Undersea Outfitters,Tubing, and Sykesville’s Fine Tradition of Naked Swimming

by Jack White on July 14, 2012

Okay, I’ll get to the naked swimming in a minute, but first, did you notice the big black tube hanging out down Main Street?

Undersea Outfitters brings tubing to Sykesville

Well, you can rent that thing, or several, for ten bucks a day and take a two hour ride down the river, no kidding, courtesy of Undersea Outfitters.

They just moved here from Finksburg a month ago, and although their focus is scuba diving and not river rafting, they’ll set you up with a tube, show you where to get started, and off you’ll go for a couple hours of riding the Patapsco. Fully clothed, of course.

The Days of Naked Swimming

Now for the naked swimming. I’ve been interviewing Warren Dorsey, who used to live up the hill in the part of town called “the Bottoms,” where the “colored” folks lived, and he says a long time ago when things were simple and Sykesville was a totally segregated community, there was only one place where the black boys and the white boys mingled.

There were three swimming holes in the river, and in one, the blacks and whites swam together. Warren doesn’t know why there was an exception for that when everything else was either whites or black only, but I can tell you why it was only boys.

Because they swam naked. Warren doesn’t have a good explanation for that, either, except that, well, they didn’t have much in the way of clothes, and certainly didn’t have bathing suits, so it was better to swim in your skin than get your only summer clothes all wet.

So put your bathing suit on, get a tube from Undersea Outfitters, and ride the river. It’s a hell of a lot cleaner than it was in the days when Warren Dorsey slipped off his pants and mingled with the white boys, and most likely you won’t come across any naked swimmers of any color.

But you never know.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

JD July 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

THis is very cool. Glad to see a new busines on Main Street. Where is the start/end of the tube trip on the river? Some parts still seem pretty skeevy.

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