Here we are again, time for yet another edition of the show that puts the “real” in reality….Deadliest Catch! Last week we saw a plethora of pain throughout the boats, with injuries, blood, bones and dead birds galore. What will this week bring as the brave captains and crew of the Bering Sea fleet venture future into Opie season? Let’s find out….
It always opens dark in some way or another, including Keith lecturing Lynn, Sig talking about how to build confidence when there’s always fear, Nick talking about the trip beating the crap out of them, Bill saying if you doubt yourself too much it’ll crush you….and a pot swinging wildly over a boat out of control.
“Where the faces are so cold….”….LOVE that song!
Thank you Coors Light, frost brewed, for bringing us another episode.
We open with Sig’s yelling to get down (not boogie) from last week….for seven days an arctic storm has battered the fleet and slowed fishing to a crawl. But now, the storm is subsiding and every skipper is racing to make up for lost time. Junior wants to make his delivery date and push to the end. On the Cornelia Marie, full pots are coming up. The Harris boys are grinding on numbers that would make Phil proud, and Josh says Freddie would say they’re back. Tony says he couldn’t ask for more than spirits and numbers being up. They’ve been getting solid 600’s for awhile. Everyone’s happy. They say Tony is kicking ass and taking numbers, respect is running high. Josh says he’s a great guy to work for and learn from. Tony says the boys are doing a great job, but it’s more than that at this point. Tony can see Josh making an extra effort and Jake is a true fisherman. He says they’re stepping up. Jake says Tony is a “rock star”. Tony says they could go to two areas with good fishing and they have to pick one. They have a delivery date in four days, and prospect strings 16 miles apart. The areas are too far apart, and Tony contemplates moving off good fishing and consolidating to move the strings closer to the offload port. He calls the boys upstairs, they say they’re happy. Tony tells them they have two spots and have to pick one. The young boat owners have to learn a lot, but Tony lets them have a say in this, he wants them to learn. Josh says they numbers are better where they’re at, but Tony says they’d have to travle a day too where they’re at. Tony says it’s hard to run from 600’s. With captain and crew on the same page, fishing resumes on deck. In the wheelhouse, Tony says the crab are moving from west to east and he’s having second thoughts. The delivery schedule is the issue. Tony then calls out to the crew that he wants to move to the processor, closer actually, to save fuel. The new plan is to stack and head east. Jake says they’ll find out if they made the right choice, but 600’s are harder to move away from. Tony says he should have his head examined to move from 600’s, and this will test the crew’s faith. But the crew seems to say that they trust him so far.
We’re onto the Seabrooke now. They’re at St. George Canyon. Normally Junior says he wouldn’t have put his gear there, it’s far south of where he wanted to fish but he had to get weight off the boat due to the severe icing conditions. For safety, it was the right call, for strategy, not so much. After an 18 hour steam, the crew hits the deck and gets to work. The skippers’ brother, Whipper, is on his first haul since the stomach injury that almost cut short his king crab season. Junior says he has to keep an eye on him, he is his brother. With a healthy deck and pots to haul, the men are amped to catch some crab. Junior has deemed this the “survival set”. Junior knows guys who went king crab, got in storms, had to dump pots and landed on the crab…he hopes this is what happens for him. The first pot comes up light. Junior says it looks like Bardai crab, a close cousin of the Opilio. But unfortunately for Junior, it’s not what he’s fishing. Pot 2 is all Bardai too. It’s hit or miss, and they missed. With his survival set coming up lame, Junior needs to get the pots on fertile grounds as fast as possible. It’s almost unbearable for him. And then, the ice falls…..right on a crew member. Yup, it was Whipper, hurt again. Man, he got slammed! As the captain’s brother moved in to stack the pot a 50 lb block of ice broke free from the crane, striking him in the back. Junior says it could’ve been a lot worse, actually. Says it was a rookie mistake standing under the crane like that, this time of year, with that much ice. He checks on his brother and promptly gets the finger in response. LOL!
