So last week, the Snowboarders and Navigational Experts Laurence and Zac teamed up and finished in first and second place. Laurence and Zac, who will be called Dad & Zac for now, maintain that strategy and take the same flight to Jakarta as the Snowboarders. Unfortunately, not booking all the way through to Thailand means that they miss the flight that everyone else gets on, and they arrive an hour later than the pack. Fortunately, the next route marker opens the following morning. Essentially, all the teams start out in first (or last) place.
A tsunami in 2004 was the deadliest in recorded history and it devastated Phuket. The Detour options this week are meant to assist in the tsunami recovery. One option is to build a coral nursery, and the other is to set up lots of beach chairs and umbrellas on a windy beach. I think option #2 is a bit of a stretch in the “tsunami recovery” category, but the coral nursery is brilliant.
Both Detours are set on a small, sandy island. According to Phil’s Twitter feed, the temperature on the beach was “hot degrees Fahrenheit.” The Snowboarders build a PVC-pipe coral nursery as if it’s their 100th time, then kayak into the strong current and anchor the nursery and finish up before anyone else has really figured out what they’re doing. Yay for Team Awesome!
The other teams building the nursery struggle, as they were meant to. Siblings Justin and Jennifer argue, as usual, but accidentally discover that the nursery must be weighted down, so they complete the task. Three other teams attempt the coral nursery, but switch tasks once the current challenges them.
Ernie and Cindy were recently in Thailand. Also, before the Race they practiced rock climbing, which helps Ernie cruise through the rock-climbing Roadblock. I can’t wait for a circus challenge just so I can hear Cindy tell us that they went to clown school before the Race.
The twins mention that they were beach lifeguards for two summers, so they opt to set up chairs and umbrellas. I thought they’d choose the activity actually having to do with water, but maybe they think they are chair whisperers. Turns out they’re not.
After completing the Detour, the next Clue is in the form of a medallion with two holes cut out. If the teams travel north by boat for 13 minutes, they’ll find two islands that can be seen through the holes in the medallion. If you shouted out “Goonies!” when you read that, then you are correct. Justin and Jennifer instantly stop their arguing so they can quote the movie, “We’re coming for you, One-Eyed Willie! Goonies never say die!”
Ernie, meanwhile, apparently never saw "Goonies." While directing the boat “a little bit off north,” he misses the islands. OK, it turns out he was actually traveling south. It’s too bad we didn’t hear Cindy say, “We watched the 'Goonies' before the Race in case we had to play a bone piano.”
Zac sailed around the world solo, remember? He’s a master of maritime navigational charts. Yet he is foiled by the touristy map given at the end of the Roadblock and he navigates their boat almost off the map. “What a bunch of useless sailors we are,” says Dad.
Heroes and Semi-Villain
Phil says that each challenge is tested and retested for safety and to work out timing. The snowboarders beat all time estimates on this leg, landing in first place once again. It’s OK to like them, because they are having such a good time, so they’re an obvious favorite.
I’ve been having more trouble finding a team to root against. They’re all surprisingly positive and resilient. But this week Jeremy (of Dating Couple Testing Their Relationship on the Race Jeremy and Sandy) lost his temper a bit on the Detour. Compared to ugly behavior on past Races, he barely measures up. But compared to other teams this season, he stood out simply because his partner wasn’t screaming back at him. Sandy didn’t seem worried about the relationship, though, since she encouraged him in the Roadblock, so I don’t even know if I can call him a bad guy.
“That should be our motto: Pay Attention to Detail.”
I left the twins struggling with their chairs and umbrellas. It’s so bad that the music editors throw in some tinkly bells of folly when one of them gets knocked in the head by a falling umbrella. As other teams complete the task, they advise the girls on how to keep the umbrellas upright. They argue; they cry: they build sandcastles; they are the last team to finish the task. They are also the last team to reach the Pit Stop, and although they are sad, they took time to enjoy the scenery. But wait! It’s a non-elimination leg! The twins are safe for another week. Perhaps next week I will try to tell them apart.