Welcome back, Naked and Afraid fans! Season 5 of the Discovery series returns to the standard, “2 people, 21 days format” and kicks off in frequent N&A territory, Panama. This week’s survivalists — Gary and Kim — try to survive a Panamanian panic for three weeks.
For this excursion, we’re in the thick jungles of San Jose Island. While it looks like a tropical paradise, a closer inspection reveals:
10-foot long Boas
Swarms of insects, like sand flies.
Scorching days and freezing nights.
Let’s meet this week’s crazy kids…
Current Residence: Moab, Utah
Relationship Status: Single, parent of one daughter.
Survival Skills: Primitive cooking, mentally tough, survival grit
Raised to be outdoorsy and resourceful, Kim considers herself a loner and would love to make her living helping people learn to support themselves outdoors.
Kim has lived in the woods. Can forage, can fish and can build shelter. Kim’s also the single mom of an adorable daughter and says she has a major problem with authority.
Initial PSR 6.2 our to 10.0
Kim’s starting quote, “It’s going to be hard as F@#$, but it’s going to happen.”
Occupation: Tactical/Defensive Firearms Instructor, retired Police Officer and former member of military reserves.
Current Residence: Reno, Nevada
Relationship Status: Married with 7 children
Survival Skills: Primitive shelter building, back country and desert backpacking and camping, desert survival trained, water purification
Gary learned desert survival as a child and boy scout when he grew up in Arizona. Toughened his survival training as a military reservist and a retired police officer.
Initial PSR 7.1 out of 10.0
Gary is totally giddy to be on this adventure. It seems like the culmination of his long life of training.
Gary quote: Gary isn’t going to carry his partner, but “I’ll motivate the S#!@ out of her.”
Gary’s Discovery.com bio says he’s the father of 7 kids and Kim has as many siblings, so it’ll be interesting if they slip into a father-daughter relationship. But a closer look at Kim’s bio reveals that she and her siblings were raised by a single mom, so perhaps Kimmy doesn’t need a father-figure on this adventure.
The participants have a length of paracord and each have brought a primitive survival tool. Maybe this area doesn’t have naturally growing fibers that can be turned into cordage?
Gary brought his Battle Axe. “He tells his partner, “You can dig with it, cut with it, crush with it, this is gong to serve us well.”
Kim has a bow drill that she made. It’s not a tool that she’s an expert with.
After walking for several hours, Kim and Gary find a jungle clearing that they select as their camp. Gary starts chopping into a tree and before long he find a good sign, a cross-happed stick. Kim isn’t thrilled by his religion. “My partner is a religious cop; my nightmare.”
Kim starts using her bow drill to make fire. She’s not successful and Gary isn’t happy that his partner selected a tool that she’s not good with.
That night, it’s dark, chilly and something is lurking in the bushes. “This is the afraid part of Naked and Afraid,” says Gary. They fall asleep they won’t quit on each other and while they snooze, a giant tarantula climbs overhead. Yikes!!! I wonder how high Gary and Kim jumped when they saw that scene tonight!
Gary is thirsty. Kim tries to make fire again with her bow drill. Gary’s thirst has him so desperate that he’ willing to drink untreated water from the stream. Kim drinks too.
Kim spends the entire day struggling with the bow drill. That night, they are freezing as the temperatures fall into the mid-sixties and the wind blows relentlessly. Kim asks to cuddle, but Gary refuses.
Kim confronts Gary about his unwillingness to cuddle. She assures him that the physical contact won’t lead to anything else, but he isn’t willing to compromise his morals. “You cannot do this on your won for the next 18 days, and I cannot do this on my own for the next 18 days. We need each other … I’ll tell you right now, I will not walk away from you, because I’ve never, ever left a man behind. We never left a man behind in Iraq, we never left anybody behind in Afghanistan, and I’m not about to do that to you now.” Then Gary Lambasts Kim for bringing a survival item that she wasn’t familiar with. He tells her that she’s let them down.
Kim tearfully leaves Gary and cries to her confession camera and tells herself words of motivation. “I can do this. I can do this.”
Re-watch the scene:
While Gary snores in their shelter, Kim doggedly tries to build fire yet again. Her determination is rewarded when she makes fire. Atta woman!!! She’s a total #SHEro.
Now they need massive amounts of firewood. Gary’s battle axe struggles to chop trees into firewood. He’s soon exhausted and needs the medic.
