Amazing Race
"This Is Gonna Be a Fine Mess"

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Phuket Again

Jeremy and Sandy are starting to get a little snippy with each other as they try to put together their coral nursery, but not as much as Jennifer and Justin. Because that would be terrifying. Meanwhile, the twins are running into trouble digging their correct chairs out of the stacks in the hot storage shed. Ernie starts digging the crab-labeled chairs and umbrellas out for himself and Cindy, and he interviews that you needed some strength to dig the right chairs out of the stacks. These are old-school wood-and-canvas chairs, after all, not the plastic ones you see sometimes. Cindy tells him they need twenty, so he heads back for more. And with Laurence and Zac joining the search in the shed, at least the twins are getting a little help moving them around so they can get at the bottom layers. Although it must be like inviting a backhoe to a fossil dig.

Andy and Tommy have already finished their coral rack, and they carry it down to the beach, where they have to balance the ungainly thing on a little two-person kayak, as well as a tray the size of a large chessboard that holds a couple dozen chunks of coral in little cups that'll fit into the slots on the top of the nursery. Jennifer and Justin are hammering their rack tight, which Amani and Marcus should have done, because theirs comes partially apart when they try to drag it down to the water. "Why is this one not long enough?" Sandy asks Jeremy, probably not for the first time. The snowboarders have their big rack on their kayak, with Tommy more or less sitting inside it in the back, and Andy balancing the coral tray on his lap in front. They paddle up to a buoy and Andy hops into the water, Tommy following with the rack. Right away they discover there's a strong current, which is apparent as we see Andy swim a few powerful strokes underwater and yet hardly move at all. "Being surfers, we know how current works," Tommy interviews, and explains that the first thing they did was tie off their kayak to keep it from floating away, then worked together to put the nursery in place and weigh it down with a rock. Then it's just a matter of getting the tray of coral. I'm a little worried that the "rock" they're using is actually a chunk of the reef that used to be here.

Justin and Jennifer are heading out into the water with their completed rack, although it nearly tips off as soon as they leave the beach. Andy and Tommy are both underwater and working together to plant the coral, picking the pieces out of the conveniently buoyant tray. They get their thumbs-up from the guy in the scuba gear, and he hands them what looks like a compass and a bronze medallion strung together. The siblings are in place near another buoy, and they toss their rack overboard and Justin follows. Apparently Jennifer's going to wait in the boat. The snowboarders are rowing back much faster than they rowed out, given that they've offloaded their unwieldy cargo. Marcus is in the water, and so is his rack, but a piece came loose and he's having trouble swimming against the current to get it back. He interviews that he swims, but is not a competitive swimmer. And the tide appears to be a tough competitor. Jeremy and Sandy are debating whether their nursery is ready to go out in the water when Andy and Tommy zip back up onto the beach. Cathi and Bill are also setting sail. Back on land, Andy and Tommy now have to decode their clue. Phil explains to us that they're supposed to head north for thirteen minutes. Whether that's thirteen minutes in time or thirteen minutes of latitude he doesn't say, and given that a minute of latitude is about 1.15 miles, some racers are going to get confused if their boats don't go 69 miles per hour. In any case, this short journey will bring them to a spectacular pair of islands towering straight up out of the ocean. According to the subtitles it's known as Soap Island, but I can't seem to get corroboration on that from Google, at least not in the two minutes I'm willing to spend on such a project. The formation's profile just happens to match the cutouts on the medallion that came with the compass. Once they get there, the next clue will be hanging from a rope stretched over a fishing boat that's docked in a low-ceilinged cove. Andy and Tommy are back on their boat, more decisively in first place than they've been since Indonesia, telling their pilot to take them north thirteen minutes. "People are gonna struggle with the current," Andy predicts. Indeed they are.

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Amazing Race

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