After an epic tribal council on Night 12 that saw Vavau's blindsided Nick and his voting mate Tegan join Saanapu and Saanapu's exit-pawn Conner and bewildered Sam join Vavau, both those tribes had only 48 hours to test their newfound alliances.
Sam, who had been sitting pretty in Saanapu, fretted he would have to start over on Vavau while Tegan enjoyed getting a fresh perspective on her game. Meanwhile, all of Aganoa enjoyed a day free of worry with Lee relishing their immunity win.
Skipping the niceties of a reward challenge warm-up, Jonathan gathered the tribes for an immunity challenge involving swimming, climbing, fashioning a long pole to retrieve a key, unlocking a gate and making fire. Aganoa found itself in its usual last-place spot after Saanapu made a big blaze first and Vavau seemed close to claiming second. But El and Kat secured a key in time for Lee to break through the gate and spark the team to victory.
Back at Vavau on Day 14, the two former blue buffs seemed easy pickings, but Conner pleaded his case to stay, churning mental gears in particular for Jennah-Louise and Craig. Andrew, who even schemed with Sue to blindside Craig at one point, tried to get Barry to strategise but Barry said he would stick with "picking a name from a hat." That, and Barry's insistence that he should go because he failed at the challenge, led to his unanimous ouster.
WHO spoke to Barry Lea, a 44-year-old radio host in Cairns and former Wallabies rugby player, about becoming the fifth person to leave Australian Survivor.
Q: What was it like to see yourself on Survivor?
A: Well, I didn't really think it through when I took my shirt off for the first time! Seeing that back on tape, that probably wasn't the best option. [But] it's been interesting watching the whole show and all the episodes.
Q: What did you enjoy most about your experience?
A: I think meeting the other contestants. I like meeting new people and making new friends and stuff. That was the greatest thing, that we were from such a diverse variety of backgrounds and what so many of them had done in their lives was just so interesting. It's great to meet them but you'd like to actually sit down and spend time with them in different conditions. I loved every minute of it.
Q. Vavau had been doing very well for many days. When did the tide turn and did you feel the anxiety around you?
A: We were happy in that we hadn't lost a challenge in a while so we didn't have much to worry about. We were comfortable. We were high in spirits. But maybe we'd become complacent. People in team environments, they do become complacent, so we started to take our eyes off the prize, you start losing and that's what's happened.
Q: How did you stay above the fray?
A: Oh, it's not hard for me to keep grounded. I always wanted, in any way I could, to help the team in doing the same sort of thing, saying, 'We've won, but we've just got to keep going and approach the game the way we are, otherwise we'll start losing.' Unfortunately, that's what happened and results in where we are now.
Q: Were you surprised that Nick was blindsided in the previous tribal council and was it strange to see him and Tegan go to another tribe?
A: Yeah, it was odd because I didn't caught up in any of the alliances or any of the talks at camp behind the scenes and stuff. I hadn't seen any of that and not being a part of it, everything at tribal council was how it played out for me. The others might not have been as surprised, I don't think they were, but for me watching it back and seeing what actually went on, I thought it was great TV. It got me involved!
Q: What were your impressions of Conner and Sam as new tribe members?
A: Look, they couldn't have come into a better tribe because Vavau, I think, just the dynamics and the caliber of people in the tribe were very understanding, and we sort of knew how we felt when we first came together and these two guys were in that predicament. I knew they were very strong in the challenges and stuff but they came in with a clean slate, and no sort of preconceived ideas and perception of how they were going to be. We would take them on face value and give them a chance to fit in and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Q: You took it very hard on yourself with how the fire-making portion of the immunity challenge went considering you were strong in past challenges. How long were you at the fire station before Aganoa caught up?
A: We had a long time. It was a long time. It felt like days, but it wasn't! It was a long time but congratulations to them. They caught up, oversaw us and we dropped the ball. I think it was my way of not building the fire up. Everyone was in the same conditions, so you can't blame anything else other than my ability to not light the fire and make it go upwards instead of sideways. That's what let the team down and that's how I wanted them to vote.
Q: You seemed to tell Vavau back at camp and at tribal that they should consider voting you off. Did they ever tell you before the vote that they intended to follow through with your suggestion?
A: No, they didn't. They weren't going to do that at all, actually. They were going to vote another way, I think, but I wasn't comfortable with voting someone who deserved to be there and me standing in their place when it was me who let the team down. I wasn't comfortable with that at all, so I asked them to vote with their head and not their heart.
Q: You said you would choose a name out of a hat, so to speak, when voting, all things being fair. Even so, why did you vote for Sue?
A: I didn't pull Sue's name out of a hat. I told Sue beforehand, 'I've got to put a name on this bit of paper. I'm just putting yours, but there's no hard feelings or anything. I've said how I feel, and hopefully they will take heed to that,' knowing full well that she wouldn't go home. I told her and she respected it.
Q: You are a gentleman and played that way. Is that part of the responsibility of being a role model?
A: I think so. I think you don't have to conform to other ways or means of life. You live your life your way and if that's not good enough for someone else, then that's their bad luck and not yours. You don't change to suit the situation. You stick to your guns and see how far that takes you.
Q: You are Vavau loyal, so who on the team will go farthest?
A: I think Kate and Craig. I'd like to see them. Sam is very strong as well and he's now one of us, so I'd back Sam. He's a very loyal person and in the short time we got to know each other, we became very close. It would be great to sit down with him at some stage afterwards and just have a beer and say, 'Hey, how's it goin', mate?'
Q: So what's next for you?
A: I'm back on the radio in Cairns, doing lunchtime, so I'll just do that for a while, yeah, go fishing and see if I can actually start a fire!
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