This Deadliest Catch opilio season had to be the worst in recent history and among the current captains and crews, the very worst in their time. Now Discovery delves deep into the lives of these brave souls; Johnathan Michael Hillstrand, Siggard Johnnie Hansen, Keith Harold Colburn, Andrew Paul Hillstrand, Jacob Anderson, Elliott Nicodemus Neese, Joshua Grant Harris, Scott Campbell Jr., Edgar Hansen, William John Wichrowski. Here they reveal their innermost thoughts about everything and bare their souls for fans to see just what makes them tick.
Johnathan described the ice pack that covered the entire continental shelf of the Bering Sea, how fishing was shut down because by doing so, their gear could be lost forever. To others who gave up and did not come back, “(2 word expletive) and try again next year, little boy.”
Their recollections of the first time they were on a crab boat was nostalgic. Most started out early in life for those who grew up with fathers in the business started as toddlers and preteens. Johnathan remembers being 3, and Andy was 2, when he heard Andy crying and tried to go to him to comfort him, but his father would not let him. Sig remembers being about 11 years old when his dad gave him and his brothers a nail gun and they used it to shoot rust off the rail. Being a participant, not just fishing is part of a feeling of belonging.
Emergency situations are recalled by Keith who had several this year; a greenhorn who nearly died, and an engine that nearly overheated.
Wild Bill recalls a pool player in a bar with a wad of hundred dollar bills and he asked him if he was a criminal and he said that he was a crab fisherman. He kept winning $50 a game from him and after they played, he took them to the dock and he decided then and there to be a crab fisherman.
Elliott was 18 when he started crab fishing and made $35,000 in three days and has been “hooked” ever since.
The town was aware when the crab fishermen were in town because they spent lots of money, did drugs, had lots of kids and a few divorces too.
Buying new trucks and crashing them was something Johnathan and Elliott mentioned, when they ran out of money it was time to go back to fishing. These were carefree times for most of the men.
As for nicknames, many did not get nicknames because they never knew if you would return from the sea at any given time. Johnathan never got a nickname because he would kick the ass of anyone who tried to pin a handle on him. Andy said you could call him “Crazy Eye” and when he gets that look in his eye…beware. Both Andy and Sig feel that they are who they are and if someone does not like them, (2-word expletive)! Andy knows he has changed since Phil died and soon afterward, his father died.
Sig and Edgar agree that having a family is the most important thing to them. Keith recalls watching his son being born and the look on his wife’s face was pure bliss. Johnathan loves seeing his grandmother’s face when he surprises her with a visit. Jake Anderson said that seeing his wife’s face just before the vows was very emotional for him.
Answering the question: What is joy? Johnathan said is the sun on his skin. Andy said being out at sea is joy. Edgar asks if there is such a thing, then said when his kids tell him they love him. Jake knows there is joy on the Bering Sea. Wild Bill said Joy was a dancer in Anchorage. But all agreed that a full pot coming over the rail is joy. Joy is seen on the faces of the fans while watching Deadliest Catch. Edgar said that seeing Jake grow up and when he first got his Northwestern jacket, was joy all around.
What hurts? Josh Harris said watching people around him fail is what hurts him. Bill has a disk that goes out on him periodically and he cannot walk. Keith said being away from the family. Junior said being out to sea and not being able to protect your family. Elliott had a tough time talking about his kids and only seeing them twice in six months. Then when he spoke to his daughter she told him that she did not want to talk to him because he was a bad guy, because Mommy told her so and she hung up on him. Keith said missing your child’s first steps or their first word. Junior was out to sea when both of his daughters were born.