‘Survivor’ Star Boo Bernis Was the First to Build a Spy Shack — Not Tony Vlachos

Survivor: Cagayan champ Tony Vlachos is known for his hilarious antics, which include constructing spy shacks and giant ladders. However, construction worker Boo Bernis actually “built” the first spy shack 14 seasons prior in Survivor: Fiji.

Survivor Boo Bernis
Kenward “Boo” Bernis | Andrew H. Walker

Tony Vlachos spy shacks on ‘Survivor’

Initially placed on the Brawn tribe in Cagayan, New Jersey-based police officer Tony Vlachos quickly allied with fellow cop Sarah Lacina who pinpointed his profession.

He also connected with longstanding ally Trish Hegarty. After noticing people spoke to each other at the water well, Tony decided to build a “spy shack” behind it and expertly disguised himself with leaves and bushes.

The police officer overheard several conversations, including how people felt about working with him. Three years after his victory, the police officer returned for Game Changers.

He attempted to dig up a “spy bunker” near the water well, but Caleb Reynolds and Sandra Diaz-Twine eventually caught him. Tony returned for his third time in Winners at War, where he initially put himself on probation.

However, after his team lost their first immunity challenge after a tribe swap, he reverted to his old ways and hid in another “spy shack” behind the water.

Sandra found his disappearance mysterious and chose not to talk gameplay around the wells. After the merge, he “elevated” the spy shack into a spy nest, which is an area he sits hidden in a tree above the water well.

While the spy nest hasn’t come into play yet, his Cops-R-Us partner Sarah confirmed that no one could see him when standing at the well.

Boo Bernis first to build a spy shack on ‘Survivor’

In 2007, then 35-year-old construction worker Kenward “Boo” Bernis competed on Survivor: Fiji, initially as part of the Moto tribe. They had a luxurious camp and dominated in the majority of the immunity challenges, only losing one.

After the merge, he joined the Syndicate Alliance alongside Stacy Kimball, Yau-Man Chan, Michelle Yi, and Cassandra Franklin, led by eventual winner Earl Cole.

The alliance then systematically eliminated the Four Horsemen, excluding Dreamz, who strategically flipped to their side. Once all the strong men were voted out, Earl wanted to target Boo due to his strength.

Knowing he was on the outs, the construction worker made a back pathway to the water well so he could overhear his tribemates talking about him. Back at camp, the remaining castaways discussed their plan to eliminate Boo next. However, the construction worker won the next immunity challenge, foiling their scheme.

Boo then lost the following challenge and attempted to save himself by suggesting they eliminate Dreamz, who he believed would get sympathy votes at the Final Tribal Council. His scrambling did not work, and the other four unanimously made him the eighth member of the jury.

Even though the spy shack, or any variation, has been attempted five times in Survivor, it hasn’t led to any valuable information the listener could use to further their game, as of yet. Survivor 40: Winners at War airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.