On Day 9, after a 4-2 vote, Hunter Ellis, the 33-year-old Federal Express pilot from La Jolla, California, was voted out of the tribe. Hunter's leadership was instrumental in the first few days of island life, but his will to survive in the wild surpassed his ability to survive the tribe. With Maraamu losing three consecutive Immunity Challenges, Hunter became the third person voted out of the tribe and off the Island. Having his torch extinguished, Hunter remembered his time on the Island and resentfully added, "I really don't understand the logic behind it right now. I was camping with a bunch of knuckle heads. Hang in there, Gina, I wish you guys the best of luck."
Tribal Council Aftermath
As the tension built after another Tribal Council, Maraamu returned to camp to hash out tribal differences. Feeling threatened by the 3 votes cast against her, Sarah Jones, the 24-year-old account manager from Newport Beach, California, confronted Hunter, demanding, "This morning when I woke up and you guys were already gone, I knew you were talking about me not working, when no one even bothered to wake me up. If you guys need me to do something, damn it, wake me up!" Sean Rector, the 30-year-old teacher from Harlem, New York, felt disrespected by the tribe's inability to communicate, leading him to complain to Hunter, "When you aren't communicating to me it's a form of disrespect, when you just assume that people are going to get up when you want to get up." Hunter felt aggravated by his tribe members' poor work ethic and stubborn attitudes, leading him to vent, "You know you signed on to do this survival game, but you still have to survive, otherwise you are just going to dwindle out, and you aren't going to have any energy."
Neleh and Paschal bondCold and wet from the previous night's storm, the weary Rotu tribe awoke, then happily agreed that fortifying the shelter was the tribe's main task of the day. Gabriel Cade, the 23-year-old bartender from Celo, North Carolina, noted, "There is something about this tribe. We get a lot of strength in the kind and the strong spirits that we give each other." With the contagious goodwill spreading through camp, Paschal English, the 57-year-old judge from Thomaston, Georgia, took a moment to reveal his new friendship with Neleh Dennis, the 21-year-old student from Layton, Utah: "Neleh, she just has that little 'pixie' look. Her vivaciousness just reminds me of my two daughters at home." Returning the compliment, Neleh expressed, "Paschal has the greatest heart. He is the father figure of the group. Of anybody on the whole team that I would have the toughest time voting off, it would be him."
The much-injured John CarrollAttempting to bring home food for his tribe, John Carroll, the 36-year-old registered nurse from Omaha, Nebraska, set out in the tribe's new fishing mask, snorkel and fins. His excursion was cut short when he suddenly surfaced, holding his hand in intense pain. He had been pricked by a sea urchin. Grimacing in pain and not wanting infection to spread, he claimed the only solution was a remedy he had heard about -- instructionsto have someone urinate on his hand to stop the swelling. He shouted, "I need somebody who has to pee, does anyone have to pee?" Running to the rescue, Paschal arrived to try and alleviate John's pain. KathyBut with the pressure on, Paschal couldn't perform, leading Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien, the 47-year-old real estate agent from Burlington, Vermont, to joke, "Paschal went out to pee, and yes he did have performance anxiety, and couldn't do it." Kathy then did her tribal duty, as she successfully helped John with his request. "At least I performed in the call of duty," she exclaimed.
Sleeping in a makeshift shelter and having to endure the cold, rainy nights weren't the only difficulties with which the castaways had to grapple -- the sand was filled with tiny bugs called"No Nos." As the Maraamu tribe sat together on the morning of Day 7, they noticed that their bodies were littered with bite marks. "They are about forty-five thousand times worse than mosquitoes and there is absolutely no cure for them. They are the most miserable things I have ever encountered in my life," complained Rob Mariano, the 26-year-old construction worker from Canton, Massachusetts. The tribe tried to amuse themselves with their daily "morning radio report" to add levity to what was an increasingly uncomfortable situation.
A Task at Hand - Rotu Falling Apart
Later, host Jeff Probst arrived at each camp, and instructed the tribes to build a raft using bamboo poles and other supplies he was providing. The raft had to be secure enough to row the tribe members for their next challenge. As the Rotu tribe unloaded the bamboo, Robert DeCanio, the 38-year-old limo driver from Queens, New York, injured his foot on a rock. Having sliced his foot open, Robert writhed in pain as John Carroll, the registered nurse from Omaha, Nebraska, treated the injury. "It's only pain. Pain is easy, life is hard," Robert preached. Hobbled by his injury, he proved his fortitude as he helped Gabriel take on the challenge of designing and constructing the raft.
As half of the Rotu tribe helped build, the others spent time searching for food. Turning over a rock in the shallow waters proved to John that, once again, life on the Island was not all fun and games. Aneel had taken a bite out of his finger. In immense pain and bleeding, John explained, "It lacerated the underside of my finger and it just ripped it open." Tammy Leitner, the 29-year-old crime reporter from Mesa, Arizona, later added, "Everything can change in a heart beat. John has gotten hurt twice today. Things change just like that out here."
Reward Challenge: Raft Rescue
The tribes met host Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge; he explained the rules of the Raft Rescue. Using their newly constructed rafts, they had to race each other along a criss-crossed water course, unhooking and picking up moored supply boxes along the way. The first tribe to successfully complete the course and touch the floating dock with the raft would win. The reward - - either a week's ration of rice, or blankets, pillows and lanterns for comfort.
The race began as both tribes paddled toward their first floating supply box. They were tied for much of the race until Hunter dived deep into the ocean to unhook one of the tethered boxes. He brought it to the raft, and gave Maraamu a small lead. As the Rotu raft cut through the water with more ease, they battled back to regain the lead and never looked back, winning the Challenge, and choosing the creature comforts -- pillows, blankets and lanterns -- as their reward.
Aftermath of Losing
Returning to camp with morale at an all-time low, the defeated Maraamu tribe pondered what their problem was. Hunter assessed the situation and confirmed, "Everyone is asking what is the problem and I don't have the heart to say it. Winning is an attitude that you carry around, it's not something you turn on and off before you go to a Challenge. If we were working together to accomplish things around camp first, the basis of teamwork would begin."
Immunity Challenge: Coconut Maze Race
Reconvening with host Jeff Probst, the two tribes listened carefully as he explained the rules of the next Challenge. Five people from each tribe would participate in this challenge -- four people on the ropes, and one Caller. Using a system of pulleys, the tribe members would heed their caller's instructions and either raise or lower an oversized wooden box that contained a maze. Inside that box would be placed a coconut which was to be maneuvered through the giant maze and into a hole in the center. Once the coconut was in the hole, the tribe members would rotate positions. The first tribe to successfully negotiate the maze three times would win.
Maraamu began with an early lead, as Vecepia Towery, the 36-year-old office manager from Portland, Oregon, barked out orders to her tribe. Rotu wasn't far behind, but in the last second the confident tribe took back the lead and once again were victorious, winning their fifth straight challenge and propelling the defeated Maraamu tribe back to Tribal Council.
Playing All Sides
As the tribe prepared for the upcoming vote, Rob formulated his strategy. "It is important for me to have people on my team that are going to do what I tell them to do without knowing that I am telling them to do it." Taking his time to chat with each person on the tribe, Rob slowly put his strategy to work. Quoting from the movie "The Godfather," he chimed in, "Fear, it's a tough principle, but fear keeps people loyal. If they're afraid they have something to lose, they will do what they are told to do."
And so, Rob's strategy played itself out as the Maraamu tribe voted out Hunter Ellis, the 33-year-old Federal Express pilot from La Jolla, California, in a 4-2 vote. Hunter became the third consecutive person to be voted out of the Maraamu tribe.