Season 11: Episode 1 - THE GAME IS ON IN GUATEMALA: Jim Lynch First Voted Out
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA, THE MAYA EMPIRE has begun. On night three, the ragged Nakum tribe was forced to make the dreaded trek to Tribal Council, where, in a 7-1 vote, they ousted Jim Lynch, the 63-year-old fire department retiree from Northglenn, Colorado, who injured himself during the grueling Immunity Challenge. Jim, the oldest tribe member, became the first casualty of SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA. Shortly after having his torch extinguished, Jim delivered his final words, generously adding, "I wish them good luck and I hope no one gets hurt."

Already separated into two tribes--Yaxha wearing blue and Nakum wearing yellow--the new Survivors walked into the wild jungle of Guatemala for the adventure of a lifetime. Host Jeff Probst awaited them amongst the ancient ruins of the Maya civilization, where he explained that the 16 Survivors would receive an extra tool to help them through the game. Just then, Bobby Jon Drinkard and Stephenie LaGrossa appeared atop the ruins. These two favorites from SURVIVOR: PALAU would return for a second chance at the million-dollar prize. Bobby Jon would become a member of Nakum, and Stephenie would join the happily waiting Yaxha tribe. "I cried. I couldn't help but just cry. She's such an inspiration!" exclaimed Brianna Varela about seeing Stephenie.

While the tribes were still reeling from the welcome additions, Jeff Probst informed them of another shocker: a brutal 11-mile jungle race was to start immediately. The stakes were high, as the winning tribe would get both flint to make fire and the right to live at the better of the two camps. The tribes quickly grabbed their maps and provisions and set off through the dense Guatemalan jungle. "The last time I hiked 11-miles was never" chirped an enthusiastic Brandon Bellinger. Nakum took an early lead, while Yaxha trailed due to navigational errors by both Stephenie and Gary Hogeboom.

The thick jungle began to take its toll as a thorn-covered tree fell on Blake Towsley of Nakum. Reeling in pain as darkness fell, both tribes' worst fears were realized: they were going to spend the night in the middle of the jungle. Amy O'Hara of Yaxha was shocked, admitting she had never been camping before. "I looked up I saw a monkey going from tree to tree." Rousted before daylight by Brian Corridan, the trailing Yaxha tribe was out of the blocks first, as they surprisingly caught up with Nakum. In a chaotic scramble, Nakum managed to retake a meager lead, but Yaxha was right on their tail.

Dehydrated from the grueling hike, Bobby Jon struggled to move his legs as he tried to keep up the pace. With the Yaxha tribe closing fast, Nakum staggered across the finish line first to win the better camp, amongst the ancient ruins, and the crucial flint to make fire. The dejected and exhausted Yaxha tribe was sent paddling off, thirsty and fireless, to find their less desirable camp.

Instead of victorious celebrations for Nakum, four of their five men were retching from dehydration. The women and Brandon Bellinger, on the other hand, seemed to have endured the race unscathed. Margaret Bobonich, nervous about the impending Immunity Challenge, tried to nurse the men back to good health. Meanwhile, Cindy Hall observed, "It's a bittersweet victory. Because we won, we got there first, but some of us are in such bad shape. If we lose them, it's not even worth having all this stuff."

The tribes reconvened for the Immunity Challenge, and Jeff Probst explained the rules. Using their canoes, the tribes would paddle out to buoys in the lake to retrieve a torch hung from each buoy. Racing back to shore, four members would run to the top of the hill and begin hauling up the canoe with a rope. The remaining tribe members would rotate logs underneath the canoe, allowing it to roll up the hill, much like the technique the Maya used to move large items. Once the canoe passed a finish line, each tribe's remaining member would run to the top of the hill with the torch and light the victory cauldron. First tribe to light the cauldron wins Immunity.

The race started out neck and neck as the tribes paddled out to the buoys. Neither tribe could outplay the other as both headed back to shore and began hauling their boats uphill. After Nakum struggled with their boat, however, Yaxha began mounting a lead. Fending off a last-gasp push from Nakum, Yaxha crossed the finish line, lit their cauldron and seized Immunity for their tribe. The loss would send Nakum to their first Tribal Council, where they must vote one of their own out of the tribe.

As if all the vomiting weren't enough at Nakum, Jim revealed that he snapped his bicep during the Immunity Challenge, adding injury to insult. After hearing of Jim's injury, Brandon, the lone healthy male, pondered, "We might send off one of these crippled, broke-down guys. I mean, I'm having doubts if half these people are going to make it."

As Tribal Council loomed, the tribe continued to agonize over who could take the physical rigors of the game. In the end, Jim's injury proved too severe to overcome as he became the first casuality of SURVIVOR: GUATEMALA and was ousted from his tribe.