoon Island is part of a long chain of sand keys that run all along the Gulf Coast. East to West it is very narrow. North to South it is quite long. There is a beautiful and relatively quiet public beach on the south end and even a dog-friendly beach at the Southern tip.
From the public beach if you hike North the beach becomes quite remote. The north-most end of the island is an extensive sand spit that shifts and changes shape with each high tide. In the early 80's the North-most end of the island could only be accessed with a short swim, except in the most extreme of low tides, when the water was only ankle deep. Past that natural water barrier park and police vehicles could not generally go. So, past that point is where the nudists could be found.
I drove my beat up old Honda Civic to the public parking area. I was barefoot and wore only an old and ratty pair of very loose and very short cut-off jeans. Underneath the shorts, I was commando. My heart was pounding as I hiked from the public beach north. When I reached the water barrier, I paused, knowing that whatever I would find was on the other side.
After swimming the short channel to the North end of the Island, I kept my shorts on. At first, I saw no one around. I did not feel comfortable taking off my shorts until I saw my first naked person. It didn't take long before that happened.
I simply unsnapped the waist, unzipped the fly and the shorts dropped right off. The sensation of the Sun and the breeze on my whole body felt amazing! My attraction to nudism was like instant love.
I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Island, swimming in the water and chatting with the people I met. I was also keeping an eye and ear out for boats, (I was told by the others there that law enforcement was using boats to get to the North end to make the arrests). I had found heaven... the Sun... the ocean... the breeze... the wildlife... and, yes, the naked men. I had fall end in love with all of it, and I had come to terms with the fact that, yes, I was gay. I also knew that if being gay could be like THIS, then, it was more than OK. It was great!