I’m back from Spring Break, and this week we’re heading to the wetlands of Kopacki Rit, Croatia. Croatia is a country that I’ve always heard is lovely, but this hell-hole is home to scads of mosquitoes, pissed-off wild boars and golden jackals who wanna eat your booty.
Let’s meet this week’s survivalists:
Age: 33 years old
Occupation: Survival/ReWilding Mentor
Current Residence: Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
Relationship Status: Married
Survival Skills: Primitive Bushcraft, Physical Conditioning, Eco-Literacy, and Self-Development
In his bio on Discovery.com, Lee describes himself as part man, part monkey — or maybe the mutant love child of Tarzan, Russell Brand, Bruce Lee and Peter Pan. He grew up in a London hippy commune and ran with a pack of wild children.
He’s always felt most comfortable in nature and is putting his training as a psychotherapist to work in an unexpected way as he brings psychology and bushcraft together for re-wilding, which is helping people be at home in the wild.
With his wife Gina, he owns and operates Bluegum Bushcraft — running the ReWild Your Child camps for kids, teens and families, and the Wild Heart programs for adults. Tragically, in 2013, Lee and Gina’s 3-year-old daughter, Blaise, died of cancer. She was just as likely to be wearing fairy wings and a tutu, as being caked in mud or riding bareback on a pony. How tragic that he lost his beautiful child.
Initial PSR: 7.6 out of 10.0
Age: 35 years old
Occupation: Field Data Technician/Biology Student
Current Residence: Stites, Idaho
Relationship Status: Single
Survival Skills: Shelter Building, Field Plant Identification, Tracking Skills and Snare Implementation
Stacey was born and raised in Southern California, but eventually got tired of people and moved to a town in rural Idaho with a relatively low population and continued her academic pursuits in the biological sciences. Stacey used a real-life experience to fuel her interest in survival.
She is also a single mom to two kids: Michael, age 12, and Mallory, age 8 and attends Lewis Clark State College working on a Biological Science undergraduate degree.
Initial PSR: 6.2 out of 10.0.
They’ve been given a primitive hand-still kid (essentially a stick and piece of wood), Stacey’s survival item is a Nepalese Kukri (a long, curved knife) and Lee has a vessel to boil water. “I thought I’d get the part started, and bring some pot,” he jokes.
It’s so hot and they’re both so pale, that they cover their bodies with mud to offer protection from the sun’s scorching rays.
Once they’ve found their camp site, Lee is confident that he can start a fire with the hand drill. The only thing that he succeeds in doing is tearing up his hands.
Lee comes up with an outlandish plan to essentially bury himself in the sand and cover his face with leaves to keep away the mosquitoes. It doesn’t work, and they spend the night walking around camp to keep the mosquitoes from landing on them.
That night, the tragic passing of Blaise comes up, and Lee’s emotions are so raw that he cries.
In the light of day, Stacey and Lee work together to make fire. It’s a triumphant moment that both get to enjoy, and once they’ve got their billy boiling; they enjoy delicious tastes of water.
Then Lee builds a fish trap using sticks and leaves. It’s primitive, but it can’t be any worse than the baskets that seem to never work.
Lee checks his fish trap and success! A tiny fish. Lee wraps up Nemo and presents it to his partner. Once they stoke the fire, they’re going to enjoy a tasty fish and nettle stew.
Tragedy strikes when the pot tips and spills on Stacey, who was napping near the campfire. Her hip and backside are scalded and covered with 3rd degree burns. The production crew hears her screams and she’s quickly rushed to the medical tent. The production’s doctor urges her to head to a hospital for proper treatment, but Stacey refuses and returns to camp wearing a large bandage with net panties. On the plus side, Stacey is no longer naked, but she risks sepsis and death.
Lee is thrilled at his partner’s return. But how is she going to keep that wound clean?!?
That night, jackals surround their camp and entertain them with spooky brays. It’s one of the most terrifying sounds I’ve ever heard on Naked and Afraid. Lee howls back at their neighbors.
Stacey is in agonizing pain and hopes that she can get some protein to help heal her singed flesh. Lee heads down to check their fish trap and find a large fish dead in their trap. Fish stew is served! Lee sums it up best saying, “It tastes like angel flesh marinated in ambrosia.”
Stacey uses chewed moss as a poultice on her burn (which looks SO nasty) in an attempt to provide relief.
The burn is infected and Stacey is feeling tingling in her leg. If the infection spreads, she risks losing her leg; so she makes the tearful decision to tap out of Naked and Afraid. She’s carried out on a litter and I hope that she heals quickly.
Once Stacey leaves, Lee falls into a funk and lies around for a few days. He seems to get caught up in his own head, as time ticks by. There is nothing to keep his mind off of the death of his daughter.
Lee is so messed up in the head.
Lee cries uncontrollably; completely consumed with the agony of solitude, and the memory of his daughter.
After the catharsis of a good cry, Lee feels confident that he and his wife should try for another child. He still mourns Blaise, but is using this survival experience to remind him that there is plenty of life and love left in the world.
Dawn breaks and Lee says that it feels like Christmas. Lee coats himself with a new layer of mug, burns his bedding and sets out on his extraction journey. Lee veers away from the sun-drenched river side and heads into the forest, where the temperature is only in the 50s. When he emerges on the edge of the Danube River, he now has to swim through the frigid water to a rescue boat (which is nowhere in sight.) Finally, a boat arrives and he’s scooped from the chilly waters and is happily given a towel. And he howls.
After 21 days, Lee has lost 18 pounds. Lee looks so gaunt that I would have thought that he’d lost more. His PSR rose from 7.6 to 8.4 out of 10.0
Stacey lost 5 pounds before her terrible burns forced her to tap out, and her PSR remained 6.2 out of 10.0.
Want more Naked and Afraid?
Recap: Naked and Afraid Amazonia (Episode 3)
5 reasons I would die on Naked and Afraid.
Recap: Naked and Afraid Canada (Episode 2)
Recap: Naked and Afraid Alabama (Season Premiere)
Naked and Afraid > Discovery > Sundays at 10pmET/PT, 9pm CT.