Move one step at a time
By Ashley Thompson
Meet this week’s contestants: Fernando, a 33 year old firefighter/paramedic from California, and Samantha, a 38 year old personal trainer from Texas. Tools of choice: machete and fire starter. They were both assigned a PSR (Primitive Survival Rating) — a measurement of the participant’s skill, experience, mental toughness?Fernando – 7.1, Samantha – 6.8.
Some interesting facts about the Malaysian rainforest are – there are 100 inches of annual rainfall, an insurmountable amount of leeches and mosquitoes (that can carry malaria), wild cats, monitor lizards, and blue Malaysian coral snakes aka 100 step snakes (because that’s how far a victim can walk after being bitten). Sounds awesome. How does this affect the contestants? A person loses body heat 25 times faster when wet, so the 8 days of continual rainfall and their weak shelter mean low body temps and an inability to search for food or make fire.
Did someone say “food”?? You know what that means on Naked and Afraid… snake! Except this time it’s an extremely deadly snake that Fernando manhandles, but has to throw out due to their inability to start a fire to cook it on. But hey, at least that’s one less predator. The good news is the rain has stopped. The bad news is the rain keeps the bugs away. Samantha is having a horrible time being eaten alive by mosquitoes while her partner appears to be covered from head to scrotum in leeches.
Finally real food… fish caught with Fernando’s bare hands! Except it’s very strange and not worth eating. So another dead animal not used. Well, at least there’s mushrooms. After being convincing himself they are edible, Fernando digs in. And they were edible, except for that allergic reaction he has… bringing his blood pressure down and his temperature up to 103. The crew is brought in and after lowering his temp he is taken back to camp. Now Samantha really has to step up.
Samantha’s builds a sad little raft that does the job eventually and they make it to their extraction point. At the end of 21 days, Fernando has lost 31 pounds, Samantha lost 21 pounds. Fernando’s PSR fell due to 6.9, Samantha’s PSR rose to 7.0.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Channel