First a reminder that there is another new episode of Dual Survival on this evening. Usual time: 9:00 EDT. Tonight’s episode is entitled “Out of the Clouds”. Here’s the official description:
The hosts take on the wet cloud forests of Panama with a broken lighter, a poncho and a specimen jar.
Now, on to “Out of Africa”.
Of all the possible barefooting environments, South Africa seems the most interesting. Temperatures are pretty much not an issue; continual soaking wet, as in rain forests, is also not an issue. However, there was an issue of thorns, from the Acacia tree. The thorns are so fierce that they even used branches from Acacia trees to create a shelter that could protect them against lions. Cody stepped on one at one point, but aside from a brief stop to remove it, no more was made of the issue of thorns and bare feet.
I might add that there are similar thorns even here in central Ohio. Here they are on the Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). Here’s a picture (via Wikinfo):
I’ve stepped on them. It’s a surprise when it happens, but otherwise has not been a big deal, just as for Cody.
One again, in this episode, the fire-making skills of Dave and Cody were highlighted. For their two fires, they used a spindle drill, which seems to me the absolutely hardest way to make a fire. On other survival shows, I’ve seen people tear up their palms doing the spinning, though here we saw Cody making judicious use of spit to protect his hands (at least, that is what I thought he was doing). Both Cody and Dave shared in the spinning. I did get the feeling that there was a bit of Cody helping Dave out. I have no doubt Dave is good on his own, but Cody is the fire-master, and learning more is always a good idea. It was very interesting to see Cody giving a little lesson on adjusting the density of the tinder bundle in order to get the coal to light.
Since they had made cordage (also a really cool survival skill that Dave demonstrated), I was wondering why they didn’t make a bow drill instead. Those seem easier on the hands.
This episode in particular really highlighted the different philosophies of Cody and Dave. Dave is just a real charge-ahead kind of guy who assaults nature, while Cody is more reflective and tries to be attuned with nature. Obviously, the bare feet are part of that. I find that, even aside from the bare feet, I also tend to fall on the Cody side of things. I like sneaking through the woods, not charging though them.
We saw this in the corral they built for the night: Dave thought he needed room to fight any lion that came in; Cody wanted it small to minimize the chance of a lion getting in. And when it came to food, Dave felt he had to try to hunt some warthogs, which frustrated the hell out of him, since they are fast and they had multiple holes to go into and come out of. In the end, Dave blamed Cody for his lack of success since Cody did not help him, but I really doubt that another person would have helped. Dave just spent his time running around and not doing the sort of scouting and getting in the heads of prey that makes hunts successful. Cody, meanwhile, caught himself quite a few large grasshoppers, prepared them to remove and neutralize parasites, and then got to eat them all himself when Dave in a fit of pique (and because he needs “red meat”) refused them. They looked pretty good to me.
At the end, both Dave and Cody did have a few words about the spat. Even though there were disagreements, somewhat short tempers, and differing philosophies, they did stress that in the end, they knew they had to work together, and did so.
One thing that the show did not mention (but I will) is how the Zulu went barefoot in South Africa. It was Shaka kaSenzangakhona (Shaka Zulu) who eschewed the traditional sandals. As it is put in “Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa, 1830-1914″ by Bruce Vandervort (p. 9):
Earlier Zulu warriors had worn oxhide sandals into battle. Shaka thought the sandals reduced speed and mobility and so ordered his men to go barefoot. Zulu warriors in Shaka’s day and after were capable of almost unbelievable speed and manoeuvrability.
You can see some of this in the 1987 movie Shaka Zulu.
[Note: The original of this entry kept using "Dual Survivor" instead of the correct "Dual Survival". I have now corrected it.]