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UTAH – “Tea time!” says hard-boiled survivalist Bear Grylls as he climbs onto a rocky outcrop and shakes the dust from his bandana. Long-time collaborator and cameraman Simon Reay quickly obliges and unhooks an SAS-issue aluminium canteen from his belt, filling it to the brim with urine. It’s a compelling scene, but Grylls, currently traversing the Moab desert on foot as part of a new series commissioned by BBC Knowledge, admits he has long preferred the taste of Reay’s urine to his own. “I don’t know what it is, but Simon’s pee is just amazing, delicious really.”
Grylls says he first discovered his prediliction for the cameraman’s urea when the two ran out of water while filming a survival series in the Sahara. The adventurer says he “went dry” and it was left to Reay to provide them both with the vital fluids they needed. “In early episodes I used to drink my own wee, but once I had that taste of Simon’s there was just no going back.” The Moab is an unforgiving hell and many have perished who did not have the skills to survive the harsh landscape. But these are no Johnny-come-latelies… Grylls and Reay are men who will do whatever it takes to stay alive.
“Mmmmmm… oh god, that’s good Simon,” whispers Grylls, wiping glistening golden droplets from his beard. Reay simply shrugs, zips up his desert fatigues and hoists his camera onto his shoulder. Theirs is an old partnership forged in adversity, and Grylls knows he can rely on his compadre not just to get the shots he needs, but to provide him with the sweet amber nectar he craves.