|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
Survivor is back, and on day three, Debb Eaton, a 45-year-old corrections officer, became the first Survivor to be voted out of the Outback.
Survivor's premise is simple: Abandon sixteen average Americans, chosen from all walks of life, in the middle of one of the most unforgiving places on earthâ€”the Australian Outback. Every three days, the Survivors must gather to vote someone out of the tribe. The lone Survivor at the end wins one million dollars.
DH-C4 Royal Australian Military AircraftIt began with an unforgettable plane ride aboard a DH-C4 Royal Australian Military aircraft. As the plane bounced up and down to a destination in the middle of nowhere, 16 men and women quickly realized they were in for the adventure of a lifetime. "The moment I stepped off that plane I was like, uh oh, this place is going to be tough. I knew we were in for it," noted Alicia Calaway, a personal trainer currently residing in New York City.
The Survivors were separated into two competing tribes: Kucha (derived from the Aboriginal word meaning "kangaroo") and Ogakor (derived from the Aboriginal word meaning "crocodile"). None of the contestants were allowed to speak to anyone until the aircraft had abandoned them; this way, the tribe members would be complete strangers to each other as they began building their respective tribal societies. Two crates of supplies were placed at the end of the airstrip. The Survivors were given only five minutes to salvage whatever they could carry and start a grueling 5-mile trek to their new camps.
The tribes split up and headed off in opposite directions to find their new homes. The camps were separated by four miles of treacherous terrain along the bank of the Herbert River in Northern Queensland, Australia. Finding these sites was the first unofficial challenge that the tribes endured. It was also the first opportunity for the tribe members to begin establishing relationships with each other; the group dynamics were quickly apparent.
The Hike to Camp
Quickly emerging as the Kucha tribe's vocal leader, Debb Eaton, a 45-year-old corrections officer at a male prison facility in New Hampshire, was one of the first to take charge. Some followed, while others became quickly annoyed. Kimmi Kappenberg, a 28-year-old Long Island bartender, was the first to bark back when Debb gave direction. Also taking charge was Michael Skupin, a father and software publisher from Michigan who began vying for the position of alpha male by attempting to carry the heavier load of supplies.
Meanwhile, the Ogakor tribe was having their own difficulties finding their new camp. Keith Famie, a professional chef from Detroit, ran ahead on a reconnaissance mission (locals call it a "Recky") to locate their tribe's beach. (Each beach was designated by a flag bearing the tribe's name and a canoe.) Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey, the eldest member of Ogakor, not wanting to show any signs of tiring, blurted out, "Never let 'em see you sweat." Kel Gleason, a U.S. Army Intelligence Officer, began rubbing his tribe members the wrong way with his militant method of communication.
After arriving at their new home, the Kucha tribe plunged into the river as a sign of celebration and solidarity. However, the celebration grew bittersweet when they realized their wet clothes were going to make for a very uncomfortable night. With no dry clothes and the need to build shelter before dark, the reality of their environment began to sink in.
Rodger Bingham, although frustrated by Michael's commanding approach to the construction of the shelter, decided it was best not to provoke the situation. "I have built plenty of homes in my time, but sometimes, especially in this situation, it's better to just keep quiet."
As night fell, Kucha bundled together to keep warm, and conversation turned to Kimmi. Her boisterous nature and liberal ideas about sex were the topic of discussion. Jeff Varner, still struggling with a headache and nausea, was not the only person irritated by Kimmi's piercing tone. Debb had this to say: "Kimmi is a happy-go-lucky person; nothing is taboo with her, dignity is irrelevant."
Meanwhile, at the Ogakor camp, 26-year-old Texan Colby Donaldson used a huge Texas state flag (his Luxury Item) as the roof of the structure. Said Colby: "When I wake up in the morning, there are two things I'm thankful for: One that I'm alive and the second that I'm a Texan."
However, tensions began to build almost immediately between certain tribemates. Jerri Manthey, the self-assured 30-year-old actress from Los Angeles, clashed with Keith about how the flag was to be positioned and about the location of the shelter.
Day 2: Fire was of utmost importance. At Ogakor, Keith was especially relentless in his attempt to start fire. A professional chef, he wanted to prove his worth and show that he is a necessary commodity to keep around.
Friendships were forming. Mitchell Olson, Amber Brkich, Jerri, and Colby had the most in common and spent most of the day learning more about each other, while Tina Wesson charmed her way into the hearts of the tribe and took on the role of den mother.
At Kucha, hunger was met by excitement when the tribe found figs to eat. To their disappointment, they were bug-infested, although they decided to eat them anyway.
Both tribes' inability to start fire added to the significance of the evening's challenge, at which the winning tribe would receive fire in the form of waterproof matches. More importantly, however, the winning tribe would receive immunity from attending the first Tribal Council, at which the losing tribe is forced to vote one its members out of the tribe.
The contestants arrived at the Challenge Beach to meet host Jeff Probst, who explained the rules of the challenge: Negotiate as a team through various obstacles while keeping your tribal torch lit. The first team to ignite the 30-foot tower situated at the end of the course wins. Ogakor quickly took the lead, but it was a decisive victory once Kucha's raft flipped over in the river, extinguishing their flame. Team spirit prevailed, however, as they decided to finish the race nevertheless. But Debb, defeated by the loss, merely sat on the raft while her fellow tribe members pulled it to the finish.
And so the victorious Ogakor received the Immunity Idolâ€”and fireâ€”and returned to their camp. They would be safe for another three days. Kucha would have to return for another cold and dark night, and the next day make the dangerous hike to Tribal Council.
The Kucha tribe discuss their first three days with Jeff ProbstWith the dreaded vote looming over them, the Kucha tribe began strategizing amongst its own. Debb informed Alicia and Rodger that Jeff didn't want to stay because he was too sick to continue. Unbeknownst to Debb, Alicia relayed this information to Jeff, who vehemently denied ever having made such a declaration. Michael suggested that it could be Rodger who'd be voted out because it would be difficult for anyone older than 50 to follow through on the challenges.
But, ultimately, in a 7-1 vote, it was Debb Eaton who became the first Survivor in the Australian Outback to have her flame extinguished. Said Jeff Probst, "The tribe has spoken." ( Debb is voted out. )
It's bad enough to sleep with few comforts in the middle of nowhere, but that's not all that deprived the Survivors of their sleep.
Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey had to deal with an addiction while in the Outback.