First, don’t forget that there will be a new episode of Dual Survival on tonight, 9:00pm EST. The new one is titled “Trouble in Paradise” and the description says:
Cody searches for water and firemaking tools on an uninhabited Hawaiian island; Joe battles feral boars.
And now, on to “Into the Frying Pan”.
I liked this show the best so far. It appears that Cody and Joe are hitting their strides. Joe still comes off a maybe a bit too intense, but that it moderating. Dave was better at projecting a certain “down home” attitude, even when going full bore.
This episode took place in the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico and started with the set-up of having two lost miners, and one of those miners down an old mine shaft.
The rescue was pretty straightforward: they found some wire to use as a support rope and hauled Joe up. One thing that they didn’t show, however, was exactly how they attached it to Joe. You don’t want somebody trying that and attaching it to a belt loop—that would fail almost immediately.
Cody and Joe’s first “spat” occurred when Joe wanted to immediately leave that spot, as if it were accursed. Hey, it was just a place, and no different, better, or worse, than any other spot. Cody’s counsel was to stay put and make a plan. Cody also learned to put things into terms that a military man could understand.
Cody: Tell me this. When you do an operation, how much planning goes into the operation?
Joe: Weeks. Months. Depends on what the operation is.
Exactly. There was no reason to prefer one spot over another.
Obviously, the point of that little vignette was to show how the adrenaline of an escape can affect judgment, and to let things calm down a bit and not go rushing off planless.
Joe’s use of the canvas backpack as a container for pulling up water from mineshaft was a good demonstration, but it should not have been a surprise that it was hard to get back out. From my look at it, it might have held maybe 2 to 3 gallons of water—you’re talking maybe 20 pounds.
Another trick they could have at least talked about was just using any old rag, dipping it, then squeezing it out back on top. That would still have been available if somehow the weight of the backpack water had ripped its straps.
In this episode Joe didn’t make any unkind comments about Cody’s feet at all. Cody just did his usual traipsing over all sorts of terrain.
They came upon two dead cows. One was far gone and completely dessicated; the other still early on in rotting and being consumed by flies.
Here is the first one.
Cody showed how to make sandals from it, making the point that, even for him, there are places that one cannot go barefoot. This is the sort of effort that was fairly innocuous and worth doing. Cody cut the pieces of the rawhide, and also used a yucca to make cordage, emphasizing the strength of reverse-wrap ply. (This is something I really need to learn to do—there’s a technique to it that Cody shows way too quickly.)
Here’s Cody wearing his sandals.
They showed that just to show that they worked (and they do look pretty good, don’t they?), because in the very next scene, Cody is in his preferred barefoot condition again.
Joe, on the other hand, decided that he needed a huge chunk of rawhide of a fetid, rotting cow. As Cody pointed out, there really was no need for it. What the heck were they going to use it for? Joe made some weak excuses, but that is all they were. (At least the sandals were low exertion, low risk to get and make.) So we got to watch Joe be swarmed with flies, nearly throwing up, and he cut the rawhide off the dead cow.
I have no doubts that this is something that the production crew had Joe do, just to demonstrate a point. That point was carefully articulated at the end by Joe:
You’ve got to take yourself to a place where you’re going through the motions but your mind’s not there.
In a real survival situation, that really is important. The ability to abstract yourself really does matter in getting done what needs to be done. I think the trouble with this scene, though, is that the little niggling in the backs of our minds that it really didn’t need to be done kept folks from appreciating the general principle.
And then there was the rattlesnake.
It’s not quite true that the rattle is “the absolute worst sound you want to hear in the desert.” Actually, you want to be glad you heard it. The snake is giving you warning to make it easy to avoid. I do agree, though, that suddenly hearing a rattlesnake rattle can nearly make you jump out of your skin.
Joe decides to kill it for food, which Cody objects to. In this spat, I think Cody was the one who was just slightly off. Food is food.
I’m also pretty sure that Cody is just wrong about his concern about protein requiring too much water in this situation. He doesn’t want the protein of the rattlesnake meat until he has sufficient water. Cody says
Protein uses the most metabolic water to digest, and I’m not going that direction until we find water.
Metabolic water is the water created through metabolism, not consumed. When all three of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are completely metabolized, they produce water. Yes, protein produces less than any of the others, but it still produces it.
The other thing is, that snake wasn’t just pure protein, it was meat. Meat generally is about 60% water, so eating it not only could produce metabolic water, but would also give the eater the water in the tissues. (And that’s true even if rattlesnakes retain less than 60% water in their tissues. As long as it is not dessicated—that is dead and dried out—there’s water in them thar tissues.)
I’d also like to point out that proteins won’t be fully metabolized. A lot of what the body does is break it down into component essential amino acids, and then use those amino acids.
There is one special thing about proteins, though, and that is that the body does need to get rid of the ammonia-like urea that is produced, and that requires urine for elimination. But you don’t need all that much to pee.
So, in the end, I don’t think a shortage of water is a good reason not to eat an animal found in the desert (assuming you need the food energy, of course).
Then we got to see Joe trying to catch and kill the snake safely, while Cody laughed. It actually was fairly funny, though it pissed off Joe pretty tremendously.
First, yes, it was important for Joe to do it safely. So he got a long forked stick and tried to trap the snake just behind the head. The snake got out of this.
And then the snake got out of this.
But after quite a while, Joe finally trapped it the way he wanted and cut off its head.
What I didn’t understand was why he just didn’t whack the thing. Break its back. Then break its neck. Yes, it will still be writhing (as they showed the head still moving even after being cut off), but it won’t be actively slithering. Once it can’t go anywhere, then you can safely trap the head in the fork and cut it off.
I did like the way they showed how to make a signal mirror (but what kind of rock did they use to score and cut it in half?). I also think the show could have been just a bit clearer that they were just removing the silvering from the back of the mirror to make the crosshairs.
Regardless, it was really cool to see the thing in action.
Overall, it was a good show (if still a bit obviously contrived, though maybe I’m just a bit more sensitive to that now and see the nuts and bolts more easily). I liked this episode.
Anyways, don’t forget “Trouble in Paradise” tonight.