We’re onto the Northwestern now. Sig hopes they’re on their last string, they’ve been grinding for almost 30 hours now. Jake says they all want sleep but won’t get it. The tank needs to be topped off with 15K more pounds before going in for the first offload. Nick says the trip is beating the crap out of them. But the pot comes up light, stuffing the tanks on these numbers isn’t going to be easy. It’s looking bleak, says Matt. The string isn’t doing it for them. Matt says the forecast calls for more pain, they’re in a race against time to make their scheduled offload in St. Paul. Jake is trying to tie up a pot, and the new deckhand tries to help. Jake doesn’t like it. The aspiring deck boss is feeling the effects of the grind; Sig has no sympathy for him. Jake doesn’t want to run the crane anymore, he wants to sort crab. The object of his ire, new deckhand Kevin Blakely. Sig says if he wants him to come down hard on Kevin, he’s mistaken. Kevin’s been doing this for years, and says he’s not there to impress anyone, he’s there to do it the way they want him to. Says he doesn’t need babies on his watch, and Sig won’t get involved. Says he’s not running a daycare center. Matt steps over to say hi in his Matt way, but Jake isn’t feeling joking right now.
Now, it’s the Kodiak! Bill says it’s a tough trip, trying to stay focused is hard. A nasty flu is putting the already beaten crew in a daze. It’s not the same to be sick on a boat as if you worked in an office. There’s no mercy or remorse, if you’re sick you still work. Bill says it’ll be interesting to see how it effects morale and productivity. When you’re doing a repetitious job, Bill says, people get lackadaisical and mistakes/accidents happen then.. To prove his point, as a pot comes on board the hydros go and the pot is swinging wildly over the deck. It’s a flying missile at this point. Holy cow!!! The knot on the picking hook got sucked all the way up into the block. As the pot came over the rail, the unusually long bridle allowed the knot above the picking hook to get sucked into the block, rendering the hydros useless. The pot became a 750 lb wrecking ball. Bill says it could’ve been devastating. The crew says they’re lucky nobody got killed.
Back on the Northwestern, Sig’s under the gun to haul 2,000 more pounds and make his next offload. First man out, aspiring deck boss Jake Anderson. He says he’s always stressed without Edgar, stressed about making mistakes. Says he takes it out on the new guy b/c he gets respect and Jake didn’t when he was new. He takes it personal b/c when he got there at first Bradley choked him, and he had to throw him on the ground. Still treated like he’s a new guy, respect is #1. He says it’s worth more than the money, respect. They start hauling pots, and pray for crab. It’s a great pot! Sig says they’re back in business, and that should put a dent in the tank. Jake says it’s one good day! Matt cheers loudly when another full pot comes on board. No more room in any of the other tanks. Sig asks if there’s any more room to Nick, and Nick says “no”. With the boat stuffed, the crew shares a moment of respect. Jake hugs Kevin even!
Going northeast now, on the Cornelia Marie. They shuffled their gear, were on the great numbers before. Tony moved off big numbers to consolidate gear close to the processor with bad weather coming in. Out on deck, Jake says the freezing spray makes it harder. Falling temps and freezing rain have made even the simplest of tasks treacherous for the crew. Tony says it’s a bit sloppy out there, and getting ugly. We see people slipping, sliding and falling. Jake tells us the pots are loose and when it’s icy they slide across deck, you have to watch it. Tony says they’re getting used to hm beating them up. After a 36 hour grind, the men have baited and splashed 75 pots. They’ll find out shortly if Tony made the right move and he says you’re only as good as your last delivery.
