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Next stop: Ohana Island

"Langley Police Officer Ryan Raulerson (left) catches Ohana Island participant Bev Helland in the act of trying to smuggle food and other comfort items in her luggage during a pre-departure search Friday. Helland and 13 other firefighters and rescue personnel flew to a remote island yesterday to take part in a Survivor style fund-raiser and training exercise.Matt Johnson / staff photoTwo Langley Police officers searched 14 South Whidbey firefighters and rescue personnel Friday morning, just minutes before they boarded float planes and flew to a deserted island in the Orcas chain to become real life Survivors.The officers seized several items of contraband, including a pineapple, a bottle of salad dressing, and a bag of potato chips as a crowd of friends and family giggled at the pre-departure activities. The voluntary castaways will spend eight days and seven nights on 35-acre North Finger Island as a fund-raiser for Fire Protection District 3. During their time there, they have to survive on one cup of rice each day and any other food and fresh water they can find.On Friday morning, the participants gathered on the beach at the Langley Small Boat Harbor to have their luggage inspected and to choose 14 survival items to take to the island. Firefighter Michael D'Angelo came up with the best find, choosing a sealed a la Castaway FedEx box that contained a guide to wild edible plants.However, the book may not be of much use if D'Angelo can't keep the book dry. FD3 Battalion Chief Darin Reid, who is part of the survival group, told his fellow castaways that they would have to swim about 20 yards to the island with all their luggage because the float planes cannot land on the beach. Firefighter Don Elliot was not thrilled.You gonna be the first one in the water, buddy, he joked with Reid.People on South Whidbey will be able to keep track of the group's daily adventures on the Internet at Fire District 3. "

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