A Chance Encounter at Land’s End, Hello Nudity!

This past Saturday I joined my friend Jess and her friend Mike (the former, almost-carny turned analyst) for a “hike” in the San Francisco Presidio. We wound our way along roads, detoured closed paths, and picked wild raspberries before coming to a cliff that overlooked Baker Beach. Ah the memories. (Giant stone heart anyone? Didn’t think so, so let’s ignore them.)

From our vantage point we could see people playing with dogs, which (as we wandered east) turned into NAKED people playing with dogs, and then (farther east) naked people taking pictures of each other…

We worked our way down to the beach and scrambled over the rocks on our meandering trek to Whoknowswhere. The little coves became less populated the more we passed. At least, that’s what I thought. Eventually I began to notice little walls that had been constructed from driftwood and stone. I was scrutinizing one as I passed when all of a sudden a naked man sat up from behind it. He looked around, didn’t seem to notice us, and then laid back down to continue what I assume to be an activity no more sinister than sunbathing. Still, the elaborate measures for privacy unnerved me. It seemed there was a naked man (or two) behind every one of these blinds, and there were many. It didn’t seem as if we were intruding however, so we endeavored on.

The walls became less frequent and eventually disappeared altogether as the strip of beach between water and cliff continued to narrow. We were soon timing quick sprints between coves while the surf was low to avoid soaking the inadequate shoes we had worn (Mike came prepared with leather dress shoes). Despite his attire, and I attribute it to his carny background, he was quickly dancing over ocean slicked stones at a rate that I envied. I’m usually the nimble one, so this was greatly to his credit.

Before we knew it, we had wound up at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. There was a lone fisherman consistently testing his skill by reeling in various forms of seaweed. He didn’t have a bucket with him, so I can only assume this was his intent, and not to catch fish. His presence had the same affect on me (i would imagine) as running into someone in the middle of the desert. He gave us a nod as we approached as if it wasn’t strange to run into someone in this deserted place. I think we would have received the same reception had we been wearing clown costumes or full suits of armor.

We were looking for a way up when it became apparent that somehow we had wound up on the wrong side of the No Trespassing signs, fences barring any easy return to civilization. We thought about climbing the fences, but the razor wire didn’t look friendly. We asked a Ranger to open a gate, pleading ignorance, but it seemed as if she ran off to tell on us. We didn’t stick around to get in trouble. In an attempt to circumvent our situation, we pressed ourselves against one of the fences and shimmied across a ledge no more than 4 inches wide and precariously covered in slimy algae. Waves crashed on jagged rocks 40 feet below us as we realized there was no way around. We had to go back.

Defeated, but back on stable ground, we decided to at least take in the view. We turned toward the ocean and marveled at what we saw. There, against the horizon we saw a sailing vessel to rival all others. The setting sun gleamed off its chromed cabin and threw a halo of light against it’s three, snow white sails, a black bird of prey emblazoned upon the center one.

“What is that?” I wondered out loud. I was startled to hear a gravely voice return an answer.

Aint she a beaut?

Ain't she a beaut?

“That there is the Maltese Falcon.” Startled, I swiveled to my left to see who had obliged my rhetorical utterance. There, standing right next to me, was a naked man with a thick white beard and a sailors cap. “She’s so tall they had to wait for low tide so as to clear the bridge. $150 million it cost to make her. Word is a single person could sail her ’round the world on their own. Practically steers herself. VC from Silicon Valley had her built in Europe. She’s just now finally coming home.”

“That’s incredible,” I said in awe, and there, under the shadow of the Golden Gate, Jess, Mike, myself and the naked sea captain watched in silence as she passed us by, a tear forming in the corner of his weathered eye.

He wiped it away and said “I just came down to watch her pass. You might want to leave before the marines with M16s show up. They’ve been all over this place since 9/11.”

We made haste.

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2 Comments on “A Chance Encounter at Land’s End, Hello Nudity!”

  1. missmarymary Says:

    ha! i remember being surprised by the naked on that beach too. it’s all families and bbqs and then BAM naked dudes. a little startling.

    re: maltese falcon – my friend has been sending me links for months about her. you can read the log on their website for where they’ve been/where they are going etc. the masts are so big they can supposedly sail WITHOUT THE SAILS. crazy.

  2. Al_Pal Says:

    Whoa, intense! Crazy ship and nude beaches…

    I decided your twitter stream was interesting and added you. You find me thru noon8?


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