Now they’re in Dutch Harbor with the Wizard. After 8 days at sea, and Freddie is as enthusiastic as ever. Keith wants 300,000K but thinks they’ll be short. Down on deck Lynn directs the workers to take all the hatches off. Then Keith says to do the small one first and asks Lynn why he’s taking the other one off. Tells him to leave them on until they’re ready for offload. Lynn sighs and rolls his eyes, Keith says not to show his frustration to him again. Then he goes to Lenny and says to tell Lynn what he can expect if he rolls his eyes at him again.. The crew says it’s a ballsy move, and he’ll end up flipping burgers if he keeps it up. Even Mouse says it’s a mistake. Lynn doesn’t understand them, says they all can complain but the second he does it’s all bad. Soper then asks him to set something down without messing it up, and Lynn says “See? They can’t ask you to do something, they have to throw something in”. Then the crew surmises he has PMS. At sunrise, the offload is in the books. The first delivery was 312,000 pounds, $615,000. With one strong delivery behind them, Freddie calls for the second trip. Keith says they have to plug the boat this time. They’re all determined, and all happy….except Lynn. He says it’s not exactly Mai Tai’s and Yahtzee out there.
Back on the Cornelia Marie, Tony says everyone was happy hauling 600’s but if they start hauling blanks he’ll get some looks for sure. He’s moved his gear closer to the processor and the crew wants at least 400’s. He tells the crew to watch themselves with the spray as they come up to their first pot. As the pot comes up, it’s light. You can feel the morale drop like a lead weight. They pull in the next pot, and it’s not as light as the last one but not good either. Crew says nothing worse than grinding. They’re small and dirty crab too. With each weak pot that comes over the rail, goodwill between the wheelhouse and crew slips away. Tony says it’s disappointing, they have to pay for my poor decisions, it’s more work on them.
We travel to the Wizard now. After hitting big numbers on their first trip, round two is off to a dismal start. He tells Lynn to tie the pots tight. For deckhand Lynn Guitard, the trials at sea continue. He has troubling throwing the hook. Keith asks if he’s trying to create a late night comedy show of throwing the hook. Soper says Lynn doesn’t think it’s funny, but he does and he either forgot to eat his Wheaties or change his panties. More bad pots come up. Keith says time to move, time to find something better. Marginal numbers at best on this prospect gear, Keith discusses this with Monte. Keith is reluctant to leave with the way the stack is tied though. Gaps in the stack allow pots to shift as the stack grows higher, putting crew and boat at risk in heavy seas. Ketih says get your head out of your butt or find another job. He won’t hold anyone back that can step up, and he’s done with waiting to see Lynn step it up. He calls Lynn upstairs, and begins his Keith rant about having the pots tied with two ties, tightly. Lynn admits that he’s not comfortable with the way the stack is tied, Keith tells him if they have to have this conversation again, he’s fired. Lynn says it’s a bunch of crap, doesn’t get why they’re needing to be tied nicely if they’re coming off the stack again. Monte says Lynn needs to do better. After four long years struggling to earn his place, the 26 year old deckhand is sent below. Keith sends him for a 3 hour nap and his future on board the Wizard is in doubt. Lynn says there’s things you’re meant to do and things you’re not, he’s not sure at this point. If he gets fired he wont’ continue to fish.
Finally, on the Seabrooke, after four days lost retrieving his survival gear, Junior arrives at the northern strings he originally wanted to go to. Ten days in, with virtually no crab in the tanks, pressure mounts for the skipper. With the first pot coming in, Junior says he’ll panic if they don’t’ see crab. It’s light, very light. Not what he was looking for. They had 80. “Pretty bleak” says Junior. Pushing further north they approach the second prospect string and Junior says if he sees nothing he’ll freak out. Coll underwater shot of the pot coming up! But it’s pretty empty. Junior’s at an absolute loss and the crew says there’s panic, mayhem, frustration up in the wheelhouse. The crew says it’s his turn to produce. 10 days on the hunt, and Junior hasn’t been this mad in years, 3,000 gallons of fuel burned. They pull up on the final prospect string. He seriously needs a miracle. As the post rises from the bleak waters, we see a STUFFED POT! Junior calls a “sch-wee momma!”. Back in action, Junior. He tells them to set it back. 560 in that pot!
Sigh, wish I didn’t have to do this again, but unfortunately I do. It’s time for that picture…..”Have you seen us because our fans sure didn’t this week!?!? It’s not Where’s Waldo, it’s where was the Time Bandit?”
It would be totally inappropriate to end with anything other than this….
RIP Phil, fair winds.