Suddenly it’s day 4, which is strange; it was day 3 before the commercial break. The medics advise that Gary needs to tap out. He apologizes to Kim and asks her forgiveness. Kim tells him not to leave feeling guilty for her.
Now Kim’s left alone in the jungle by herself. “It’s going to be dark, and I’ll be alone, she says. “It’s going to be really F@#$ing hard you guys are going to think I’m a big fat crybaby. And that’s okay, but I’m going to do it. I’m not quitting.” I love her determination.
That night, Kim gets eaten by bugs, but she has fire. I wonder if the sand fleas are drawn to the fire’s warmth.
Kim survived the night. She decides to rebuild the shelter to get a clean start. A decision that she regrets. So Kim decides to get herself to the beach and look for coconuts. The first one she finds is rotten, but opening it has worn her out too much to look for more.
Kim returns to the beach and finds three coconuts. When she cracks one open, the nourishing water spills into her lap. Kim manages to catch some between her legs and eagerly scoops it into her mouth. “I drank coconut crotch water,” she says. “And I loved it.”
Kim takes a look at her day’s events. She made a new shelter, she found coconuts — “I kicked ass today!” she says.
That night, boars try to get into her camp. Kick-ass-Kim charges at them in the brush. “Go away!” she yells at the three little piggies. She no longer seems afraid.
Kim was uneasy at the though of pigs charging her camp, but the though of pigs also made her mouth water. She builds an amazing trap and when the bait is stolen she makes tweaks to it. Over the next 5 days, the trap attracts a lot of critters, but nothing springs the trap.
That morning, Kim sees that her trap has been robbed by another tricky critter. Kim breaks down and cries with sweet memories of her daughter and the food she’s likely eating at that moment. It’s such a human moment. And Kim pulls herself together and keeps going.
Kim is starving. We haven’t seen her eat anything. She spies a “baby gator” in her watering hole and tries to catch it. Basically, she sticks her stick in it, and hacks it to death with Gary’s Battle Axe. She’s emotional because it was a messy, and unmerciful kill and cries. It seems a mixture of relief, joy, happiness, grief, gratitude and loneliness.
“That’s the thing about survival; you have to get your hands dirty.”
Kim grills some of the meat and will smoke the rest for the remainder of her experience. The meat is a godsend and she’s really grateful.
That night, the sand fleas are the worst yet, because of the full moon. Kim perfectly describes them as fiberglass being rubbed on her skin and comes up with a genius and gross solution. She mixes her urine with ask from the fire and rubs it on her body. “I have pee on my face.” She stage whispers to her confession camera.
There is a pig in Kim’s trap!!! It’s a wee small pig!!! But Kim’s belly is full, so she lets the cute pig go. She is satisfied with her adult decision and hopes her daughter would be proud of her. She is, Momma. She is.
Kim is SO amped that it’s the end of her ordeal. She’s exhausted and knows that her extraction will be a physical challenge that she’s barely up for, but she decides to take Gary’s heavy axe with her. “No man left behind,” she tells it.
As she walks, Kim narrowly misses a boa and encounters razor grass and thorns. Kim emerges from the jungle and up rolls a white pickup truck “My nightmare is over!” she crows.
And the end of her 21-day experience, Kim seems like a completely different woman. She remembers, “The girl who came up her was playful and unsure.” The girl who is leaving Panama has power. She is hopeful that this newfound confidence will make her a better mother to her sweet daughter Naomi. I am sure that she is right.
Over the course of 21 days, Kim lost 23 lbs. and her PSR rose from 6.2 to 7.0 out of 10. I think she got hosed. That was an 8.0 effort if I’ve ever seen one. She trapped, she hunted, she made fire, she found liquid. She did it all
In his 4-5 days, Gary lost 8 lbs. and his PSR fell from 7.1 to 5.3. That seems about right and I’m sorry that Gary didn’t get a chance to complete the adventure. I’m sure she would have been a good helper to Kim; because she’s a survival BOSS!
In the words of Kim, “Suck it, Gary!” Bwahahah. Just kidding bro, I would love to know what made him feel to ill so quickly. Did he get a virus, or did his 52 year-old bones just run out of giddyup?
Kim is a pretty amazing Naked and Afraid participant. She’d be a good person to think about for a future XL version. And I bet next time, she’ll be an ace with that bow drill!!