Heave-Ho For Hunky Hunter

The street in the Lower Ninth Ward is covered in heavy dried mud as the water begins to drain from the area, in this Sept. 26, 2005 file photo in New Orleans. Rita struck two years ago, Sept. 24, 2005, a Category 3 storm whose 120-mph(193-kph)winds and 9-foot (2 3/4-meter) storm surge ruined every structure in the southwestern Louisiana towns of Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach, bringing similar destruction to southeastern Texas. (AP Photo/Ric Francis,File) AP (file)

Hunter Ellis, the former Navy pilot, aka "Golden Boy" and "MacGyver" was the third straight Maraamu tribe member to be voted off Survivor: Marquesas.

He joined Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson on The Early Show and had some rather interesting things to say about his fellow tribe mates: "Knuckleheads."

Yes, he really did call his teammates knuckleheads.

He said, "Sean is a knucklehead. He's just an angry person." But Hunter said Sean also was entertaining.

"We sat around and we laughed really hard every morning. But at the same time, Sean - if you asked him to do something - he gets upset. And if you're working he gets upset because he's like, oh well, you're trying to show him up. Well, I just wanted to work. That was me."

As for Rob: "Rob is funny. Rob is a comic. He's entertaining. Rob is definitely a knucklehead. That guy is pretty classic."

Sarah, Hunter said, "is along for the ride with Rob."

"Does she have a clue?" asked Bryant.

"About some things, yes. About others no," Hunter replied. "Sarah was out there to strut around on the beach and have fun. It was her vacation."

Vecepia was "flying low under the radar. She seemed nice. I think she is nice. I didn't expect her to vote against me that early. I knew she could probably do it later," he said.

He said he and Gina had a strong bond. "We had mutual respect and admiration because we shared the same viewpoints on how we wanted to play the game. She's a great friend and always will be a great friend."

About the tension within the tribe, he said, "There's people I have different viewpoints with. So obviously you can tell that Sean and I had different viewpoints on things. So maybe, maybe at some point we'll work through all that, and so it just depends. There's certain people that you remain friends with forever. And other people that you share this experience with."

Why did he think he was voted out.

"It was a struggle for control," he answered. "You had two opposing game plans. One was to basically go into self-protect mode off the beginning and try and gather your votes so that you can control the votes. And then there was my philosophy of start off strong, build a team and then there's gonna be that point where you shift to the self-protect mode and along the way you're finding people that you trust and you can align with.

Asked if the team ever got along, Hunter said yes. "We'd get along. We'd go out in the water and talk football. But there was a lot of differences in opinions over how people wanted to play the game. So that's where we kind of butted heads a little bit. It actually came down to a work ethic. So it was lazy people versus people that wanted to work and build a team."

Hunter suspects he mad ehimself too well known too early.

"Well, I wanted to fly a little lower on the radar," he said. "Being a jet pilot - that's how you don't get detected. I realized from day one, though, that I had a lot of experience in this area. I've grown up on the beach my entire life. I've had survival training. So I just wanted to provide subtle hints along the way, of 'Hey, maybe we should try this.' I was always trying to ask people what they wanted to do. Then it became evident that everyone's like 'Well, he's the guy who can spearhead this stuff.' Then I had the bull's-eye on my chest and I didn't realize my strategy was going to have to change."

He says he was trying not to be overbearing. "I was there to compete, and I was a little disappointed I didn't get to compete in some individual immunities. I was really looking forward to that. The challenges are awesome," he said.

At the end of the interview he issued a warning to four who had voted against him. "I gotta say one thing real quick. You know, all my buddies are like Navy SEALS and fighter pilots. I took voting off pretty well. But I haven't been able to get in touch with them since I was voted off. The four people that voted for me - if they're out there, lock the doors and turn off the lights. They're coming!"

He was joking. We think.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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