They’re not even inserted and our male participant already sees stormy weather heading his way… foreshadowing is never good.
Guess what? We’re heading to a place that is so terrible that nothing can live there! Have fun! From the travel brochure that was so lovingly read to us, we learn that Cayo Venado, Mexico is home to mangrove swamps, which are the perfect home for Jaguars and Panthers. And we’re not talking about Florida sports teams. Since the producers of Naked and Afraid: Garden of Evil are masters of planning, this trip coincides with the area’s rainy season, with “storms of biblical proportions.”
And incase you’re not frantically booking your return ticket home, the area boasts 4 — that’s right cuatro — types of pit vipers.
Let’s meet this week’s really nice, but death-craving, people.
From Jonesboro, AR
28 year-old, animal control officer
He’s a former member of the U.S. Navy who says he’s become “bored” since leaving the military.
He’s looking for this experience to be a “restart button” on his life, and has quit his job to undertake this experience.
This skilled hunter is sad to be leaving behind his wife, children and adorable cat.
Brandon’s initial Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) is 6.8 out of 10.0.
From San Francisco, CA
32 year-old nurse who serves as a reservist in the U.S. Air Force.
She’s participated in several survival challenges as part of her military training.
She says that she’s a “passive” member of a group, which may help her if her partner is a hothead.
Robin is also a passive “Say-er goodbye-er” and left for her adventure while her husband and children were sleeping.
“I think this will be a good combination of heaven, and life in hell.”
Robin’s Initial Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) is 6.8 out of 10.0.
Is this the first time the female’s initial PSR is higher than her male partner’s?
Robin hates being naked; Brandon looooves it.
Brandon says, “I’ll find a way to work together. I’m from the military; I’m from the world’s biggest team.” I love this mentality!
The production shows the usual shots of the small camera crew, but for the first time in my memory, mentions that there is a team of medical personnel with them. In adventures past, a medic has advices and a assisted when survivalists have minor boo-boos. But for the show to mention the MD, this does not bode well.
Both Brandon and Robin seem like good people, and I’m already feeling terrible for the torture they’re walking into.
As they walk, they see a Chechen tree, (a.k.a. “black poison-wood” tree) which has poisonous black sap which can cause second degree burns if it touches the skin.
Brandon heaves a rock or something big at a coconut palm and downs two juicy coconuts.
And they make short work of starting a fire. Go team! They’re slapping fives and feeling confident. In a moment of bravado, each promises the other that they won’t quit.
That night, something big, and growly stalks their camp. Based on the noise, I’m pretty sure it’s something that’s escaped from Jurassic Park.
Brandon- brought a machete
Robin- brought a pot with a lid.
They also have a fire starter.
After a big cat pranced within 5 feet to their camp, their first order of business is making a shelter. After they work in the sun, Robin heads to the lone source of fresh water with her handy-dandy pot. This is the first pot I’ve seen on Naked and Afraid with a lid! After a quick boil, they dub their water, “swamp broth.” Mmmm, swamp broth!
After hydrating, they realize that their awesome shelter is built under a Chechen tree. And we know, that the tree is so toxic that it must have inspired most of the terribly toxic plants in The Hunger Games. Instead of running away as fast as they can, they dismantle their shelter and Brandon is literally covered in the acidic sap. Painful blisters start almost immediately. They are all over him and his reaction is really severe.
The producers send in the medic to check him out. The EMT rubs some salve on the wounds to stop the spread of the acid, but the damage has already begun. And his weepy blisters and festering wounds are manna for the Mexican mosquitoes.
Robin is pretty sunburned and she hopes to fashion a coconut bra. It’s a moment of levity before Brandon suffers through another night of torture due to his burns (and he also looks sunburned too.)
Brandon is allergic to poison ivy, so his reaction to the Chechen sap is really bad. Even 5 days after exposure, the reaction is spreading. Brandon tells us how it feels … “It Suuuuuuuuucks!”
The EMT gives him a series of shots for the reaction and the swelling. The poor guy is really suffering.
So far, they’ve been eating coconuts and drinking swamp water, but they’re getting hungry. Brandon hunts for crabs while Robin makes a fish basket.
It seems like Brandon’s reaction to the sap comes and goes. But not only is his skin painful, he’s nauseous and he’s experiencing joint pain. Robin works on the shelter while her partner rests.
Brandon is crying in the water. His body is betraying him but he desperately wants to help his partner. He’s considering tapping out so he can get medical care, but doesn’t want his partner to fail without him.
While he’s in the water, the shelter falls down and Robin is pissed at herself.
Robin comes out to her partner and encourages Brandon to try one more day before tapping out. She doesn’t want him to be defeated by a plant.
Robin remembers reading about a plant that is the antidote to the Chechen tree. She walks back to the tree and finds the plant! Can this be Brandon’s solution? Brandon wipes the Chaca bark on his skin and by the next morning he is feeling a bit better. It’s still torturous, but a bit better.
The next morning, Brandon is still in pain, but says, “It’s not how hard you can hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep on going.” He’s going to continue the fight alongside his partner, Robin.
Brandon admires Robin’s unwavering strength and is grateful that she didn’t give up on him in his moment of weakness.
They check their fish traps. Empty. Robin is so frustrated that she says, “I don’t think anyone could survive on this island. This is hell. I wouldn’t wish it or want it on anyone.”
That night, a four-legged foe stalks their camp again. Brandon thinks it’s a panther.
It rains. A lot. If this was Forrest Gump, thee would the most miserable of the rains. And it’s cold.
More rain. But they still have their fire in their shelter. And they’re such nice people that they don’t seem to be hating being stuck in the
They’ve had 7 inches of rainfall in the last 36 hours. And they’ve been cold and wet the entire time.
That night, more rain and thunder and lightning. And then the wind destroys their shelter and they frantically race to recreate their shelter in the dark and in the rain.
Robin is mentally broken. Brandon admits that he got so cold the prior night that he couldn’t’ feel his toes. This is their 4th day of sub-60 degree conditions. They’re both facing hypothermia. The team medic come sin again. Robin’s core them is about 93 degrees. The medic gives them a space blanket and the producers consult with the twosome to see if they can continue the process.
After 14 days, they both realize that they can go no longer and become the first team in Naked and Afraid history to tap out at the same time. They’re both sad, but they acknowledge that they got their butt kicked by Mother Nature. And I’d add the black poison tree. It really stuck it to Brandon.
In his 14 days in Hellish Mexico, Brandon lost 25 pounds and because he tapped out, his PSR fell from 6.8 to 6.1
In her two weeks, Robin lost 16 lbs. and her PSR fell from 6.9 to 6.1