Occupation: Survival Coach
Current Residence: Santa Cruz, CA
Relationship Status: In a Relationship
Skills: Primitive fire, trapping, hunting, bow making, flint-knapping, basketry, pottery, hide tanning, shelter, water purification and tracking
Tom McElroy has taught survival and primitive skills to more than 10,000 students worldwide over the past 20 years.
During his twenties, Tom spent an entire year living off the land. He built and lived in a shelter made from forest material, made fire by friction, purified water naturally, hunted, fished and gathered all of his own food.
Tom seems like the most qualified survivalists ever on Naked and Afraid. If this guy can’t last for 21 days, something is very, very wrong indeed.
Current Residence: Salem, MA
Relationship Status: Single
Skills: Natural shelter building, primitive fire making, identifying bird songs and trees
Lisa is always up for a challenge and took on the Naked and Afraid experience as a way to push her boundaries in the wilderness.
While in New England, Lisa has spent much of her free time learning about the natural environment in the area.
With Lisa’s medical background, she would have been a perfect partner for tough, but accident-prone N&A contestant E.J. Snyder.
Tom and Dr. Lisa head to the Yungas Cloud Forest. What, pray tell, is a cloud forest? From the images, it look like there the Nabi lived in Avatar, very misty. But cold. The omonously-voiced narrator uses the phrase, “Extreme cold.” I live in the Midwest and just that phrase alone sends a shiver up my spine.
In keeping with Naked and Afraid‘s history of choosing locations that are experiencing epically bad weather, Argentina’s mountain jungles have received 16 inches of rain in the last 3 days. That’s enough rain for people to start thinking about building an ark. And, just in case you aren’t afraid of a little “Heavy dew,” the unprecedented rain has also lowered the temperature by 10 degrees. Both Lisa and Tom know that this is going to suck mega-hard, and are still game to do this. Because they’re coo-coo.
This is the first tie I think I’ve ever seen the people start Naked and Afraid in the rain. It’s gotta be terrible to leave the comfort of a warm car and warm pants to prance in the rain. Nude.
Tom, “I’m cold wet, and concerned that my partner will tap out in first hour.”
Lisa, “It’s day 1 and pissing down rain.”
And they’re both as pale as newborn babies. I wonder if their fair skin will help them or hurt them with tolerance to cold.
Tom and Lisa each got to choose a survival item: Tom selected a machete and Lisa picked a fire starter.
Tom and Lisa win the dubious record of being to highest and coldest insertion point in N&A history. Hooray?!
Here’s what Tom and Lisa will face in Argentina:
Wild turkeys (Are wild turkey’s somehow a lot more dangerous than regular turkeys? Do they have bad attitudes and tiny brass knuckles?)
Tom already machete’s his arm. Good think he’s got a doctor with him
Lisa would rather not spend the energy to make a fire if it’s not going to last all night. I’d rather have 5 minutes of warm than no warmth at all.
They’re butting icicle heads. Tom disagrees with everything Lisa says in a passive aggressive way. Reminds me of Bill Lumberg from Office Space.
It’s a chilly, chilly morning
After 1 day, Lisa looks like a completely different person! Did she lose 10 pounds overnight?
Both Tom and Lisa have been preassigned a Primitive Survival Rating (PSR,) based on their skills, experience and mental toughness.
Tom, 6’2” 185lbs, has an expert level PSR of 8.4 out of 10
Lisa, 5’6” 165lbs, has an intermediate PSR of 6.8 out of 10
Lisa is annoyed that Tom spent the first day blowing off all of her idea. I think a lot of them seemed logical. I know he’s an expert, but dude’s gotta let her win a few of the battles. Shes says she’s confident that she could survive alone.
When she returns to camp, she finds that Tom is using one of her ideas, he’s piling rocks near their shelter to keep their fire’s heat in their shelter. That must have been an awful first night, Tom is singularly focused on making the shelter better. I haven’t seen them drink anw water…they’re collecting the rain, right? It’s kind of a blessing and a curse.
Dr. Lisa prepared for Argentina’s cold by living in a cold apartment for 2 weeks. In a diary cam video, she’s in a tank top and shorts in a 54 degree apartment. Brrr! I need a blankie if my AC is on!
7 more inches of rain fall over the next 4 days. Tom can’t stop shivering
Tom is so cold that he wants to tap out. And he kind of looks like Ewan McGregor.
