The Discovery Channel premiered its newest survival show — “Darkness” — during a two-night event on Aug. 2-3, and I’m excited to say that Missouri was the location.

“Darkness” is a survival show that plunges three  strangers into a pitch black cave for six days, or until they can find each other and then make their way out.

The show was inspired by extreme training scenarios conducted by the U.S. military, Department of Defense, and NASA.

In the show, the survivalists push themselves to their absolute limits in complete darkness, enduring days buried underground while navigating prehistoric cave systems, ancient subterranean cities, and centuries-old abandoned mines.

Pulaski County, Mo., had the extreme honor of being a part of this premiere episode.

“We had no idea it was going to air as the first episode, so that is pretty cool and we are so excited to see it,” said Karen Hood, chairman of Roubidoux Grotto, a local caving club in Pulaski County.

Hood is also the marketing and public relations manager of the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center. She said she received an email from the Missouri Film Office requesting help in looking for cave locations for The Discovery Channel to film a show.

“I saw that and thought I could nail this one. I emailed them back, got in contact with the producers right away and the next thing I know they are here and we are scouting caves,” said Hood.

The producers and safety teams visited Pulaski County and Grotto members showed them several caves. They liked what they saw and in June started filming.

“The producers settled on a non-disclosed cave location on private property and got a contract with the landowner. It all happened so fast,” said Hood.

If the three survivalists don’t find their way out of the cave during the allotted time, they’re pulled from the adventure.

“They spent six days here filming 24/7, and we as a Grotto had two guys out there as our representatives on the set at all times during filming to make sure they were treating the cave correctly,” said Hood.

According to Hood, only one individual from the Grotto made it on camera.

“This will hopefully give exposure to our county and our Grotto, and we were just very excited they chose Pulaski County to be one of the locations,” said Hood.

To learn more about “Darkness,” and to view the behind the scenes video, visit www.facebook.com/DarknessTV/.

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I lived in a town on the Mississippi River several years ago and really enjoyed watching all the comings and goings of ships, barges, fishermen, and boats.

The river also attracted all kinds of celebrities and there was always some kind of big event or activity every single weekend in town.

On Thursday, Sept. 28, the “Pinta” and the “Nina,” replicas of Columbus’ ships, will sail in to Cape Girardeau. The ships will be docked at Riverfront Park until their departure early Tuesday, Oct. 3.  

The “Pinta” and the “Nina” will be available for tours Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 1-2 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.

The “Nina” was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”

In 2005, the “Pinta,” also a caravel, was launched in Brazil and was the first ship to sight land in the New World. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the 15th century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced “sailing museum” for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the “caravel,” a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world.

Before him, the Old World and the New remained separate and distinct continents and ever since their fates have been bound together, for better or for worse.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for students age 5-16. Children 4 and under are free. No reservations are required.

(Jimmy Sexton is owner and publisher of the River Hills Traveler. He can be reached at (800) 874-8423, ext. 1, or jimmy@riverhillstraveler.com.)

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