Disclaimer – all content in this article is for educational purposes only, anyone who finds themselves trapped on a deserted island and decides to use mentioned methods in order to survive, does so at their own risk
I watched in complete shock and disbelief as our once glorious boat slowly sank to the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.
I don’t know what we hit, but whatever it was, it turned our boat into an anchor. All I could do was laugh. I laughed and laughed uncontrollably for a long time…
“Hey, that hurt!!”
My wife slapped me hard across the face, snapping me out of my delirious laughing state.
“What the hell are we going to do now!?” she screamed.
It was just the three of us, myself, my wife, and my daughter. We were now sitting on our life raft with some basic supplies, no form of communication, very little food, and it was starting to get dark.
“Looooook daaddy, daaddy, it’s an island!!”, my 10-year-old daughter squeaked and pointed towards the setting sun.
I could barely see, but there was no mistaking it.
It was land!
What would you do if you were accidentally separated from your cruise ship, and you were left behind, stranded and alone?
What if your plane crashed at sea, like Tom Hanks in the hit movie Cast Away, and you had to survive on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere?
Or what if you were on a weekend cruise with your family, and you accidentally sailed over some sharp unseen coral rock, which ripped away a large piece from the bottom of your small boat?
Would you panic and die or would you adapt and thrive?
In this post, we´ll discuss how living and surviving on a deserted island can become a very productive time. A time to get in shape, learn about yourself, and your new environment. Making the best use of your island experience, improving yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Working on interesting projects and making plans to escape!
Let’s get into it, island time baby!
Essentials: Food – Water – Shelter – Clothing – Fire – Exercise
Food is necessary for life. If you’re not able to find and produce food on your new island home, then you will most likely die. One of the first things you need to do is explore the entire island, searching for sources of food.
Fish and shellfish can be found in the ocean or in ponds. Shellfish should be cooked to avoid consumption of dangerous parasites.
You can make a separate pond along the ocean to cultivate fish, by placing large rocks and other materials to create a barrier and trap sea life. Make sure they have fresh flowing water and food, and they should begin to breed on their own.
Insects can be eaten and cultivated as well. Grasshoppers, scorpions, tarantulas, ants, and worms are all edible. Make an enclosure, then collect as many insects as you can and attempt to breed them. Analyze the food that they eat, and provide them with whatever they need. Certain insects have more protein than beef so they can be an excellent nutritional source.
Birds can be used for their meat and eggs.
By catching, domesticating, and breeding these various animals, you’ll be able to spend less time and energy hunting and gathering. Giving yourself more time to work on other interesting projects.
Your island may have coconuts, which are one of the most delicious and healthy foods in the world. At times, I dream of laying around on a beautiful deserted island eating fresh coconuts all day with my girlfriend. Ohhh so nice!
Coconut water is one of the most refreshing drinks. Opening a coconut requires skill and practice, the shell of the coconut is extremely hard. Always be careful, when cracking open your nuts!
Water is essential to life. It can be collected from the rain, found in ponds or in certain plants. Water from ponds should be purified first by boiling. Ocean water can be distilled and drank. Though distilling requires much time, energy, and technical knowledge.
A simple shelter can be made with random objects, wood, and plant fibers. Don’t camp too close to the beach, you don’t want to be washed away by the sea, while you’re trying to rest one night. Also, make sure you’re safely camped off the ground. A hammock can easily be improvised, with some fabric or plant fibers, tied to a couple of trees.
Maybe put together a loin cloth with some old leather and run around the island looking like Tarzan? Learn how to construct a fish scale suit? Or what about plant fibers weaved together, to assemble an entire wardrobe for your family. You’ll have plenty of time to create your own island fashions!
Fire is essential to cook your food, purify water and to send signals for rescue. Without gasoline and matches, lighting a fire requires much skill. Of course, knowing how to make a fire before disaster strikes, would be smart and useful. This is something that can be practiced on your next camping trip or out in the backyard behind your house. I will not discuss all the various methods of making fire here, but I’ll say that enough friction will make heat and a spark. How you create that friction is up to you and the materials you have available to work with.
Make sure to stay healthy and fit on your island. This will give you a great sense of wellbeing. You should dedicate at least 45 minutes of your day to exercise. This daily routine will improve your island life, lessen boredom, and if you’re a professional athlete, then you can use this time to train and become the best you can be in your chosen sport. Whether that be swimming, diving, running, sprinting, climbing, weight lifting, knife/javelin throwing, strongman exercises, etc.
For example, a good strongman exercise would be dragging or carrying a huge tree across the beach every morning. Doing that for a few months will make you as strong as Schwarzenegger! Plus you can tie reflective objects to the branches of the tree, creating a moving signal as you train, which would be visible from afar.
