Whenever I think about the jungles of Colombia, I think of Guerrillas and the cocaine trade (in fact, I was watching a documentary on just that today!). So I’d already be afraid heading into the challenge facing this week’s two brave souls. Add in the fact that you’re naked and seemingly everything in the jungle wants to kill you (monkeys, snakes, caiman, etc.) and it makes an already freaky experience seem pretty impossible. Oh yeah, and it’s wicked hot there too so add that to the list of things that suck about Colombia. Have fun kids!
This retired Marine has military jungle survival training in Panama and the Philippines. I wonder if his insertion location feels like coming hope for him.
Since he’s an expert in building, he’s confident that he’ll build a great shelter for them.
And is it jest me, or does this proud New Yorker look like a mix of Tony Danza and Richard Gere (Which is not a bad thing at all!)
His beginning Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) is 7.2 out of 10.0
Adorable Dani has been a vegetarian for the past 21 years “No food with faces.”
Says she’s an expert at starting fires, making lashing, and finding edibles.
Dani is a free spirit who is willing to stand by her convictions even if it means going hungry. But she’s resourceful so maybe she won’t be hungry.
Her beginning Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) is 6.9 out of 10.0
Khukuri (a super-sharp, curved machete)
Dani- Fire starter
They’re both pretty confident at their insertion point. They both say that they’re not going to give up, no matter what happens. They’re both pretty headstrong, so we’ll see how they get along as partners. I just want to take a moment to point out that Charlie is such a stud that they have to blur his area while she’s still dressed!
When they meet, I think Chris is pretty pleased that his pretty partner is a hugger. I bet it makes it less awkward if you have to snuggle with your partner is you’ve already broken that physical barrier. Because Dani’s a hugger!
Once they’re hiking through the Columbian jungle, Charlie blows his energy load pretty early but cutting down bamboo with super-human strength. Dani recognizes signs of dehydration and encourages him to slow down until they have water. Luckily, she’s a fire-making champ and with a few strikes of the fire starter, she has a roaring blaze and they’re boiling water in bamboo tubes. After a few sips of water, Charlie and Dani are feeling good. They settle in for the night, optimistic that they’ll finish their shelter the next day. Up in the canopy, the howler monkeys seem pretty set on keeping them up all night.
The howler moneys are still screaming at them. While Charlie sharpens his knife, he slices his finger open. Dr. Dani advises him on how to stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean. Charlie ignores her, saying “Men don’t use bandages if they don’t have to.” Charlie, stop being so pigheaded; this is Dani’s area of expertise!
But, even with nine functional fingers, Charlie and Dani make a pretty awesome shelter. The bamboo and leaf palapa looks straight out of a resort. Charlie’s building skills are as good as promised.
Dani heads into the jungle in search of vegetation while Charlie looks for river mussels. Dani finds river cabbage which Charlie says “Tastes like a leaf,” Dani’s glad to find something nutritious to eat.
Charlie also drinks straight out of a stream, against Dani’s advice.
That night, Charlie has 24 ticks on his body. Dani finds one tick, but I’m pretty sure she’s as cofered as Charlie. I hate ticks! I would not be able to sleep if I found even one tick on my body! Is Lyme Disease in Columbia?
The next morning, Dani is totally exhausted, and when Charlie tells her to stay at camp and rest, while he gets water. Dani thinks he’s talking to her like she’s a dog and says, “No one tells me what to do, no one bosses me around. I make my own decisions.”
Dani’s insulted that Charlie is treating her like she’s weak, Charlie wants to keep his female partner safe. His heart is in the right place, but Dani doesn’t need to be protected. She’s a bad-ass too!!
He tries to apologize to Dani, but she ignores him. Maybe he needs his actions to reflect his feelings more than his words.
Charlie finds river snails and Dan gets grossed out that her partner is cooking them alive. She is opposed to taking a life to feed her body. Perhaps she should walk away while her partner eats. It’s not fair to push her beliefs on her partner. But, after Charlie eats, he puts his extra snails back into the river to make his partner happy.
I hope Dani knows that he’s trying to connect with her.
Charlie cuts himself again. This time, the gash is extra-bloody. Again, Dani offers to help him, and finally, he lets her help him. She makes a pretty sweet bandage for her partner and he’s grateful.
Again, Charlie shows his partner that he’s willing to listen to her. It’s definitely showing that he’s more than the hard-headed East coast jarhead that he was at first.
Charlie fashions a spring spear, something he learned in survival training in the Philippines. He’s hoping to catch an armadillo, which I had no idea lved in the jungle! I thought they only existed as Arizona roadkill. He also sets traps to catch crawdads. Dani finds flowers and eats them. Mmmm, flowers. She’s doing a pretty fantastic job finding edibles in the jungle. You can only eat what you catch, and if you can’t (or won’t) catch meat, you gotta eat flora.
Dani heads out to the forest and finds a red almond which she eats gleefully.
Charlie heads out to check his traps. Empty. After two weeks with little meat, Charlie thinks his manhood is in jeopardy. And his attitude is changing. I know that hangry feeling; without food I’m a total psycho.
Charlie is hungry, and frustrated. He’s so starving that he’s thinking about quitting. Dani heads out to look for something that her partner could eat. She finds a toad and is faced with a moral and ethical dilemma — does she kill an animal to save her partner? Whose life does she hold more highly? Dani catches the toad and presents it to her partner. Charlie gratefully eats the toad and is so touched that his partner gave it to him.
Dani and Charlie are already planning for their extraction which they imagine will take them two days. They break down their shelter and make a set of paddles for the raft they will need to build once they reach a river.
Of course — that night, the rain pours down on them!
They hike through the jungle and build a raft alongside the river. Poor Charlie is lugging what looks like a million pounds of lashing. While chopping bamboo … Bees! You thought for a minute that I was going to day that Charlie was going to chop his finger again, didn’t you? Charlie gets stung about 30 times before he can run away from the stingy guys. But he’s not allergic to stings (thank goodness!) and they get back to raft-building.
What they build isn’t so much a raft as a submarine. They are able to paddle very slowly on their vessel that hovers several inches below water. When it’s dark, they’re so exhausted that they paddle over to a bank and fall asleep atop their raft. Charlie volunteers to keep the first watch for caiman and howler monkeys.
Charlie sees a caiman right next to their raft! Yikes. No sleep for them.
Dan is and Charlie are up and paddling by 5am. They paddle forever and finally reach where the river empties in to the Caribbean. But their extraction isn’t over. Nope. In the most difficult Naked and Afraid extraction ever (remember, they’re already hiked through the jungle and paddled down a river), they now have to swim 200 yards through rough ocean water to a waiting boat.
At the end of the experience, Charlie has changed his thinking about food because of his partner and says that she’s his equal.
Over 21 days, Charlie lost 25 pounds and Dani lost 14 pounds,
Charlie’s PSR raised from 7.2 to 7.5 and Dani’s PSR raised from 6.9 to 7.5. Clearly the producers of Naked and Afraid think Dani is Charlie’s equal too.
I’m impressed that Dani and Charlie were able to put their philosophical differences aside and become good friends and great partners.