Lisa has one of the most unfortunate low-back tattoos I’ve ever seen. It’s basically climbing out of her butt crack.
Tom is still in the game, but he’s just physically sapped.
Lisa hunts for bugs and worms and finds them each 120 calories of worms and grubs.
I think now that Tom’s been humbled by cold and hunger, he’s more open to Lisa’s suggestions.
To make their shelter waterproof and Tom and Lisa peel the bark off of Eucalyptus trees. Their bark shingles are genius!
Tom’s hunting a turkey that he’d seen around their camp.
Tom spends days 13 and 14 setting traps for fish and turkey. I’m glad to see someone setting traps. I’ve been hoping someone would turn into Katniss Everdeen. Because it seemes like whenever she bent a stick over, one of literature’s stupidest and most tasty fictional animals would stroll right in. (Groosling anyone?)
The rain returns and the bark shingles keep them dry. Every future N&A participant take not of this genius. Eucalyptus will keep you dry and probably smell good too.
Lisa is hitting a physical wall and because of the rain, Tom’s traps are empty.
Tom: “Mother Nature is not my furry little friend.”
Tom turns into Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator , camouflages himself in icy-looking mud and sits in wait for a turkey.
Tom kinda has that look of crazy that N&A participants get when their bodies get so hungry that they start consuming their own brains. He is so starving and cold that he’s making illogical choices. A turkey would be an amazing catch, but covering yourself in cold mud will lead to hypothermia. I say stick to what works; If you’re able to find grubs and worms once, why not stick to that strategy?
Remarkably, turkeys don’t seem deterred by naked guys in trees or camera guys and strolls right on up. Tom’s spear throw gets close, but the only thing he catches is cold.
And the torrential rains continue. Tom and Lisa are stuck in their chilly, but great smelling igloo for a few days and the weather is so terrible that the production team can’t reach them for 2 days (one of the production vehicles fell off of a water-logged trail.) Hope they have insurance.
Tom and Lisa are tired and looking rough. They don’t think they can hike the 10 mile hike to extraction in one day so they make a travois to drag their bark shingles along with them. This might be the most miserable slog ever. And the clouds arrive as they reach a spot for shelter.
Lisa’s been pretty tough and with less than a day to go, she’s cracking. “I’m really, really tired, I’m really cold, and I don’t think I’m going to make it.”
The temps fall into the low 40’s, and Lisa tells him that she’s done. Poor dear. Tom rubs her back to keep her warm. Why aren’t they spooning?
That night, the temperature falls to 42degrees. With the wind chill, the temp is 32 degrees. That’s winter coat weather. How are they still alive? How are their brains still functioning?
Morning breaks and the sun rises. After that terrible night, they still have a 5 mile hike through streams and forest. At least they don’t have to carry the shingles any more.
The formerly placid stream that they have to cross is a raging and cold river. They make it across. And find their rescue truck. Hooray! I hope they told their driver to crank the heat. And give them sandwiches.
At the end of their experience, Tom and Lisa ended up becoming good friends. I think that Tom realized that despite his experience, the experience was miserable and Lisa was an incredible asset. His ego got a major check, because in his pre-show video, he said that if you’re miserable, your skills aren’t good enough. It’s easy to say that when your belly is full and you’re in your dry house. Tom was miserable the entire 21 days and he is an expert with tremendous skills. Unless he found a tarp or a sheep and knit himself a blanket, he was going to be cold and miserable.
After 21 days,
Tom lost 30 pounds and his PSR fell from 8.4 to 7.9
Lisa lost 26 pounds and her PSR increased from 6.8 to 7.4.
After Lisa got back home,she said that she smelled strange. Maybe like Eucalyptus?
When Tom got home, he said he was happy to see his girlfriend. AND BE WARM!
Like Naked And Afraid? Check out these recaps:
Season 3, Episode 1: Namibia, Episode 2: Andros Islands, Episode 3: Cambodia, Episode 4: Nicaragua, Episode 5: Argentina
Season 2, Episode 1: Peru, Episode 2:Madagascar, Episode 3: Fiji, Episode 4:Belize, Episode 5:Malaysia, Episode 6: Bolivia
Polls, What survival Item Would you bring?, Who is your Favorite N&A Couple?
Other Fun Stuff: How to Apply & Casting Secrets
images © Discovery Networks.
images © Discovery.