en­durance test

Dave Can­ter­bury and Cody Lundin show how to sur­vive in the wilds.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - by SHeeLA cHAn­dRAn

EVER so of­ten, we come across sto­ries of hik­ers who lose their way while trekking in the jun­gles. While it can be un­nerv­ing hav­ing to sur­vive in a maze of shrubs and iden­ti­cal trees, there are ways to sur­vive the ul­ti­mate wilder­ness test with­out be­com­ing prey to hun­gry preda­tors or stung by poi­sonous creepy crawlies.

Ask mil­i­tary trainer Dave Can­ter­bury, and he will gladly share sur­vival tips with any­one plan­ning to go on an ex­pe­di­tion – be it jun­gle trekking or moun­tain climb­ing.

The sea­soned hiker’s rule of thumb is to do re­search on the des­ti­na­tion, ter­rain, poi­sonous plant species and preda­tors be­fore a trip.

“Don’t let your­self be­come food for preda­tors. It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand an an­i­mal’s habi­tat and be­hav­iour. It is equally es­sen­tial to learn how to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween poi­sonous and harm­less in­sects,” said Can­ter­bury in a phone in­ter­view from Ohio, the United States, re­cently.

Can­ter­bury and prim­i­tive skills ex­pert Cody Lundin co-host Dual Sur­vival, a wilder­ness sur­vival doc­u­men­tary pro­gramme on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel (Astro Chan­nel 551).

The 10-parter se­ries, which pre­mieres on Nov 1 (9pm), fea­tures the duo who show­case con­trast­ing sur­vival skills to ed­u­cate view­ers on ways to sur­vive in dif­fer­ent chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

The pro­gramme finds them be­ing thrown into harsh en­vi­ron­ments that could hap­pen to any­one – ma­rooned sailors, lost hik­ers, trapped divers, lost-in-the-desert trav­ellers and stranded moun­tain climbers.

Equipped with min­i­mal gear, it fo­cuses on their ex­per­tise in con­jur­ing dif­fer­ent meth­ods to find their way back to civil­i­sa­tion and sur­vive at the same time.

The se­ries pi­lot, Ship­wrecked, fea­tures the duo on a de­serted is­land off the coast of Nova Sco­tia, Canada, dur­ing win­ter.

Armed with their skills, they sal­vage items such as blan­ket, knives and res­cue flare to find shel­ter, fire, food and wa­ter in sub-zero con­di­tions.

“It fo­cuses on two peo­ple from con­trast­ing back­grounds who ap­proach sur­vival with some sem­blance of teamwork. We are both trained in our re­spec­tive fields and are teach­ers of wilder­ness self-re­liance and prim­i­tive skills. In this pro­gramme, we try to show how to help save lives,” said Lundin from Ari­zona.

Tight spots

Other episodes see them as stranded moun­taineers in New Zealand, lost divers in a labyrinth of un­der­ground caves in Belize, lost hik­ers in the swel­ter­ing jun­gles of Laos and trav­ellers lost in Peru’s in­fa­mous Val­ley of the Vol­ca­noes.

The guys were keen to share their knowl­edge (on sur­vival skills) with the jour­nal­ists tak­ing part in the phone in­ter­views. Ques­tions for­warded were thor­oughly an­swered to en­sure ev­ery­one un­der­stood the im­por­tance of sur­viv­ing in the wild.

Can­ter­bury has over 20 years of train­ing in mil­i­tary and civil­ian sur­vival. Be­sides be­ing a sniper and scout, he has trained sol­diers in the United States, Cen­tral Amer­ica and South Korea in un­armed com­bat and close-quar­ter tech­niques. He is also author of sur­vival book The Pathfinder Sys­tem: Sur­viv­abil­ity For The Com­mon Man, which was re­leased ear­lier this year.

Lundin is a sur­vival in­struc­tor who honed his skills liv­ing in the deserts and moun­tains. In 1991, he founded the Abo­rig­i­nal Liv­ing Skills School in Ari­zona and cur­rently teaches sur­vival cur­ricu­lum in non­profit school Ecosa In­sti­tute in Prescott, Ari­zona.

Lundin is also the best-sell­ing author of two books 98.6 De­grees: The Art of Keep­ing Your Ass Alive and When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Sur­vive When Dis­as­ter Strikes. He hasn’t worn shoes (or long pants) for over 20 years and is the only per­son in Ari­zona li­censed to catch fish with his bare hands.

If you are plan­ning for a hik­ing trip, Can­ter­bury ad­vises to bring along some es­sen­tial items.

“A cut­ting tool, com­bus­tion de­vice (to ig­nite fire), cov­er­ing de­vice (to pro­tect your body from hy­pother­mia/hy­per­ther­mia), stain­less steel con­tainer (for drink­ing wa­ter) and cordage (a rope or string made by twist­ing fi­bres),” said Can­ter­bury.

When asked the im­por­tance of car­ry­ing a com­pass, Can­ter­bury ex­plained: “The com­pass is ac­tu­ally num­ber six on the list, af­ter cordage. To nav­i­gate ef­fec­tively, you can rely on the sun and the stars. These are sim­ple ways to get your bear­ings right.”

Lundin chipped in: “Other es­sen­tial items in­clude a knife, garbage bag, mir­ror and whis­tle. If you want to be res­cued quickly, think of the ways to es­cape the woods. These in­clude wear­ing loud colours, mak­ing loud noises or flash­ing de­vices that can at­tract at­ten­tion.”

In­ter­est­ingly, the show hosts agree that us­ing com­mon sense and be­ing de­ter­mined are far more im­por­tant than the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge, when lost in un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory.

“You need com­mon sense and the right mind­set that you’re never go­ing to give up. You need to have in mind that what­ever hap­pens, you’re go­ing to keep go­ing, and that you’re go­ing to live.

“Be­yond that, you need to en­sure you have cer­tain tools that will ef­fec­tively let you con­trol your body’s core tem­per­a­ture and keep you alive,” said Can­ter­bury.

Lundin ad­vised hik­ers on the im­por­tance of in­form­ing fam­ily and friends be­fore em­bark­ing on a jour­ney.

“Hik­ers need leave a five-point plan – their des­ti­na­tion, ex­pected time of re­turn, who their trav­el­ling com­pan­ions are, ve­hi­cle type and rea­son for the trip. This can ex­pe­dite res­cue au­thor­i­ties in find­ing a missing per­son,” he con­cluded. n DualSur­vival pre­mieres on Nov 1 (9pm) on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel (Astro Chan­nel 551).

Out­door he­roes: Cody Lundin (left) and Dave Can­ter­bury film­ing on lo­ca­tion at the

Olympic Na­tional For­est in Washington.

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