Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Thirty-nine days, twenty new castaways, a new twist to the game: SURVIVOR: PALAU has begun. On night three, the newly formed Ulong tribe was forced to make their first dreaded paddle to Tribal Council, where they voted out Jolanda Jones, the 39-year-old lawyer from Houston, Texas. Viewed as having a strong personality, Jolanda immediately stood out amongst her tribemates, who thought her attempts to become Ulong's leader were too severe. Upon leaving Tribal Council, Jolanda remarked, "I don't think that I would do anything differently. I don't regret anything that happened out here."

Aboard a boat in the clear waters surrounding the paradise island nation of Palau, twenty strangers from different walks of life eagerly awaited the chance to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in pursuit of the coveted million-dollar prize. These Survivors were awestruck to hear of the colorful wildlife, incredible underwater world and remnants of World War II that would be their environment.

Out at sea, host Jeff Probst shocked the Survivors by explaining that the game had already begun as the first male and female castaways to reach the beach would claim early Immunity. Surprised they weren't even divided into tribes yet, the twenty Survivors immediately paddled their large outrigger toward the beach that would serve as their camp.

Looking to get a leg up on their fellow castaways, Stephenie LaGrossa, the 25-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Libby, the 23-year-old marketing associate from Dallas, Texas, leaped off the raft in an attempt to swim to shore. This proved to be a mistake as these two misguided Survivors watched the other eighteen quickly pass them by in the boat.

As the outrigger reached close to shore, the Survivors dove into the water, and the race was on for which two would receive early Immunity. Jolanda and Ian Rosenberger, the 23-year-old dolphin trainer from Key Largo, Florida, were first to reach the shore and grab the prized Immunity necklaces, guaranteeing themselves Immunity at least for the moment.

Assessing the situation once the Survivors landed onshore, Gregg Carey, the 28-year-old business consultant from Chicago, Illinois, noted, "We're not a tribe. We don't have our buffs. We're just getting to know everyone's name. We don't have a clue what's happening next."

After drying off and introducing themselves to each other, the Palau castaways broke into groups of water gatherers and shelter builders. As they found the water well, the Survivors were elated to come across a bag filled with shoes. On the way back to camp, an early alliance formed between Angie Jakusz, the 24-year-old bartender from New Orleans, Louisiana and Coby Archa, the 32-year-old hairstylist from Athens, Texas, who both claimed to feel like outcasts from the rest of the crew. As Angie explained, "Me and Coby pretty much knew, when we saw each other, that we were going to be kindred to one another because we understood being different."

After their first full night in Palau, the twenty tribeless castaways awoke to Jeff Probst, who explained that Jolanda and Ian would hold their Immunity for only ten more minutes. He then instructed the crew to line up in order to be divided into tribes. Ian would choose a woman while Jolanda would choose a man, then the ones chosen would, in turn, chose a member of the opposite sex. This would continue until there was one woman and one man left, who would then immediately be eliminated from the game.

Like children choosing softball teams, the Palau Survivors started recruiting their tribemates. One by one, the castaways were assigned to a tribe or left standing unwanted, the threat of elimination hanging over them. An early deception occurred when Coby abandoned his pact with Angie by choosing Caryn Groedel, the 46-year-old civil rights attorney from Solon, Ohio, over his new friend. Tension mounted as only two men and two women remained. Caryn had to choose between Jonathan or Willard Smith, the 57-year-old lawyer from Bellevue, Washington. By picking Willard, Caryn sent Jonathan home. Then it was up to Ibrehem Rahman, the 27-year-old waiter from Birmingham, Alabama to choose between Wanda Shirk, the 55-year-old English teacher from Ulysses, Pennsylvania or Angie. By choosing Angie, Ibrehem in effect ousted Wanda.

With two castaways already gone, the eighteen remaining Survivors were left to encompass the two tribes deemed Ulong and Koror. The Ulong tribe would wear blue buffs and consist of Jolanda, Bobby Jon Drinkard, the 27-year-old waiter from Troy, Alabama, Stephenie, Angie, Jeff Wilson, the 21-year-old personal trainer from Ventura, California, Ibrehem, Kimberly Mullen, the 25-year-old graduate student from Huber Heights, Ohio, James Miller, the 22-year-old steelworker from Mobile, Alabama, and Ashlee Ashby, the 22-year-old student from Easley, South Carolina. The Koror tribe would wear brown buffs and include Ian, Katie Gallagher, the 29-year-old advertising executive from Merced, California, Tom Westman, the 41-year-old NYC firefighter from Sayville, New York, Janu Tornell, the 39-year-old Vegas showgirl from Las Vegas, Nevada, Gregg, Jennifer Lyon, the 32-year-old nanny from Encino, California, Coby, Caryn, and Willard.

As the tribes met Jeff Probst for the first challenge of Survivor: Palau, they learned it would be a combination Immunity and Reward Challenge. Jeff Probst explained this challenge would be an obstacle course involving a jungle race, a cargo net crawl and a tire run. The tribe members would then arrive at a supply dump, where they would gather valuable supplies. The tribes would choose which items they want to race with. The next obstacle was a ten foot wall that the Survivors would need to get themselves and their supplies over. They would then wade through a waist-deep swamp before dropping the supplies on beach mats. The final leg would be an outrigger race on the water to retrieve their tribe flag. The first tribe to cross the finish line with their tribe flag would win Immunity, as well as whatever supplies they had gathered.

The competition got off to a frenzied start as both tribes negotiated the jungle race. Koror jumped out to a quick lead as Ulong struggled with the tire run. Koror reached the supply dump first and made the conscious decision to take only the fire-building materials. Arriving at the supply dump, Ulong faced confusion concerning which items to take. Claiming the role as leader, Jolanda insisted they take everything.

In their attempt to secure all the Rewards at the supply dump, Ulong faced a chaotic time-waste, which allowed Koror to finish the course easily and take the victory. Koror won Immunity as well as the tools they would need to make fire. Jeff Probst then offered Koror the decision to return to their original camp or claim a brand new beach they've never seen. Koror chose the new location, thus sending the Ulong tribe back to the old.

While paddling to their new camp, Koror caught a large wave that capsized their outrigger canoe. In a devastating twist of fate, the box containing the tools to build fire sank to the bottom of the ocean and was lost to the tribe. "We were so elated. We were just loving life. We couldn't wait to see the new beach. And all this to happen," fretted Tom. "We're just crushed right now. We don't have the water, we don't have the fire to purify it. We lost everything we won today."

Returning to camp from the crushing defeat, the Ulong members had the unenviable task of deciding who to vote off at Tribal Council. Deemed a weak link and outsider, Angie was clearly on the chopping block. Also at risk was Jolanda, who had set herself apart from the tribe by assuming the role of leader, as well as costing Ulong the Challenge by insisting they take all the supply crates. "I don't trust anyone in this tribe, but if I can at least make it past this one, I'll be happy," Angie confessed.

In the end, Angie turned out to be happy as she did indeed survive the first Tribal Council. Despite her strength, Jolanda simply set herself too far apart from her tribemates. As a result, she witnessed the fateful six-to-three decision that made her the first castaway voted out of SURVIVOR: PALAU.