|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
Dirk Been, Pulau Tiga's 23 year-old Wisconsin dairy farmer, became the fifth castaway voted off at tonight's Tribal Council. Many of Tagi tribe saw Dirk as an asset, for his physical ability. In fact, Dirk's position on the island was seemingly safe just days ago. His spectacular performances in Immunity and Reward Challenges were sorely needed by Tagi. Their tribal membership has dwindled with every passing visit to the Tribal Council. Tagi are older and slower than their Pagong rivals, and as a result more susceptible to the physical nature of Challenges.
But the young man's frequent expressions of his devout religious beliefs rankled a few of his fellow tribe members. "It's not that I'm against his faith or nothing," noted Tagi's Susan Hawk. "But he spends all day reading his Bible and praying."
Some members of the tribe had another, more concerned, motive for voting Dirk off. "He's getting way too skinny. If he loses much more weight he'll really be in trouble," Richard Hatch pointed out.
Day 13: State of Affairs at Tagi and Pagong
But Tagi has been successful catching fish, which has given the tribe confidence and an energy boost. Pagong -- who have caught small fish, but otherwise subsist on a sparse diet of Malaysian Field Rats -- are lacking.
In fact, with the exception of Pagong's "cheerleader" Jenna, Pagong were looking listless and lethargic before the fifth Immunity Challenge. And while Pagong managed to prevail, Tagi felt confident enough in their fishing ability to let their top athlete go at a time when they might need him most. Pagong's membership now outnumbers Tagi's by a majority of six to five.
Choose Your Weapon
Joel hits a bulls-eye for PagongIf not for the Choose Your Weapon Reward Challenge, Pagong would have been in dire straits. Their low energy was obvious to Tagi when the two gathered at Ramis Beach for a blowdart-slingshot-spear throwing competition. The winning team would receive fresh fruit, a source of simple sugar and vitamins Pagong sorely needed.
The first stage of the competition was a draw, with Sean and Jenna each hitting several of the fresh fruit targets. Pagong won the second stage, with Gretchen showing amazing accuracy with the slingshot and besting Richard.
The competition came down to the spear throw. From a distance of thirty feet, Joel and Sue would throw at a man-sized target. Five throws. Closest to the bulls-eye would be the winner.
And while Sue gave Joel a run for his money, the Arkansas financial adviser put her away on his final toss. Joel won not only baskets of fresh fruit but also the surprise reward of three egg-laying chickens. "I'm going to name them breakfast, lunch and dinner," Jenna quickly joked.
Pagongs victory feastAll that extra energy paid off. The next day Pagong won another challenge, Shipwrecked.
And that was the end for the dairy farmer. Dirk was voted off.
Nicknames floated around the island almost as soon as the castaways stepped ashore. Truck driver Sue's distinctive Midwest twang earned her the moniker "Fargo." Nature-boy Greg became Mowgli. Rich became Baloo, after "the Jungle Book's" amiable, paternal jungle bear.
Where Do They Go?
Where does a castaway go after being voted off? The path leads directly into the jungle, and expelled castaways have to be careful not to step on double-lipped kraits in the darkness. A hundred yards down the path is the confessional booth, where they spend a last few minutes talking about their time on Pulau Tiga - hopes, fears, regrets, dreams. After the confessional, it's several hundred yards more into the jungle before the trail opens up onto a beach. A single boat waits to take them back to civilization.
"Alliance" is the name of the game. Small groups of castaways are banding together to ensure island longevity, pledging not to vote one another off. Tagi alliance members are Richard, Kelly, and Sue. Over on Pagong, Joel and Gervase have bonded. Greg and Colleen's blossoming romance has become a mini-alliance unto itself.
Sean and Dirk had formed an alliance. Now, with Dirk gone, Sean is vulnerable.
Being the island's only doctor has its drawbacks. Not only is Sean viewed as cerebral, but his theories on intellect ("Kenniff's Intelligence Pyramid") and which fellow castaways are worthy of winning the million dollars has rankled more than a few members of Tagi.
However, Sean's wit and knack for conversation have also endeared him to Tagi. Amiability in good conditions and bad, hungry or well-fed, is his hallmark.
Sue and Kelly have become very close. Sue is a maternal, calming presence to the often rebellious Kelly. The two spend long hours talking, washing clothes in the surf, and working on the Tagi shelter together.
On Pagong, Gretchen has become enamored of Greg for almost the same reason. The mother of two from Tennessee says Greg reminds her of her 14-year old son, whom she misses terribly.
Sue Hawk trivia: has a black panther tattoo climbing up her back, gets up and works out at 2:45 am back home, and has (furtively) made love inside Disney World.
Spirit of Survival
Gretchen has a potent combination of intellect and outdoor smarts. Her survival skills were so incredible when she attended the U.S.Air Force' survival school that she was awarded the Cadre Award by her fellow classmates, as the person "most exemplifying the spirit of survival."
Take a close look at Gretchen's long-sleeved khaki shirt. Those funny squiggles on the back are actually stick figures of the children from her preschool class back home. The students used a marker to draw themselves, then one of Gretchen's co-workers carefully went over the drawings with needle and thread, stitching a keepsake and inspiration durable enough for island living.