In this episode of “Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice,” the summer is rapidly approaching in Nome, Alaska, and the dredgers better get a move on before their equipment falls through the ice. The disclaimer at the beginning of this show tells it all; “offshore dredging for gold is not a get-rich-quick opportunity. It is expensive and dangerous. Most people who try, fail. Some have died. You do not want to dredge without extensive knowledge and training.” So put away that map of Alaska and just watch the show.
This episode opens with Steve Pomrenke, Shawn’s father, warning everyone that the ice is melting and it is unsafe to be out there dredging. Shawn has the heaviest dredge of the three dredgers named the “Shamrock.” With long fissures in the ice called leads, it is getting very dangerous for any heavy equipment that could be devastating to life and equipment.
The ice is free-floating where the “Lazy Gator” is sitting, and they sit upon the thinnest of the ice. But that last big score is what they will be seeking. These renegades have been doing very well, and the chance for one last jackpot is what gives them the incentive. With low visibility, it is becoming harder and harder to find the honey hole, and with the pressure ridges moving the ice above, the divers could be lead to instant death if they are caught below when the ice breaks on top of them.
The “Shamrock” is losing time with their amateur diver Phil wasting precious time finding gold below. This is no time for an amateur to be below the ice. Phil has been wasting time for the “Shamrock” crew, and why Shawn would send him below again is a mystery.
On “The Clark,” Zeke is back at full crew, but the melting ice is about to end their treasure hunt. Zeke is broke and broken. The decision is to make one last dive against Emily and Steve’s wishes. Zeke is determined, but more like driven to the gold. He refuses to leave the hunt behind, and although Emily questions him, he feels that she is abandoning the operation, and not just being cautious.
Derek of the “Lazy Gator” heard ominous noises while below and came back to the surface. Hearing the ice moving was not enough for the rest of the crew who are not ready to stop yet.
On the “Shamrock,” Phil is still wasting time, and the rest of the crew is fed up with his time-wasting tactics. Cody, who is recovering from a blown out eardrum, is going down below to hopefully save the day. Phil is ordered to come up while Cody goes down, hoping his eardrum will not give him pain. If he injures his eardrum again, it could end his diving career. Cody immediately finds gold, and for now, his eardrum is holding out.
On the “Lazy Gator,” they are diving in one-hour shifts and finding pickers that are pieces of gold big enough to pick up with their fingers, ones they get to keep for themselves. The last diver cannot stay down too long because he keeps hearing the ice crack above him and knows that his family needs him more.
On “The Clark,” Zeke is dredging under dangerously thin ice. Zeke decides to come up and add thirty more feet to his hose to give him a bigger radius to hunt, and Zeke is ready to get every last ounce of gold before he is forced to abandon the operation or die trying. Down below, Zeke finds just small amounts of gold with his extra long suction hose, but his pride is at stake and knows nothing more than gold dredging, even if they are the last dredge on the ice.
On the “Shamrock” they see Steve come out to warn them to stop their operation. He does not want to see his son lose his $250,000 investment or his or his crews life.
Zeke surfaces disgusted as the operation comes to an end. His expectations were not met, and he is a dejected man.
Shawn admits that each year expectations are to find more gold, then put it back in to find more gold, put that back in to find more gold, and eventually to find enough to quit.
The season tally gives the “Lazy Gator” a clear winner with 95.95 ounces worth $157,501.93.
“Shamrock” has found 69.45 ounces worth $114,002.18.
The “Clark” has the worst record with only 7.7 ounces for a total of $12,638.55 proving that “Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice” is not easy to find.
(Photo of gold panning: Wikimedia, Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest website)