The game is afoot cross the 1,000,000 square miles of the Bering Sea for the pot of gold called the Opilio Crab. Our sea-dog adventurers are in fierce competition against each other and mother nature to land their quota of crab before the season ends. Will these sea-dogs be showered with greenbacks from the a bounty of crab they haul in or will the crab be elusive as the pot of gold at the end for rainbow? We shall see matey as the Deadliest Catch rolls on…
Fire has temporary knocked out the processing boat, Stellar Sea, which has curtailedseveral crab boats (Cornelia Marie, Farwest Leader and Time Bandit) this season due to their contractual obligations to offload their catch to her. The Stellar Sea had the pleasure of serving as the processing boat for all northern delivers (north of St. Paul Island). This misfortune has required several of the crab boats to go to plan B.
Plan B — Farwest Leader and the Time Bandit choose a different route, fishing for a different species of crab the Bairdi Tanner Crab (cousin of the Opilio crab). The Baridi is less lucrative and a bit more elusive than the Opilio. This route could be feast or fathom for the Time Bandit and the Farwest Leader.
With a line of prospecting pots in the water, Capt. Andy of the Time Bandit is hoping to find this elusive crab before a major storm hits (this storm is packing gust of 60 mph winds from the east which means quite cold air along with 35-foot seas or greater — the storm is a combination of two Lows) the fleet. So far the pots are full of 400-500 crab;however, due to the size of the Bairdi crab only 15-20 crabs are keepers. This type of fishing will be a challenge to make any substancal money.
At St. George Island, Farwest Leader is loading an additional 30 pots before the storm hits. Capt. Greg is anxious to get underway before the weather hits. St. George island happens to be in the direct path of this furious squall that is bearing down on the fleet. Exiting before the storm hits is imperative. With a successful loading of pots and harrowing navigation of the channel out of St. George, the Farwest Leader is out to open sea before the storm pummels the island. “Lets go fishing, no money in the harbor” exclaims Capt. Greg as the Farwest Leader battles the massive swells this storm is creating while at sea.
Northwest of Dutch Harbor about 325, the Time Bandit is not experiencing much luck obtaining good quantities of Bairdi crab. If that wasn’t enough, the storm is starting to unleash her fury on the boat. Swells as large as 30 feet are knocking the Time Bandit around like a receiver running across the middle at the goal line. If the fishing does not pick up, Capt. Andy will have to jog into the storm until the weather improves. Jogging into the storm means turning the bow into the oncoming waves so the front of the boat is absorbing the waves instead of the port and starboard sides. This method makes riding out the storm safer, but fishing is impossible. Since the boat is tossed around and the seas are picking up, Capt. Andy has ordered all the crew to clear the deck and turn the Time Bandit into the oncoming ridge of waves. With the crew inside, a 30-foot rouge wave smashes port side of the Time Bandit, sheer off the bolts of the 200 pound coiler and tossed it around on deck like football. If the crew had been on deck, disaster would have followed. Capt. Andy made the right call!
The Nortwestern is 347 miles nothwest of Dutch Harbor hoping to pull up some good pots after the bad luck at the start of the season. Lucky for Capt. Sig, their processor at Dutch which up an running — good to go! This news means Opilio crab is on the menu. Has their luck turned? Not sure for how long, but for now all pots are full of beautiful crab. Without notice, the Northwestern engine starts to act up. The engine is not holding gear and with the storm approaching now is not the time for engine failure. As the Northwestern starts to limp at sea, Edgar and Sig search for the cause of the engine failure. As they search for the cause, they turn off both the engines and the generator — the Northwesten is dead in the water. All fishing has stopped and all systems are shut down until the problem is found. Time is everything with the upcoming swells and winds of this massive storm. Sig has no AAA to call, so the captain and crew must rely on their own expertise to locate and fix the problem before the sea takes them.
After a extensive search in the darken engine room, Sig discovers a leak from one of the hoses to the numatic (air power) throttle. Edgar attempts to repair the hose. The good news is that the problem is not the engine and repairs are possible. After repairng the hose and running a test, Sig and Edgar theorizes that fixing the air leak wasn’t completely the solution. With the pending storm and throttle problems, Sig reluctantly decides to turn in for St. Paul island for repairs. Another setback for the Northwestern this season.
After receiving word that the Stellar Sea is repaired and will be back out to sea in a few days, Cornelia Marie is off the bench and out to sea about 292 miles northwest of Dutch Harbor. Time to make up for lost time and money. The Cornelia Maire is on the crab with huge pots of crab and lots of sorting. The Cornelia Marie is running at 110% which is causing nerves to be on edge throughout the crew. This wear is causing a riff between Capt. Phil and his greenhorn, bait boy son Joss. The same type of fight every father and son has. If you thought last year’s riff between Capt. Phil and his other son Jake was bad…Holy Cow!!! We have not seen anything yet! Joss needs to learn that his father is the captain and his word is law.
The Wizard is 57 miles to the northeast of the Cornelia Marie. She is also feeling the effects of the storm. Luck is not on the Wizard’s side this season. So far crab has been a bit elusive for this boat. The swells are slamming the Wizard. One of these swells has sheered the transmission on the eight-ton crane on the bow of the boat. The crane needs to be secured immediately, if not the crane will swing wildly causing mayhem on deck. The crew races to to secure it. The concern is if the crane will be usable after the storm. The crane is one of their main tools in picking the pots out of the water. After securing the crane, the crew races to secure the rest of the deck before the full fury of the storm hits. The Wizard is also heading into port for repairs.
So far two of the boats (Northwestern and Wizard) are heading to port for repairs. Not a way to start the season, especially in January on the Bering Sea. What will the next episode bring to these harden fishermen, time will only tell? See you all in a few days!
Season 3 – Episode 8 crab totals
Wizard – 198,000 pounds
Cornelia Marie – 175,000 pounds
Northwestern – 52,000 pounds
Farwest Leader – 21,000 pounds
Time Bandit – 18,000 pounds