Myke and Ruth have to climb uphill in order to get down to the river and then to the ocean where they can find civilization
First they come across pods full of Caocao beans which are good to eat. There are mountains all around them. These steep mountains are the main reason Dominica was settled late. They find coconuts and use them to hydrate. Walking around with a coconut is like walking around with a bottle of water. Many things can be done with a coconut. The husk can be used for tinder for a fire or for bedding. An unripe coconut provides ½ leader of liquid which includes antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is nature’s ultimate sports drink.
They figure it is ten miles from the coast as the crow flies. So they need to find a place to se t up camp and make a shelter. They walk into what looks like Adam and Eve’s garden. They see beautiful trees and large leafed greenery around a glistening lake. A beautiful rainbow caresses the misty air above their clean lake. They know that the lake drains into a river which they will follow in the morning. As they follow the river it will lead them to the coast.
Suddenly the weather changes and a tropical storm keep them from going on. They pick a big tree on elevated ground to make a lean-to teepee shelter. They use debris scattered around them to make their lean-to. Without fire their first night is a soggy mess and the mosquitoes are out of control. Ruth can’t sleep so she sets leaves in the tree branches to catch the rain water.
The morning of day two
For breakfast they open up a ripe coconut. What the inside of the coconut looks like has to do with the degree of ripening/stage of development. This one looks like cotton candy on the inside. Pound per pound coconuts have three times more calories than from a banana. For a survivor fat is good because it provides energy needed to work their way to the coast. They discover that there is no way out because they are on a volcanic crater. With massive sheer cliffs all around only way out is to go back up one of the sides.
They pretty much wasted their entire first day by going down into this trap. Now they must go back up in order to go down to the lake. Dominica has at least 9 active volcanoes. They see a steaming volcanic spring with boiling hot water. This could be helpful later but right now they need to keep looking for a river. They can hear the sound of a river but need to stop and eat. They find carob beans which have four times the antioxidants of green tea. The natives used to sell these beans which are also known as black gold. They stop in flowing river to take a warm bath. The Humid tropical environment is a breeding ground for disease and parasites so if the opportunity to get clean presents itself it should always be taken.
Their hammock shelter
They use vines to make their large hammock with a standard platform. They make use of the thin vines to secure the base so it does not slip down the trunk. The hammock keeps them off the floor of the jungle.
After making their shelter they find a Banana tree. The Banana is proof that someone must have planted it because these trees don’t grow from seeds. The bananas are very green so they use the volcanic water to cook the bananas and sterilize their river water without having to make a fire. The heat breaks down the starches and makes the bananas eatable. Myke says this is the first time they get hot chow without a fire. Bananas are rich in potassium, vitamin C. It is one of the foods they were able to get that offer the highest reward for the least amount of effort. They went through hard terrain, hard weather, but, get rewarded with plenty of water and plenty of food. Since they are climbing so much the remainder of the bananas are only enough fuel for one day. They are both so happy to be off the jungle floor in their hammock shelter.
The morning of day three
Ruth and Myke need to get fuel from the bananas for their breakfast. When they wake up they are both soaked to the bone. They need to follow the river down to the coast where they hope to be rescued. The water moves fast and the rocks are slippery so they must go slow and steady. They need to cross the river by walking on a tree branch. It is too slippery and Ruth is afraid of falling in. Once they are over the other side of the river, Myke can taste the salt in the air and feel the ocean breeze which means there are near the ocean. They were hoping to come upon a small village. They walk down the coastline but it looks deserted. They are trapped by cliffs on both sides and it is late e in the day to set up camp.
The jungle hardware store
They find man made cuts in coconuts on the ground which means they are close to civilization. They also find bamboo which can be used as tools to make fire, pots to boil water and timber to make a shelter. Myke says that finding a bamboo grove is like finding a jungle hardware store. After two days in the damp jungle they are looking forward to drying out by the fire.
Making a fire thong
They use bamboo to make a fire thong. This method seems like a lot of work but it is their best choice in these humid conditions. They need three pieces of bamboo for their “fire thong.” First Myke cuts a bottom piece off the shank of the bamboo tree and slices it in half. He uses one half for the bottom part of the fire thong which is called a “tinder box”. This is where a tinder ball is placed and will catch fire from the friction being generated on top of it. Myke cuts a thin piece of bamboo from the 2nd piece which is used like a violin string and when pulled from side to side it creates friction. In order to keep this sliver in place and give the sliver something to slide on to create friction, the remaining 2nd half of the bamboo is placed on top. Myke steps on this top piece to keep it in place. Ruth is very skeptical and does not believe this will work on green wood. The sliver has to be green in order to be pliable enough to slide. They tie a string on both ends to keep the sliver from slipping out of their hands while sliding it. This requires rhythm and upward pressure against the wood they placed on top in order to create enough friction to create a spark.
Finally there is fire
It takes a while, some stops and restarts and a great deal of frustration on Ruth’s part. Plus, they are both cold and hungry, but, finally they get their fire started. They put their burning tinder into large green leaves and transport it to their fire pit.
Their bamboo lean to hut
They find a clearing with a clear view of the oaks and the shore. They choose a flat, level section of the clearing for their shelter. Next they make a drift wood “lean to” frame for their foundation. Bamboo comes in very handy for a roof because when cut in half and laid with the inside facing up it can be used to catch rain water. They interlock their bamboo for the base of their roof and they also use palm fronds as shingles for added protection. Then they make a cannel from another long half sliced bamboo which is set upside down on the ground to catch the water from their roof. This roof water drains into coconut shells that are placed into the ground.. Ruth says in her endearing English accept they they finally have a “proper roof” This roof is also water proof
Their Tropical Paradise
They find seafood in the Ocean. After 3 days of just fruit the chance of getting some protein has Ruth excited. They get a few small shrimp and bring them back to their fire. Since they are so small they decide to steam them in a bamboo pot. Ruth exclaims how good it feels to have a fire at night! The emotional satisfaction of the fire is a big moral booster plus, it keeps the bugs away.
Myke gives Ruth encouragement and tells her that she made it a lot easier for them to survive. After all this time in the wild Ruth has learned a lot. She now knows how to handle anything. Ruth says that it is very important to maintain a positive attitude and never give up. She loves her husband a whole lot more after going on these survival adventures. In their Tropical Paradise, they decide to rest for however long it takes because it is so beautiful and they have plenty of food and water. On this episode we don’t see them get rescued. It looks like they are taking a much needed vacation!
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION