|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
After a torrential rainstorm caused flash floods to wipe out their camp, the Barramundi Tribe had a surprise of its own in store: Amber Brkich, the 22-year-old administrative assistant from Beaver, Pennsylvania, and former Ogakor tribe member, was voted out of the tribe. The most reserved of the group, especially after her friend Jerri Manthey had been voted out of the tribe, Amber hoped to go unnoticed and avoid the vote. But Tina Wesson, the personal nurse from Tennessee, saw through her strategy and said, "Amber can't survive by just flying below the radarâ€¦. She has proved to me that she's a tougher girl than I thought." And so Amber became the 11th Survivor to be voted out of the Outback, leaving only five others in the running for the title of "sole Survivor" and the million-dollar prize.
Living Remains Primal
No one said that Outback living was going to be easy. Just ask Elisabeth Filarski, the 23-year-old footwear designer from Newton, Massachusetts, who said, "This game, in the past three days, has become drastically primal. We are just beings out here that need food." With their new supply of rice replenished a day earlier in a swap for their shelter, Tina Wesson expressed a sense of relief: "That rice gave me hope that I wasn't going to have live out here starving to death for the next 11 days, which, to be honest, that's what I thought was going to occur." Little did she know, however, what nature had in store for them.
Reward Challenge: End of the Line
"The next challenge is a big one for me. I need to win. I don't care how hungry or weak I am; I need to win some food." Those were Elisabeth's words just before the Barramundi Tribe met host Jeff Probst at the Reward Challenge, a rope course designed to be confusing, with four checkpoints along the way. The first person to make it to each checkpoint, with a carabiner attached to a rope at all times, and then cross to the finish line wins the reward: a horseback ride with Australian stockmen (cattle ranchers) to a ranch, where the winner will spend the night, enjoying hot food, Budweiser beer, a cot, and breakfast the next morning.
Amber enjoyed a lead during much of the race, but ultimately, Colby Donaldson passed her on his way to the finish line and to the reward. 52-year-old Rodger Bingham performed a respectable third-place finish.
The Cowboy and the Storm
Feeling right at home saddled on a horse, Texan native Colby Donaldson trotted off with the stockmen through the rough terrain to the camp. Ten minutes into the ride, however, the unpredictable Outback weather struck again. A vicious storm ripped the land, causing flash floods, while strong winds pelted golf ball-sized hail upon them. With the horses spooked by ominous blasts of thunder, the riders slowed their pace for safety, and waited out the storm. Amazed by the storm's power, Colby later stated, "It really looked as though there was water coming from every direction. It was the worst storm I have ever seen."
Upon arriving at the Cowboy Camp, Colby was treated to a warm meal consisting of beef stew, Damper (Australian Stockman Bread), and beer. Sitting by a warm fire with a full stomach while the stockmen entertained him with a song, Colby could only wonder what his fellow tribe members had to endure during the storm.
Disaster at Barramundi
While Colby headed to the Cowboy Camp for his reward, the rest of the tribe began their trek back to Barramundi Beach. However, the storm-drenched group was delayed by a crossing that had become a raging river. Shocked by the size of the powerful rapids, Elisabeth exclaimed that "only an hour ago this was just a puddle!"
Weary of what was in store for his tribe, Rodger voiced his concern. "After seeing this, where we have our camp, it's called a dry creek bed. I doubt if it's dry right now." With the current too strong to cross, the tribe waited for the river to calm and contemplated what would be left of their camp.
Two hours later, the tribe finally arrived home, only to discover total devastation. The dry creek bed indeed was no more. The flood had destroyed their camp, and worse yet, their just-replenished supply of rice, for which they had earlier given up the cover to their shelter, had been swept away by the flood.
Even the animals in the Outback had a hard time dealing with the flood. How would the humans be able to endure this new development?
Quest for Rice
Later that night, Tina and Keith hiked down the river to see whether they could find anything that had been washed away. Miraculously, in the distant dark of night Keith spotted the rice tin, still sealed, caught in debris to the side of some fierce river rapids. Keith carefully negotiated his way across the river on a fallen log, where the current was extremely powerful. Meanwhile, Tina headed downstream and swam to the opposite side of the river to grab the rice tin. Keith met up with her, and the two carried the rice back to their thankful tribe, safe and sound. Said Tina, "We were very hungry, and there was nothing that was going to keep me from getting that rice can. It is survival of the fittest, and I want to eat."
But relief turned to despair when moments later the tribe realized that they had no fire; the storm had soaked their only supply of matches to such a degree that they could not light a fire. Rodger even wondered aloud whether one could eat rice raw. "Survivor is definitely real," he acknowledged, as the wet and hungry tribe huddled together for warmth and comfort during the difficult night. ( Keith and Tina rescue the rice. )
Calm after the Storm
The next morning, Colby awoke from a comfortable night's rest on a cot to devour a huge breakfast of bacon, eggs, beans, and even peanut butter. But it was with overwhelming guilt that Colby returned to Barramundi, realizing what his tribe had to endure the previous night while he enjoyed comfort and warmth. "It wiped everything out, including everybody's emotional steam," he realized.
After a tearful momentary reunion, Colby and the others quickly turned their attention to building a new shelter on higher ground in order to avoid another flood.
Immunity Challenge: Blue Plate Special
Host Jeff Probst explained the rules of the Immunity Challenge, "Blue Plate Special." Each person has three plates with his or her name on them hanging from a tree. Using a slingshot with macadamia nuts as the ammunition, each Survivor must try to break everyone else's plates before his or hers are entirely broken. The person with a plate still hanging at the end wins immunity.
Just as the reward challenge came down to Amber and Colby, the immunity challenge came down to Elisabeth and Colby. Any question that Colby might have become vulnerable as he had been isolated from his tribe while they endured the hardships of nature soon became moot: once again, an energized and well-rested Colby Donaldson in the last minute proved his dominance, winning his second consecutive immunity challenge.
With the inevitable vote just hours away, the tribe prepared themselves mentally. "Going to Tribal Council is not a fun thing to do. You have no real good reason of voting somebody off other than getting to the end," explained Keith Famie as he primed himself for the trek.
Amber and Colby voted for Rodger, but in the end it was Amber Brkich who was voted out by Elisabeth, Keith, Rodger, and Tina.
Tina Wesson is the group's finickiest eater. What does she think of the rice and fish they must eat in order to survive?
Just how fierce was that Outback storm? Rodger Bingham explains.