Group photo taken by Bund til Mund’s Lasse Jesper Pedersen
Bund til mund – an unterwater festival
The name of this festival, directly translated from Danish is From Bottom To Mouth – and it’s not as kinky as it may sound to some of you, well depending on your desires.
It’s an “underwater” festival, that is spearfishing and freediving, not eating, sleeping and listen to music underwater. This is a festival about community, eating local, picking herbs and plants in the nature for your food, and of course spearfiching and freediving.
It’s Saturday afternoon and I have just closed the shop, Beware of Limbo Dancers, when one of my passengers for the drive to the Danish island Ærø. We pack the car and pick up another girl who’s joining us on the ride. The drive is around 2 hours, then a ferry trip for 75 minutes and then a short drive to Søby school, which is a school, that has been closed for 3 years, and now are turned into the home for 54 people, who are all dedicated to spearfishing, freediving, the water in general or just the concept about community and beeing supplying yourself with food you find, buy locally or shoot in the sea.
The festival doesn’t officially begin until Sunday, the day after. But I’m here now and help with getting ready for receiving the guests the next day. And there is a lot to be done, cleaning classrooms and making them into dormitories, cleaning bathrooms, hallways, making a cozy lounge and much more.
Sunday goes with the last preparations of the school and welcoming guests to the festival. Dinner is an alternative hotdog with homemade bread, goat and beef sausages, served with herbs and plants found in the nature and especially on the beaches.
During the week there are different workshops, excursions, and work to be done at the school. A outdoor kitchen is beeing made and also an outdoor shower.
I begin Monday morning with some yoga and lung streching in the sun rise. This is such a lovely way to begin a day with. You feel relaxed, you stretch your stif muscles, and you feel ready and full of energy afterwards. Later this day we are a big group of spearfishers going on a hunt. Unfortunately I don’t shoot anything.
Thuesday morning my friend Julie has a 30 minutes yoga session, which I attend. Afterwards I do a dry static apnea session with an O2 tabel. I have around 12 “students”. Some have been spearfishing before, some are brand new with the long breath holding. I intruduce people to the breathe up term and do 3 rounds af breath holding. It’s fun teaching but I am longing forsome training myself. I haven’t really been doing any statics the last couple of weeks, because the weeks have been hectic, with planning and packing for 4 weeks of freediving (1 week at this festival and 3 weeks of freediving in Dahab).
After breakfast we go for a boat ride to a ferry wreck, which is at 7-20 meters. The boat ride is amazing. Speed, wind in the hair, rocking up and down and the sun is shining. We arrive at the spot where the ferry is, gear up and jump in the water. I do a few dives to the ferry deck at around 7 meters and then we attatch a bouy with a rope, that goes just next to the wreck. The first dive I do goes really well. I immediately dive to 17 meters and I feel comfortable. At the next dive, I don’t even realize the ferry behind me, when I turn around and I hit it with my leg. I do a few more dives from the bouy and I begin to get cold. Back i the boat I realize that my wetsuit got a few scratches from hitting the wreck. I’m glad I didn’t wear my new Elios suit!
Wednesday morning 4 people have faced the early mornig sun to hold their breath in the terribly cold plastic pool. I assist freediver Ninna Kofoed with static training before breakfast. The 4 students find themselves a spot in the pool and begin their breathe up. They make a few dives each, but the pool is just so cold that they are shivering. I am almost scared of one of the student’s reaction, as his hole body is shaking violently. Though it’s cold they all feel good and everyone rushes inside to get a hot shower. I don’t get in the water for the rest of the day. When I have been cold and wet once, I really don’t feel like getting in the water again… For the rest of the day I relax a bit, do some yoga with Julie (and some slaugtered goats next to us), and get ready for a concert with Danish singer Julie Maria in the night.
Thursday Julie does a yoga session and afterwards I do a dry static CO2 tabel with 7 people. I really like coaching people and try to make them ralax and feel comfortable with their breath hold. Later on we go on a boat ride to a small wreck at around 4 meters of depth. A very easy and cozy dive. On the boat we even have a cute dog with us. We get in the water above the wreck and the bat takes off, to pick up a few other divers, then comes back and pick us up, to sail us to a small island where we do some spearfishing. Unfortunately, I don’t catch anything or even see aa damn flounder!
Friday I go spearfishing. This is my last chance to catch something at the festival. Julie and I get ready together with Janus. Julie really wants to shoot a mullet, and I just want to shoot something, something alive.
I snorkle further out than Julie and Janus, when Johan, the Danish spearfisher champion approch me from behind. He asks me if we should find some flatfish together. Sure, why not. With him on my side I am sure to see some flatfishes and hopefully shoot them as well. Not even 5 minutes after we begin, Johan points to the bottom, and there it is. A nice flounder. I get nearer and pull the tricker. Bullseye!…or flatback…?!? My first living fish, as a spearfisher, and I killed it! Johan helps me load my speargun. God, it’s difficult, and when Johan puts the tricker part on my chest while I’m holding the elastics, it feels like it smashes my chestbone. I don’t hope this will effect my freediving in Dahab! Few minutes later Johan points to the bottom again….where? I can’t see it. He keeps pointing and finally I see the flounder and get nearer and pull the tricker. This time I hit it near it’s fins, so it gets loose and swim away. Johan making a noise, maybe a “for-fuck-sake” noise and swim after it. He comes back with the trophe. Johan decides to swim back in and leave me on my own, but I just got to ask him if I could have my own catch. I really wanna come back on land with my own prey.
I snorkle around on my own and soon I spot a flatfish and nail it! My next problem is now, that I don’t have a knife with me, so I have to break the neck on the fish. I feel a bit bad for it, but I have to kill it, so it doesn’t suffer too much. Also I can’t load my speargun myself, and when I place it on my chestbone it hurts so bad, that I give up. Minutes later I spot yet another flatfish and decide to just spear it, and I succeed. Again I have to break the neck on it, and this one is a bit bigger, so it takes me a bit more effort, but finally I kill it.
I swim back to the beach and show everyone my first catch as a spearfisher. I’m happy with my catch and then I see Johan’s catch; a 70 cm big trout. Wauw!!!
Saturday is a big day for me and lovely group of people. It’s our kitchen day and the last day on the festival, so we have big plans for the brunch and dinner menu.
With Bodil and Sandy, I drive to Ærøskøbing to collect around 200 mussels for a tapas plate. It only takes and hour to collet them, but 2 hours to clean them…well, maybe I was a bit to careful with the cleaning.
The kitchen is busy, trouts are smoked, flounders are riped and cooked, gratin are made for the mussels, homemade icecream in the freezer, seaweed salat in the making, loads of bread in the oven, seaweed is caramelized, port is sipped, and music in the speakers. Though we are in the kitchen all day, we enjoy it, and the outcome of the hard work is well worth it.
The whole week has been an amazing mass of creative ideas, inspireing food, fun people, lovely adventures and some eye-openers.
I will definitely spend more time outdoors collecting plants, and herbs, shooting fish and be more creative and playful in the kitchen.
Thank you Bund Til Mund for an amazing week. I’ll see you next year, for sure!!
Photo credits: Fra Bund til Mund (community), Mette Vind Vogt, Julie Sørensen and Rikke Hansen – The Freediving Darling