I stayed up late to watch the Discovery Channels newest catastrophe show, Dual Survival. I feel somehow obligated to do a review on the show, so here goes;

What? Dual Survival

When? 11 June, 2010 10:00PM EST

Where? Discovery Channel

Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin shipwrecked, and stranded on a deserted island off of Nova Scotia

Aside from the usual complaints I have with shows like this, it’s tough to get around the presence of a camera and support crew with these shows. There are far too many TV productions that make people believe there is real survival going on, and there isn’t. This one however does a better job than most.

The pair was supposedly stranded on an uninhabited island off the coast of Nova Scotia, in the winter time with minimal equipment, mainly a sheet of poly, two knives and a flare gun with one flare.

The first order of business was to get a fire going. With the harsh winter season at hand, heat would be a vital need. Cody Lundin was a disappointment in this area. There was plenty of fire making material at hand, and yet they resorted to using their one flare for the purpose. Granted, nighttime was settling in and it was winter, so that made the matter of heat more vital, but come on guys, you were in the middle of prime fire land.

Part of the show centered on Dave and Cody bickering over Cody’s lifestyle choice. I didn’t much care for it as they could have spent more time on tips and issues of survival instead of the bush hippie vs. ex military redneck lifestyles. When it comes down to survival, opinions regarding somebody else’s life choices have no place in the conversation.

While Dave went off looking for usable assets, finding some shells, retrieving parts of the raft, a freshwater pond with ice and cattails, Cody revamped their deadfall shelter by lining the bottom with boughs, and lining the backside with a Mylar blanket and draping the plastic sheet over the front. I wouldn’t have thought of using the poly in that way, so there was at least one tip learned. Dave, in spite of questioning the logic behind the structure, was blown away by the shelters efficiency, and surprised at how warm and cozy it was.

The theory behind plastic between the fire and the interior of the shelter was to allow the longer wave energy from the fire to penetrate into the shelter, but not escape, much like in a greenhouse.

When it came to the food issue, Cody gathered food by looking for clams and other mollusks along the shore, as well as native plant life. Dave preferred the hunting and set traps for small game. He set several deadfall traps.

Dave left the survival camp in the dark to check his traps. Moron? Making a torch from some rolled up birch bark, although he could have done better with what there was for material in the woods.

Then they bickered back and forth over the nighttime jaunt and Cody’s choice of clothing.

The following day Dave went hunting and Cody went to the beach to light the signal fire. Dave got a porcupine, and apparently never studied Indian lore as the best thing to do with a porcupine is to singe the hair off over the fire. That makes it easier to skin. At any rate, they got meat. Meat of course is good for protein and fat, not to mention the calories they were able to replace with it.

Cody shared some survival trivia by showing how the resinous sap from a fir tree can be used as an antiseptic and to coat a wound like a bandage.

The Canadian Coast Guard showed up at the end of the show, no big surprise there. Making it seem as though they were lured by the smoke form the signal fire was pretty cheesy. That time of year there would have been very little traffic on the water and it would have been more realistic if a passing trawler would have spotted them first, at least in my mind.

Overall, it was an OK show. The poly tip for the structure was a good tip learned, so it was worth the investment of time. I’ll watch again to see how the show progresses. I do wish it was on earlier in the evening though.

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