by Ashley Thompson
In the Ecuadorian cloud forest with daily rain, we have two new survivalists begging for clothing and safety.
Giovanna is from AZ and is a bartender with her husband's Army survival book. She doesn't have any hands-on experience but a lot of studying under her belt. Her PSR is 6.2. Wes, from Texas, likes adventure sports and the outdoors. His PSR begins at 7.3. Hands-on experience must count for a lot.
Apparently it's a little chilly, but neither are awkward about their first meeting. Instead, they just mean business.... pulling out a mosquito net, fire starter and a map from their satchels. Mother nature here drops over 130 inches of rain a year. They are at an elevation high in the clouds which means cold temperatures, which means risks of hypothermia.
Day 1 and Wes is already cutting himself with the machete and Giovanna is talking about what she has learned on YouTube. Um.... this may be a long 21 days. Yet they get fire on the first try... now to keep enough wood dry... which will be almost impossible given how much it rains here. But they have found food, or so they thought. Their fruit tree didn't provide anything ripe so they're out of luck today. But then they find fruits! She thinks it's a lemon, he thinks it's an orange. Um... at least it's a citrus? Or maybe that ginormous snail will taste better than the bitter fruits? Have we seen snail eaten on N & A before?? Well, it "looks like pork" and "taste like pork and snail". Um... yum?
Wes is a go-getter and it's taking a toll on his mind and body. While his projects and ideas may come to fruition, at some point it will be just as important to sit down and conserve energy. Even when he bends over to get the fire ants off of him, he gets dizzy and loses his balance. On his way to the lemon tree he falls in the creek and Giovanna thinks he's burning more calories than what the citrus is providing. No more 5 mile hikes when you're not consuming anything. A few hours after her lecture, Wes wakes Giovanna up to tell her that he's considering tapping out. Giovanna's main concern is not having anyone to cuddle with at night... FOR WARMTH!!! Get your mind right!
At first Wes decides to stay but once he starts talking about the mental part of the challenge he immediately requests to tap out. Only 10 minutes between decisions.
It's Day 16 and Gio is all alone. In cold rain. And her fire has died. All she has is the mosquito netting and a will to make it to the end. But the producers have to intervene because the river has reached it's limits. In order to keep everyone safe, including the crew, they force her to evacuate. They have to cross the river on foot, with people on each side holding two ropes that they walk in-between. Consider this your extraction, Gio.
Wes' PSR goes down to 5.2. Giovanna's PSR remains at a 6.2 and she is down 20 pounds. But to be honest, that's some bologna right there. She goes 19 days, 5 without a partner, no hands on experience before the challenge, FORCED to EVACUATE and her PSR stays the same?!?!
Photo by: Discovery Channel