Carellin Brooks' earliest childhood memory ofWreck Beach is mostly of the arduous trek of four hundred odd steps that leads down to the beach. An inquisitive and adventurous 18- year-old, she later undertook the mission to find Wreck Beach but success eluded her: she walked around the point from Spanish Banks, getting as far as Tower Beach. Discovering and exploring what she now considers to be the best nude beach in the world would have to wait.
But not for long. Upon returning from England where she completed a Master of Studies degree in English, she rediscovered what it was that had intrigued her about the beach in the first place: the unbridled idealism nestled within its natural beauty. Wreck Beach is one of Vancouver's least commercialized beaches, where concession stands, manmade swimimng pools and toilets with plumbing are distant memories. It is this fantastic purity that continues to fascinate her, she says. The first time Brooks shed her clothes and swam in the nude, she recalls, was a "mystical experience. The day was perfect, sunny, glowing. It was heaven." Going to the beach is a respite from the fastpaced, commercial lifestyle that's packaged and sold to us daily. Lying in the hot sun, cooling off in the refreshing ocean, reliving the utopian moment of serenity, celebrating the landscape: these are only some of the experiences that she says whisk one's soul away from thechaos of city life.
Brooks considers herself representative of the average beachgoer. Although she is a great supporter of the work done by the Wreck Beach Preservation Society, her love affair with the beach is more personal than ideological. She visits the beach as often as time permits, simply to enjoy. Her favourite spot is the main beach because access to the ocean for swimming is best.What else remains to be added to the Wreck Beach experience forBrooks? Now that Wreck Beach the book is complete, and she'sattended the annual Polar Bear swim on New Year's Day, she has a new goal: to visit the beach each month of the year.
Brooks currently resides in Vancouver where she is an instructor at the University of British Columbia.