It was one year ago today that Deadliest Catch fans the world over went into collective mourning over the loss of the beloved skipper Phil Harris. He’d captained the Cornelia Marie for decades and quickly became a fan favorite pretty much from the start of the hit Discovery show “Deadliest Catch”.
Phil was revered not only for his expertise in captaining, but also for his quick wit, wry sense of humor and unconditional love for his sons, crew, family and friends. He wasn’t perfect, and he knew that. He never tried to excuse away his flaws, and was accountable for mistakes he made in his life. But what he also did was show us that he was brutally honest and had a heart bigger than the world. Whether it be dealing with his sons, or working on his birdhouses or even one of his Harley Davidson’s, he put his heart and soul into everything he did. He always found the crab, and he always brought home a paycheck for all of his guys.
From the age of 7 he was working on a fishing vessel in one capacity or another, and at the age of 17 offered to work for free just to get his foot in the door. When he turned 21, he captained a boat out of Seattle, making him one of the youngest captains on the Bering Sea. While the Cornelia Marie wasn’t featured on Season 1 of Deadliest Catch, you did get glimpses of him and from Season 2 to present, his boat was a featured and favorite vessel. Now captained by friend Derek Ray, his two sons Josh and Jake remained on-board to carry on their father’s legacy. Fans will remember during Season 6 his younger son Jake was discovered by Phil stealing pain medications, which revealed his addiction. Although initially he expressed extreme anger at what he discovered, within minutes the anger turned to wanting to help his son heal. Jake may not be healed all the way, however this writer feels that Phil is watching over them and helping to guide them on the right path.
Phil, again, wasn’t perfect, but it was his imperfections that made him so lovable. His smile was infectuous, his many one-liners were laugh-til-your-sides-hurt funny and his never ending drive to succeed on the Cornelia Marie made fans fall in love with him. Your fans here at Yakkity Yaks love you Phil, we miss you……..we always will and hope in heaven you find fair winds and following seas. Hopefully you discovered in heaven that God does ride a Harley.