Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Having to suffer through their second consecutive Tribal Council, the Ulong tribe banded together to vote out a member who appeared to have lost her will. Tired and depleted, Ashlee Ashby, the 22-year-old student from Easley, South Carolina, refused to eat or join her tribe in celebrating the welcome addition of fire to camp. Ashlee's quiet detachment worried her Ulong tribemates into casting the six votes that eliminated her from SURVIVOR: PALAU. After watching her torch snuffed out, Ashlee simply admitted, "I think they all sensed that I was ready to go home."

RATS! Upon arriving at their new camp, the Koror tribe was far from happy. Due to an outrigger capsize that lost them their Reward, the members of the tribe were not excited about building a shelter. To make matters worse, the castaways found their camp infested with rats. "I know it's mind over matter, and I know if you don't mind it, it doesn't matter, but I mind, and it matters!" whined Janu Tornell, the 39-year-old Vegas showgirl from Las Vegas, Nevada.

To add to Koror's discomfort, the skies above the camp opened up and sent down a torrent of cold rain. The shelter was not completed as the rain fell on the shivering members of Koror. "The rain was worse than the rats, because you could feel every rain droplet, and it was freezing. That moment, so far, has actually been the worst since we've been on the island," complained Coby Archa, the 32-year-old hairstylist from Athens, Texas.

Waking up the morning after their first Tribal Council, the Ulong tribe set to work. They decided that all decisions would be made by a committee with no elected leader. Having received three votes at Tribal Council, Angie Jakusz, the 24-year-old bartender from New Orleans, Louisiana, felt at risk and stayed in the background by listening more than she spoke. Angie explained, "I don't want to be too pushy or forthcoming. I wanna just make myself a valuable asset to this tribe. If I don't, I'll probably be on the chopping block again."

As the tribes met for the Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst explained that this Challenge would involve balance. The players were to run through a "gauntlet" bridge, requiring them to cross several floating obstacles over water in order to collect flags on the other side. As they were crossing, two opposing tribemembers would be hurling swinging bags of sand at them all the while. If knocked off, the player would be forced to go back to the beginning. The first tribe to collect all 10 of their flags would win a Reward consisting of fins, mask and a Hawaiian fishing sling.

The competition got off to a furious start as Coby and James Miller, the 33-year-old steelworker from Mobile, Alabama, negotiated the course despite the opposing tribe's attempt to sandbag them off. Both tribes found it difficult to complete the course without falling into the water. However, Ulong jumped out to a sizeable lead as Katie Gallagher, the 29-year-old advertising executive from Merced, California, had great difficulty finishing the rope swing.

Mastering the course with ease, Angie collected flag after flag for her Ulong tribe in what was turning out to be a rout. After receiving some tutelage from Willard Smith, the 57-year-old lawyer from Bellevue, Washington, Katie finally made it across the rope swing. But it was too little, too late, as Ulong eventually placed the tenth and final flag into place in order to secure the much coveted Reward.

Invigorated from their Challenge victory, the Ulong tribe wasted no time using their Reward. As some members built a fire, others took to the outrigger to catch fish. Hailed as a hero from the Challenge, Angie gladly accepted the congratulations from her tribemates, knowing that she may finally be off the chopping block. "She went into her Challenge and dominated--I mean, completely dominated--and it totally changed the whole morale of our whole tribe," marveled Bobby Jon Drinkard, the 27-year-old waiter from Troy, Alabama.

After returning to camp from their crushing defeat, the members of Koror decided they would search for the Reward they had previously lost to the sea. As they paddled out into the rough waters, hope began to dissipate into prayer.

After battling the angry currents, Ian Rosenberger, the 23-year-old dolphin trainer from Key Largo, Florida, miraculously emerged with the crate of flint. As Ian put it, "As I got more and more tired, it became more and more difficult to get to the bottom. It became more and more difficult to tread water, and there were a couple times that I was underwater and I didn't know if I was going to make it."

Returning from their fishing expedition with a giant clam, the castaways of Ulong cooked up a clam soup that satisfied the hunger that had been gnawing for the last four days. Neither eating nor joining her tribe to relish in the Reward, Ashlee sadly kept to herself. It was evident to her tribemates that Ashlee was losing her will. "The way we're going to advance ourselves is be a strong team all the way through. And if we have someone slowing us down, I hope that that doesn't bring down our team," noted Jeff Wilson, the 21-year-old personal trainer from Ventura, California.

As the night grew dark and cold at both camps, some castaways of SURVIVOR: PALAU absorbed warmth from the body heat of others. At Ulong, Kimberly Mullen, the 25-year-old graduate student from Huber Heights, Ohio, cozied up to Jeff, while at Koror, Gregg Carey, the 28-year-old business consultant from Chicago, Illinois, snuggled close to Jennifer Lyon, the 32-year-old nanny from Encino, California, and both slept without a care in the world.

After learning Morse Code on the fly, the tribes assembled for the Immunity Challenge, and Jeff Probst explained that they would be tested on brains and brawn. Two heavy foot lockers, filled with mess kits, were resting on the ocean floor. Each tribe must swim out to a marker buoy, dive down, find a rope attached to the foot locker, then pull it 50 feet across the ocean floor. Once the foot locker reaches the start point, the tribes must unlatch the lockers, thus releasing the mess kits. Each tribe member would retrieve one mess kit, then swim back to the beach. Each mess kit had a Morse code letter inscribed on it. The first tribe to decipher the Morse code and spell out the mystery word would win the crucial Immunity Challenge.

Koror fell behind at the start due to Willard's slow swimming, but when it came down to pulling the foot locker across the ocean's sandy floor, Tom Westman, the 41-year-old firefighter from Sayville, New York, proved to be a warrior as he pulled with vigor. Ulong simply couldn't get their foot locker to move despite efforts from the whole tribe, save for Kimberly, who never even attempted the task. While Ulong continued to struggle with the foot locker, Koror opened theirs and raced to shore in order to solve the Morse Code puzzle.

With ease, the members of Koror spelled out the word "Immunity" in Morse Code as Ulong watched from the water. Koror won its second Immunity Challenge in a row, sending Ulong to yet another Tribal Council.

After returning to camp from their decisive defeat, Ulong had the unenviable task of deciding whom to vote off at Tribal Council. It was agreed that the weakest tribe member would be the one to go, but the exactly who was weakest became an issue. Some argued that Kimberly was weakest because she did not even try in the Challenge, while others noted that Ashlee had clearly lost her will and would be of no further use to the tribe. The tribe was split into even factions, thus presenting the very real possibly of a tie.

As Stephenie LaGrossa, the 25-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, put it, "It's a complete mess, because actually now it looks like four people are voting against Kim and four people are voting against Ashlee, so we're going to have a tie. I don't even know what happens in a tie."

In the end, Stephenie didn't have to find out what happens in a tie, as the Ulong tribe banded together to vote out Ashlee in a six-vote decision. Ashlee's emotional withdrawal concerned her tribemates enough to make her the second castaway voted out of SURVIVOR: PALAU.