First, don’t forget that there will be a new episode of Dual Survival on tonight, 9:00pm EST. The new one is titled “Belly of the Beast” and the description says:
Cody and Joe are stranded in a labyrinth of caves beneath the isolated mountains of Romania, and as they attempt to best the pitch-black maze, dying headlamps and opposing survival techniques hinder their effort to escape.
And now, on to “Meltdown”.
One thing that struck me about this episode is that there are only so many places left in the world where survival skills really matter. The African desert/savannah is one of those, so a lot of the shows have to be done there. This is the second time in Africa for Cody and Joe.
The episode was another enjoyable one—the producers didn’t play up any disagreements as much as before, and I think it makes a better show.
One thing I did find amusing was the show descriptions. You may notice that the description for next week is longer than the usual descriptions I put up there. The usual descriptions from from TV guide, but this time I went instead with what appears with my local U-Verse. So it’s interesting to compare the TV Guide and U-Verse descriptions for “Meltdown”.
Here’s the one for TV Guide:
Joe and Cody dodge hippos and elephants as they search for water and shelter in Zambia.
Here’s the U-Verse version:
The guys are stranded in Zambia, where they must avoid elephants and hippos as they look for shelter and water, but a quarrel may tear them apart.
OK, there was no quarrel that threatened to tear them apart. There was a mild discussion related to Joe’s using elephant dung to smoke the bats out of a baobab tree. It was a good idea, but Cody was exactly right to worry about diseases one can get from bats (histoplasmosis in particular was cited). He also didn’t mention really awful things like Ebola and Marburg, which they are learning are vectored by bats.
But there was no real disagreement, and they instead made shelter that night in a thicket. Another thing that I wondered about is Joe’s reluctance to be in the thicket because of elephant stampedes. Are there really that many elephants stampeding through the night? I don’t think so. And even when stampeding I imagine they would mostly avoid thickets.
Let me back up for a moment to near the beginning, when they found the two full beer cans. Cody and Joe just emptied them out, saying that beer (alcohol) is a diuretic. Yes, it is, but I got to wondering, don’t you get a net gain of water from drinking it?
The answer is no. From here, if you drink in 200mm of beer, you end up pissing out 320mm of urine, for a pretty big net loss.
How does that happen? Well, the alcohol suppresses ADH (anti-diuretic hormone, vasopressin), so the kidneys can’t recycle a lot of the water that it processes, so it is all urinated out instead. This is a survival tip that is really important.
It was fun to see Joe make the fire with the gum wrapper, the batteries, and the elephant dung. We already know Cody is a fire god, so they’re letting Joe demonstrate some skill in that area.
However, the producers really aren’t very subtle about the stuff the guys find at the beginning of the show, are they? They just happen to find gum wrappers (I always make sure to carry some in my pack, don’t you? :-) ) and the batteries. Just what they need (and only what they need).
One extra suggestion for Joe with the hot fingers from the electric current through the gum wrapper: he could have found a flat twig (or other item) to put between his fingers and the terminals to keep his fingers from getting too hot.
The “Indian well” made by Cody was also well-done.
I’m not entirely sure why they would need to sterilize the water though. Yeah, it’s probably never a bad idea, but wouldn’t filtering it through all that soil make it potable?
By the way, when I was in the Grand Canyon last summer I met a backpacker who said he never treated his water there, despite all the warnings to do so. He also said he’d never had a problem. So water supplies may be safer than we think. The problem is, if you’re wrong, the consequences are, let us say, quite unpleasant.
There really weren’t any discussions about Cody being barefooted this time (at least not much—just that silly remark about the Tiger fish’s teeth).
But the bottoms of his feet must be much better insulated than mine. That soil he’s walking on has to be really hot. I doubt I’d be able to stand it for long. (It helps though, that that is compacted earth. When I have had trouble it’s been on loose sand. Rocks and compacted earth can reflect away more sunlight, while sand allows the sunlight between the grains and prevents it from escaping. But still . . .)
Then they found the dugout canoe, which added something extra to this episode.
Two heavy guys really weighted it down almost to the gunwales. Of course it had a hole in it, but that was there so Cody could demonstrate using a termite mound to patch it, saying that when wet, the saliva in the mound dirt acts almost like Portland cement.
But what he didn’t tell us was how long it takes to actually set up. Portland cement takes a while to do so.
And I guess he didn’t let it set up enough, or something, because near the end they were bailing pretty heavily. The hole was supposedly about the size of a finger. I don’t think I would have relied on just the termite mud to patch that. First, I’d look for a stick from a fairly soft tree and pound in a plug from the bottom. Let the stick do most of the work. Then just use the mud for the final sealant. That way if it gives out the plug still does most of the work.
Even with the mud, though, they didn’t really have to bail. Somebody just needed to stick their finger in the hole! (They only had one paddle anyways.) But then of course that wouldn’t have been as “dramatic”.
Like I said, it was a good episode, and fun to watch them go through the territory.
Don’t forget “Belly of the Beast” tonight. (And you can re-watch “Meltdown” right before it at 8:00 EST.)