80 days in Blue Lagoon. The Story!
There are moments in life that you start to appreciate small things and be thankful for everything you have. Stefanos Damianos and his friends have certainly lived unique moments during their 2,5 months stay at the isolated Blue Lagoon.
Last week we saw the action video 80 days in the desert… here comes the story written by Stefanos!
Spend as less money as possible and get as much sailing time as possible. That was the idea that brought me to Dahab for the winter. But winter wind in Dahab was rather disappointing during my 1,5 month stay there. When there was wind, it was super light for 5.3 outside the bay. Not any conditions that would help me to improve fast.
If i wanted to get some proper training i had to do something. I had already heard of some Estonian surfers that had spent autumn in Blue Lagoon. Local Bedouin windsurfer Mohammed Aid, told me that the wind there is always stronger than Dahab and when there is even no wind in Dahab, one can still sail with 5.0 in Blue Lagoon.
The decision was made and Mohammed would accompany me for the next 2,5 months in the Lagoon. Soon after, i contacted Tony Mottus to learn that he was also coming together with Christofer Kalk on the same day that i was planning to set off, so we decided to go together.
There are 3 ways of getting to the Lagoon. The most comfortable way is to pay a small fishing boat that can take you direct to the Lagoon after an 1,5 hour ride. This can be done only when the tide is high and the sea pretty quiet.
Another possibility is to organise a pick-up car. The pick-up can take a lot of equipment and one person but has to go all the way around the mountains to the north of Dahab and then through them in a super bumpy ride. The car needs 2,5 hoursl to cover the distance. If there are more than one person, they will have to have another car take them to the Blue Hole and from there walk 2 hours to the Lagoon.
The third way is camel. You have to get to Blue Hole, find a camel, handle a price and load the camel properly. It will take a bit more than an hour to walk to Abu Galum and from there you will have to take a pick-up to the Lagoon.
If there is just one person going alone then camel is the cheapest way but for more people to share the fare, its better to put the equipment on the car and walk or take the boat.
Life in the Lagoon
By the time you arrive at the Lagoon, your state of mind changes mode completely. There is nothing for you to worry about, nothing to distract you, nothing to steal your time, no other place you need to go. It is just you and the nature and you have it all. Wind and water. And you have it almost always .
There is a local thermic that provides wind to the spot- when there is no wind in the area around- and even stronger when there is. One day we had to go back to Dahab and it was windy for 4.5. As we were walking away from the Lagoon, wind gradually dropped till there was no wind at all 1,5 km away. So no need to check any forecast here. Usually there is a period of 10 to 15 days of wind and then wind might drop or come from south for 1 or 2 days and then start again.
The Blue Lagoon experience differs depending on how long one stays there. Thats because, once you are there, the closest source of food and other goods is 10 km away. Going there for 3-4 days is pretty easy . You cannot miscalculate the food you will need. But when you go there for 2,5 months and can only afford going back to Dahab for food once every 3-4 weeks, that is a different story.
The only way to survive that long is go Bedouin style. Buy the stuff they buy and prepare it the way they do it. The main ingredients: Flour, onions, canned beans, oil, vegetables, extra salted white cheese that doesn’t need fridge, pasta, rice, potatoes, tea, sugar and spices.
The biggest challenge is to learn how to make the 2 types of bedouin bread. For the first one you just need a good fire. After adding enough water to a mix of flour and salt and mixing well, make the dough about 1,5cm thin and flat like for a pizza and wait for the wood to burn into coal. Then put the coals to the side so that there is a layer of ashes left to the side. Put the bread on the ashes , cover it with ashes as well and then spread the coals on it. Wait around 5 minutes till it starts getting harder and do the other side. When ready, just dust the ashes away.
For the second kind you will need good fire and a wok. Prepare the dough and split it in billiard-ball- size balls. Put the wok over the fire to get hot and start stretching the dough on a table first with fingers then with rolling pin and in the end take it in your arms and stretch it with both hands till it gets as wide and as thin as possible. Place it on the hot wok for around 15 seconds on each side.
With bread preparation being one of your safe moves, you can go on to the easier smashed beans. Fry a chopped onion, add the beans with their water and once boiling for a while smash them with the bottom of the can. Smashed beans can be eaten along with bread and white cheese or they can be used as a sauce for pasta , rice or smashed potatoes. No need to mention that every meal has to end with a strong black tea with loads of sugar.
Another thing that makes the Lagoon special is the lack of electricity. Once it gets dark the Lagoon turns into a natural planetarium. You will not find a better place for watching stars, planets and shooting stars. When the moon gets bigger, moonlight rays going through the hut’s roof are so strong that you might have problems falling asleep. Now and then, there is a generator working for an hour or so at the central hut of the village when it gets dark. But that is not the rule so be prepared to live without your electronic devices.
What you might miss there, is a good shower. That word just doesn t exist in the Lagoon dictionary simply because there is no shower.
Free time is something you will have enough of but never too much. There are a lot of nice things to do when the wind goes down. Listening to music, reading books, fishing, playing the guitar, board repairing, fin shaping, swimming, strolling up the hills or just improving our tan, were just some of the things we did in our free time.
What i learnt
Apart from scoring endless hours on the water, Blue Lagoon gave me a lot more. There, i learnt to be more self sufficient and at the same time share and cooperate with others. I learnt to appreciate more, simple things and comforts that everyone takes for granted in normal life. Finally, i got to try life without gadgets and other devices that everyone thinks it is impossible to live without. We can definitely cover our needs and enjoy life with much less stuff than we are made to think we need.