What can I say, the hunt for crab is at full steam on day 7 of this edition of the Deadliest Catch. At this point in the season the stakes are rising — this point is where fortunes are won and lost.
The Wizard, with its replacement captain Monty and new three-day-old greenhorn Guy, is back to grind after 24 hours of hauling gear. Today will decide if the 40-year-old former rodeo rider has what it takes to be an Alaskan Crab fisherman. So far, it has been rough going for Guy. The crew and captain are feeling that if Guy does not pick up a notch, his contribution to the cause will be more of a hindrance than a help.
The day starts off with clearing about 1000 pounds of ice off the deck of the Wizard before any of the 200 pots can be retrieved. Any recovery the crew had will be extinguished even before they can tackle the crab. What a way to start the day… Let’s hope that Guy can keep up!
After 12 hours of grueling pulling of pots, sorting, and filling the bait bags Guy walks off deck without notice. Has Guy cracked? Has the last 48 hours working on a crab boat been too much for him?
The answer is YES! Greenhorn Guy has hit the wall and has called it quits. After a brief exchange in the wheel house between Captain Monty and Guy, the captain has decided that best course of action is to send Guy for a breather on the bench. From this point on, the crew will be a man down for the rest of the season.
Southwest of the Wizard about 60 miles is the Cornelia Marie. So far their greenhorn Josh is holding up a bit better than Guy on the Wizard. Today’s test for Josh is assisting in laying another line before next monumental squall moves into the Bering Sea and plays havoc with the crab fleet. Fishing started out slow, but now the numbers are picking up. However, time is an issue with a squall moving toward them that includes ice, high wind and high seas.
As the hours pass, the squall comes closer to the Cornelia Marie. Seas are rising, but the real fear for any fisherman this time of year is ice on the boat. On deck at a balmy 11 degrees, the crew must work to keep the ice off the boat while hauling up pots of crab. When the crab hit the sorting table they freeze within seconds, turning into red hockey pucks. Not the best weather to fish in!
The Farwest Leader is 47 miles to the east of the Cornelia Marie. So far fishing has been a tough go due to the numbers they are able to keep with Bairdi crab. The pots are full (1000 crab), but they can only keep 40-50 crab. Not too good at all! To make matters worse, another crab boat has dropped a line right on top of the Farwest Leader’s pots. A no no in the unwritten rules of crab fishing. Captain Greg is not happy because the crab is not only going in Captain Greg’s pots but the other crab boat’s pots. Taking averages of 60 good crab per pot down to 20-40 crab and making slow crabbing even slower.
After 14 hours of work on deck, the crew is down in the galley refueling on eggs, pork chops, and potatoes before their next string is ready to be pulled. It is not unusual for the crew to down 3000 calories a piece at each sitting; however, due to the nature of their work the pounds still melt away. Just think, the perfect workout – you can eat anything you want and pounds just drop. Too bad you have to do in on the Bering Sea!
Before the meal is over, an alarm sounds in the wheel house. Captain Greg first checks for fire on the close circuit TV. No fire, but the port side engine is not functioning correctly. Greg shuts it down. After inspection of the engine and a diagnostic check, Captain Greg’s suspicions are correct — the motor on the blower is fried! Before they can move on, the crew must secure the propeller shaft to prevent any more damage to the motor. As the boat moves through the water, motion causes the propeller to move on its own. In doing so, the propeller and the shaft it is attached to turns and will cause increase damage to a broken engine. The task of securing the propeller shaft is not an easy one.
What will Captain Greg’s next move be – head back to port for repairs to the engine or continue to fish on one engine which is extremely risky. Money is a big persuader for any man looking at making their own fortune, so Captain Greg has decide to stay at sea and fish. Instead of Baridi they are going to rig for Opilio crab.
Northeast of the Farwest Leader about 47 miles is the Northwestern. After two whole days of keeping 500 keepers per pot, Captain Sig has reset his gear at the same spot. A gamble that has paid off!!!! After 24 hours the crew pulls the first “set back pot” — guess what . . . full of crab. Sig has done it again! The master knows his crab fishing!
Sig, feeling so good about their current fortunes, decides to do something that has not done in 20 years — work the deck. Yeah, Sig is going to get his hands dirty. Edger will now man the wheel house while Sig fills his place. After 15 pots of job swapping, Sig and Edger switch back. Bizzaro world is now over. To give you another idea of how great this “fishing hole” is that Sig is sitting on . . . well his crew has brought up 90,000 pounds in 24 hours. All three of their holding tanks are now stuffed with red gold. A record haul!
At Dutch Harbor the Time Bandit is still in port for repairs to their prop. Captain Andy has decided to do the repairs himself and suits up in wetsuit and air tank. While Andy is cutting the line from the prop, not all is rosy topside.
The Dutch Harbor police are in the wheel house of the Time Bandit inquiring about deckhand Nathan. Unknown to Captain Andy, Nathan has an outstanding warrant out on him. Now it is the Time Bandit’s turn to be a man down on the crew.
After an hour in 36 degree water, Captain Andy has finished cutting the line from the prop and shaft. Now it time to post bail for Nathan — $500. With Nathan free for now, the Time Bandit can push off to the fishing grounds and back into the game.
Season 3 – Episode 10 crab totals
Cornelia Marie- 601,000 pounds
Wizard – 595,000 pounds
Northwestern – 400,000 pounds
Farwest Leader – 100,000 pounds
Time Bandit – 75,000 pounds