“72 HOURS” HOST BRANDON JOHNSON RECAPS EPISODE 4 “FLINDERS ISLAND, TASMANIA.”
Never have I been to a more eclectic, remote and beautiful location than Flinders Island. Tucked away beneath Tasmania it floated alone in the South Pacific beneath a Monet painted sky. Word had it that the population totaled somewhere around 800 inhabitants and the island got electricity roughly fifteen years ago. What it lacked in humans was made up for by animals…lots of animals. One day in particular while driving to base camp I encountered the following: Hippo-sized cattle, flocks of sheep, ducks, pheasants, wild horses, blue tongued lizards, wombats, wallaby’s of every size, peacocks, salamanders, wild turkeys, boars, possums, large spiders, frogs, poisonous snakes and birds, birds, birds! The island was alive in every sense of the word and we were about to launch 9 strangers right into the thick of it.
Our experience on Flinders started out relatively calm, but that was all about to change in a very dramatic way. During the shooting of “72 Hours” teams always encountered a certain amount of challenging weather. This could cause delays or unexpected obstacles. But when the 48-hour mark rolled around the entire production stopped in its tracks. A fierce storm raged across the island directly over the course. As the teams navigated their way along the beach they were decimated by extreme winds and pelting rain that would not stop. The temperature was descending and without proper clothes teams were facing possible hypothermia. This dramatic footage was almost lost as the salt water was destroying cameras, batteries were dying and all helicopters were grounded because of the powerful winds. If that wasn’t enough our communication systems shut down. All went quiet except for the chattering of teeth. “What the hell are we gonna do-this has never happened before?!” People were panicking and teams began to wave the “white flag.” This was all too much. This was a real-reality show. Luckily those strong winds eventually blew the weather away, however it also took 2 teams with it. The time had come to re-focus and get back to business.
What began as three teams of three ironically became three teams of one. For the first time ever on the show we had only one remaining team left to fight. The Green Team had to dismantle and compete against itself. Quite the unsuspecting twist as they knew each other’s strengths & weaknesses. “This is going to get interesting,” I smirked. After breaking the news, the Green Team wasted no time and raced into the unknown. At this point in thecompetition they were all very close to the briefcase. Valeria, Claude and Palar had already proved themselves worthy of each walking away $100,000 richer, but now only one could win. Hours passed and then eventually a small body appeared at the peak of a steep rocky enclave.
Thousands of miles away an excited, but exhausted Palar broke the news to her Mom in real time. To be witness to that phone call was inspiring and special. Her journey was a victory truly well earned. I’m just glad that everyone made it through the 72 Hour adventure alive. The island had tested all of us on every level, but Palar was the one who conquered it.
Check out my personal gallery from our time on Flinders Island and take a look at our view from the sky!
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SEE YOU IN THE SKY!
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