This could be your perfect chance to reach your physical peak. When you eventually escape, you’ll impress the world with your amazing island physique. For more great workout tips that can be implemented anywhere, check out The Backpackers Workout!
Organization of Daily Tasks
You should organize your time and have a daily schedule. Besides focusing on the basic needs of survival, you need to think of eventual rescue or escape(more on this below). Your hobbies will also be included in your schedule and are necessary to fight monotony and madness.
Learn something new every day about your island, adding new skills and discipline to your daily activities.
Example of Daily Schedule:
Clean yourself and your space
Learn new skill
Work on food cultivation/gathering, art, or scientific projects
Social time with humans or animals
Repeat for as long as necessary
Entertainment and Projects
Being on a deserted island will give you a lot of free time to work on creative projects. Many artists don’t have enough time to focus on their work, if you’re stuck on the island for a while, you won’t have to deal with your boss, your job, people, TV, internet, anything really. You can immerse yourself entirely into your art and create something completely original.
Carve the Side of a Mountain
For those who are very ambitious, you may want to start carving giant stone sculptures. Look to Easter Island as inspiration. That entire island is covered with more than 800 massive monumental statues, some weighing over 80 tons. This was done without modern metal tools, more than 500 years ago, on the most secluded island on Earth.
Play Music and Dance
Music or dance could be another artistic activity. Sing, play the drums, or make musical instruments with found objects. Your time on the island could be used to perfect your musical artistry, writing songs and inventing new musical genres.
Grow an impressive beard and dreadlocks. When you return to civilization your beard will be so long and gnarly, that you can enter The World Beard and Mustache Championships. You’ll probably win first prize because everyone will love the fact, that your beard was grown on an exotic deserted island.
Although, if you wish to trim your hair and don’t care about the competition, then fire can be used to burn your hair off. This is a way that certain tribesman, cut their hair without using modern shaving tools.
For those lucky enough to be deserted on the island with a beautiful and attractive person of the opposite sex, reproduction should be a priority.
First make calculations to see how much food the island produces, and how many people you’ll be able to provide for.
Having children will give you and your partner or partners, a greater sense of purpose. Children will bring joy to your daily lives on the island. When you do finally leave the island, you’ll have many stories to tell of how you raised your family in a very unique way!
Giving birth shouldn’t be too difficult. All animal species give birth in the wild, without the help of medical doctors or medicine. Use common sense. Teach your new island children everything you know, passing on your wide range of knowledge, ensuring long-term survival for everyone.
Plan Your Escape
There are various ways for you to leave or be discovered. If you plan to escape by boat or plane, make sure you have the skills and resources required to make the journey without killing yourself. A vessel that isn’t built strong enough, will be destroyed by the elements. It would be better to die peacefully on the island, than at sea, drowning or being torn apart by flesh-eating sharks.
That’s why waiting for rescue, could be a safer way to survive. Sending out smoke signals, whenever a plane or ship is seen passing by. Having huge SOS signals set up around the island, which are visible by overflying planes and sea craft, will aid in increasing your chances of rescue.
Interact with Dolphins and Other Animals
Dolphins are very intelligent, if you share fish with them daily, they will visit you often and you may be able to learn to communicate with one of them. Ask them to give you a lift to the closest inhabited island or lead nearby ships to you, by attaching a brightly colored ribbon to the dolphin’s fin.
You probably won’t be able to decipher their complex high pitched squealing language, but through thought, patience and companionship, your friendship will grow. They may be able and willing to help you if you give them a lot of fresh delicious fish. These animals travel long distances across oceans, so they are definitely good to have on your team.
Birds can be sent off with little messages, attached to their little feet.
Island monkeys are good companions and can be trained to do many tasks as well.
Having animals as friends and allies, would be way better than hanging out with a volleyball like Tom Hanks did in Cast Away! Animals are very intelligent and completely evolved to live on and around the island. They have much to teach us about living in harmony with nature.
In Conclusion – Adapt and Evolve
Being trapped on a deserted island doesn’t have to be a terrible disaster. It could be a way for you to grow and become the best version of yourself, without distractions from the outside world.
Yoga and meditation can be practiced. You may discover the “Way”, and become an enlightened being. You may even learn to absorb “The Essence of Life” from the air and learn to live without food. Solely by nourishing yourself on the life energy of the Earth and Sun.
Sungazing is an ancient technique practiced around the world, which enhances both mind and body and takes years to perfect. Why not use your island time to become a True Master? Then when you do finally return to society, you’ll go back as an Enlightened Guru, with much to share with the rest of the world!
Leaving a Legacy
Even if you end up dying on the island, at least you’ll leave something behind to be discovered in the future. Imagine if someone visits your island a hundred years after your death. What will these people find? A magnificent sculpture, an amazing invention, or just the remains of a miserable man long forgotten? The choice is yours my friend. May you survive and prosper, wherever life takes you!