Was it only two months ago when I declared this?
I really have no excuse, other than my blasted cowardice.
The intent was to go skinny dipping. I’ve always wanted to go, and I already packed my swimsuit and sent it to Utah. It was 80 degrees in St. Augustine this afternoon. I dug around and found some black bottoms I could swim in, and I also put on a sports bra and a t-shirt and jeans.
The non-interstate way to the beach is so much more scenic. The first stretch of FL-16 heading east features cattle grazing pasture on the north side and banana trees along the fenceline on the south side. A1A toward the beach suggests a safe and lazy 30mph, which is slow enough to notice all the attractions and fast enough to escape the tourists’ pull.
Anastasia Beach is a state park. It’s clean, and on this December weekday afternoon, it was relatively quiet.
I planned on jumping in the ocean, getting neck-deep, and removing the sports bra and bottoms. I looked at the ocean. I took off my t-shirt and jeans. This is all you’ll get:
At the park entrance they posted high tide sometime around 6:40pm, so when I got to the beach I noticed the waves:
I walked out to the water in what basically looked like a (relatively modest) bikini. The waves rolled in, and I felt their particularly strong outward pull. This was why I didn’t go out very far. As some of you may know, I’m not a strong swimmer, and while in theory I know how to get out of a rip current, I didn’t want to test it.
Also, the cold water made me shy. I stood knee-deep for 15 minutes, trying not to freeze.
Then, I just dove in.
Then, as usual, the water was bracing for only a few minutes, and it helped that the air above the water was still warm. Still, the waves were high and I stayed pretty close to the shoreline. No one else swam. A few strollers passed, but I ignored them and dismissed my self-consciousness of my near nakedness. Because I look great. According to me.
I splashed around a bit and body-surfed for another half-hour, then I decided to dry off and warm up. And, get dressed.
Don’t ask how I got dressed in the middle of a not-quite deserted beach during a Florida winter.
As I left the beach, I noticed the flags indicating beach conditions:
Needless to say, I would not have gone in the water had I seen the warning flags first.
So, to recap:
1. I could have been arrested for indecent exposure (though I was very, very, very careful).
2. I could have DIED, either by drowning in a vicious riptide or by a shark during snacktime.
My flimsy little excuse came in handy.
Kids, do NOT try this at home.
More photos at flickr.