Ashlee Ashby becomes the fourth contestant to exit 'Survivor: Palau'
By Reality TV World staff, 02/25/2005
Adopting the law of the jungle as its own, Survivor: Palau's Ulong tribe prayed on its weak link during Thursday's second episode broadcast, voting out Ashlee Ashby, a 22-year-old Fitness counselor from Easley, SC who was "ready to go home."
Survivor: Palau's second episode began with the Koror tribe, the winners of the competition's initial immunity/reward challenge, second guessing their decision to leave the initial island campsite that both tribes had established in the premiere episode -- a decision that had been unintentionally compounded by the tribe's loss of the fire starting flint that they'd won in their opening challenge victory.
Assembling for the episode's reward challenge that would award a fishing spear and supplies to its winner, last episode's losing Ulong tribe was excited to learn of the Koror canoe capsize incident that lead to the flint loss. As an integral part of the Survivor experience, the loss of fire had prevented Koror from gaining any competitive advantage and left both tribes in the position of having been unable to properly boil water or cook food for since beginning the game four days earlier.
Once the extremely physical "gauntlet" challenge began, the older Koror tribe predictably fell quickly behind Ulong's tribe of 20-somethings. Koror struggled despite sitting 57-year-old lawyer Willard Smith out of the competition, with Katie Gallagher, a 29-year-old advertising executive who ironically ranked as one of the tribe's younger members, encountering great difficulty with the challenge's initial rope swing and eliminating any chance of a Koror comeback.
With tribal outsider Angie Jakusz surprisingly mastering the course with ease, Ulong won the contest handily, allowing her tribe to claim the highly prized fishing gear. As a result of their win, Ulong was also able to finally secure their share of the fire-starting flint that they had failed to win in the competition's initial reward challenge -- a development that made it even more important that Koror successfully salvage their own lost prize.
Returning to camp, Koror immediately began their recovery attempts, with Ian Rosenberger, Tom Westman, Jennifer Lyon, Janu Tornell, and Gregg Carey paddling out to sea as the rest of the tribe watched from shore. Overcoming a strong incoming tide, the group located the heavily weighted flint box in approximately 25 feet of water and used the canoe's anchor rope to retrieve it to the surface.
Back at Ulong, the tribe enjoyed its first night with fire. While not having had much luck with their newly acquired fishing spear, the tribe did feast on giant clam meat procured via the new diving equipment -- a welcome change from the raw coconut that the tribe had previously forced to eat. But despite the positive developments, not all was well at Ulong, with Ashlee refusing to eat and isolating herself from the tribe. Meanwhile, the tribe members began to take note of the increasingly cozy relationship between Jeff Wilson, a 22-year-old personal trainer from Ventura, CA, and Kimberly Mullen, a 25-year-old former Miss Ohio USA.
At the Day 6 Immunity Challenge, the tribes discovered that challenge would once again be extremely physical in nature, but also require the use of the Morse Code alphabet that the day's earlier tree mail had instructed them to memorize. Another water challenge, the task would require the tribes to swim out to a marker buoy, and once their full tribe was there, repeatedly dive down below and pull on a rope that would drag a heavy foot locker fifty feet across the ocean floor. Once the foot lockers had been moved, the tribes could retrieve the eight mess kits stored within them and return to shore. On shore, the tribes would then use the Morse code symbol written on each kit to spell out the Morse Code translation of the word "immunity" -- and win the vaulted prize for their tribe.
Despite jumping out to an initial lead due to the slow swimming of Koror member Williard, Ulong was unable to have much success in pulling the foot locker across the ocean floor. Failing to capitalize on their youth advantage, ULong quickly saw themselves passed by a Koror team powered by an impressive performance from 41-year-old firefighter Tom. Powered by Tom's enormous contributions, Koror quickly began to pull away from Ulong, with Ulong tribe member Kimberly drawing unwanted attention to herself by simply clinging to the marker buoy throughout the challenge.
With Koror retrieving their mess kits while Ulong had still only managed to move their foot locker less than half the required distance, the challenge quickly became a rout, with Koror easily decoding the Morse code puzzle and winning their second straight Immunity Challenge.
After returning to camp following their loss, Ulong's members quickly began discussing who should be voted off at the evening's Tribal Council. While agreeing that the tribe's weakest member should go, the group failed to agree as to the identity of that member. Citing her poor challenge performance and growing relationship (and potential alliance) with Jeff, Ashlee, Angie, James Miller, and Stephanie LaGrossa advocated voting Kim out. Objecting strongly to the idea, both Jeff and Kim suggested that Ashlee was obviously "breaking down" therefore clearly the group's weakest member. Fellow Ulong members Ibrehem Rahman and Bobby Jon Drinkard also told Stephenie that they felt similarly about Ashlee, creating the possibility of a tribal tie.
At Tribal Council, Kim's detractors decided to avoid targeting Kim, with Angie, James, and Stephanie all voting for Ashlee. Interestingly, despite their pre-Tribal discussions, Ashlee ended up casting her vote for Jeff while previous Kim supporter Ibrehem ended up casting his vote for Kim -- developments that imply that although unshown, the tribe had apparently openly agreed to boot Ashlee prior to leaving for Tribal Council.