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How often have you heard naturists utter those words? Well, I heard them again in New Zealand recently. In fact it seems to be a standard phrase every time I visit this beautiful country. New Zealand naturists have the luxury of a wonderful summer climate for clothe-free activities and the vitality and friendliness to enjoy it themselves and share it with others, such as this frequent visitor from "across the ditch."
My experiences began with the annual ‘Nudie Foodies’ cruise and dinner hosted and organised by Kay Hannam and Brian Williams at Wai Natur Retreat in the Wairau Valley, which is located at the northern end of the South Island. Kay and Brian have the unique ability to always have a smile on their faces, even under extreme pressures from guests and unforeseen circumstances.
The 2011 Nudie Foodies attracted around 70 people from all points of the globe. They came from Britain, Holland, Germany, and Australia and of course numerous Kiwi locals. By the Friday afternoon most had arrived and settled into Wai Natur’s lush garden setting. It was obvious that everyone was here for the same reason – to have one heck of a great weekend! I managed to catch up with so many friends, who included former Kiakea B&B owners, Pat and Dave McCormack. Pat and Dave had retired from their B&B business after more than a decade of entertaining guests north of Cairns. They were now travelling extensively and enjoying as many naturist venues as possible.
Came Saturday morning and everyone was busy readying for the daylong cruise along the spectacular Pelorus Sounds out of Havelock. Ozzie, our skipper from previous years, was on board again along with his crew ready to entertain and transport us along the Sound to our lunchtime destination. Although our "friends" the wasps were once again there to greet us at lunch, no one seemed too perturbed and their presence didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the scenery and opportunity to swim in the "cool" waters. One of our guests, Nick Lowe – ironman superstar - who had again, just the previous weekend completed the gruelling "Coast to Coast" multi-event challenge, demonstrated his iron constitution by being the first to dive into the water. As the chilly water didn’t seem to affect his ability to swim, others soon followed his lead. However, the "blue" tinge to their naked bodies did give a hint to the temperature of the water.
As it turned out on this particular day, the tide was set to record its lowest measure for the year, so Ozzie was keen to return to Havelock before he ran out of water on the shallow entrance to the harbour. The announced time for "up anchor" came and passed but still three of our number had not returned from a "casual" hike around the Sound. We sent out our quickest emissary, Possum (who has a reputation for speed and agility through the timber), to try to find the three lost souls. Half an hour later he returned with the three "sheepish" lads "wagging their tails behind them" amidst plenty of ribbing from those waiting on board. I won’t defame them in this story, but needless to say their nationalities included a Pom an Aussie and a Kiwi – you know who you are Keith, Greg and Murray!
The reason why many on board were keen to get going was the promise of a swim in a secluded cove on our return travels. Ozzie quickly re-calculated his travelling times and tidal levels and announced that despite our late departure from our lunch mooring there was still a "wee" time for our anticipated swim – "Hurrah’s echoed through the vessel!"
The swim was all it promised and again beaming smiles appeared from the water as many took this unique opportunity to swim in the crystal clear waters of the Pelorus Sounds.
With just centimetres of water beneath the vessel we managed to "slip" over the narrows to the entrance to Havelock Harbour and once we docked everyone then quickly made their way back to Wai Natur for the promised feast to follow.
The following day again dawned bright and sunny and the second half of our fabulous weekend began. The Sunday itinerary included a choice of a nude game of golf on the neighbouring Wairau Valley golf course, or a coach tour of some of the famous wineries that dot this pretty valley.
I chose the golf and joined 24 others for what was a truly unique experience. If you have never played golf in the nude, then you do not know what you are missing! As the sun shone down on our naked backs the nudies swung, swore and sipped their way around the 18 holes in a 4-person Ambrose event. Needless to say, we had the whole course to ourselves and even though the six groups were sometimes separated by hundreds of metres on different fairways the laughter and giggles ringed around the course. What a hoot! There certainly weren’t any "Tigers" or "Sharks" amongst this group. More the case of "Tigger" or "Winnie" amongst this lot!
At the 19th hole presentations, the pathetic scores for the event didn’t surprise anyone and it was more a case of who was the best of the worst, when it came to the winners. But as is always the case Kay Hannam had outdone herself in gathering support from local businesses and community groups. There were prizes for everyone. In addition thanks to both the golf club and the naked golfers a tidy sum was donated to the local Wairau Valley school pool appeal. So everyone came out a winner!
As we packed up to all go our separate ways the happy faces bade their farewells to catch up again soon, at least next year, if not before.
Really: "How good is this lifestyle?"