Naked and Afraid: A Girl and Her Mask


General / News 1918 Views

As a PADI Divemaster and Survivalist based mostly in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sarah Danser was greater than prepared for the 21-day survival problem within the Exuma Cays for Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid: Lost at Sea.

Initially from Fort Rock, Colorado, Danser began scuba diving when she was 16 years previous. After finishing her certification dives with Island Divers Hawaii in Oahu, she returned to the island for extra certifications, ultimately working her approach as much as PADI Divemaster.

However that wasn’t sufficient for this water lover. After graduating from school and spending time touring overseas, she moved to Honolulu to work as a divemaster for Honolulu Scuba Firm.

“Though I grew up within the mountains, I've all the time beloved the ocean,” she says.

When the Discovery Channel got here calling, Danser jumped on the probability for a brand new journey.

“Working as a divemaster gave me the arrogance to tackle the ‘Bare and Afraid’ problem,” she says. “I had discovered tips on how to maintain calm in hostile conditions, tips on how to deal with an emergency, and naturally, tips on how to respect and perceive the underwater world.”

Danser notes that the primary a part of the problem was sudden. Even for this PADI Professional.

“My associate and I have been dropped on a life raft 12 miles from the closest island. We needed to paddle 17 hours in a single day to make it to land,” she says. “Thankfully, I had expertise with being on the ocean at night time as I had been main a weekly night time dive each Friday for the previous yr.”

After a harrowing night time at sea, Danser and her associate found a collection of latest challenges ready for them. Along with the life raft, or what was left of it, they have been every allowed to convey one survival merchandise. Danser knew there was one factor that might let her see underwater and act as a device for searching and navigation.

“I selected to convey was my SeaSports freediving masks. I outfitted it with bifocal lenses and a slap-strap, hoping that maybe they could come in useful,” Danser says.

It didn’t take lengthy earlier than she discovered her determination was a clever one.

“Virtually every little thing we would have liked on the market got here from the ocean,” she says. “Whereas the land was inhospitable — product of razor-sharp limestone and densely coated with toxic vegetation — the ocean had bountiful assets that we trusted to outlive.”

One such meals useful resource: sea snails. And whereas the tiny creatures can present vitamins, getting by means of the coating of mucous proved to be a fair greater problem.

As time progressed, Danser ultimately graduated to catching extra palatable choices together with conch and lobster. Since crustaceans have to be cooked earlier than being consumed, she once more turned to her masks – utilizing the bifocal lenses to enlarge the solar and begin a fireplace.

“When stacked on prime of one another, bifocal lenses can enlarge the solar sufficient to create a targeted beam of as much as 450 levels,” she says. “Utilizing coconut husk and a few charcoal that had washed up on the seashore, I made a tinder bundle that ignited pretty shortly with the bifocal lenses. After 12 days and not using a hearth, it was probably the most satisfying and proudest moments of my life!”

With the meals and hearth points dealt with, the final problem for Danser and her associate was to make it to their extraction level, throughout the channel on one other island situated 5 miles away.

“We would have liked to construct a brand new raft since our previous one had been destroyed,” she says. “Utilizing the wreckage of the life raft, we designed and constructed a primitive sailboat that we used to cruise out of there!”

Alongside the best way, the pair swan within the open ocean for 2 miles and navigated by means of dense mangroves full of jellyfish and stingrays. Once they lastly made it to their extraction level, Danser credit her dive profession to her success on the 20-day journey.

“If not for my expertise as a scuba diver, I don’t know if I might have made it,” she says. “I discovered the way to maintain calm and persevere and was in a position to make use of my artistic problem-solving expertise beneath strain to perform some superb issues!”

Since showing on “Bare and Afraid,” Sarah additionally accomplished the 40-day problem on “Naked and Afraid XL: ALL-STARS,” out there now on

When she’s not taking over the subsequent new problem, Danser sails round Hawaii on her sailboat. And whereas she didn’t construct this boat herself, there’s little question she might.

Comply with Sarah’s upcoming adventures on her Instagram channel or Facebook page.

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