After watching “Deadly Seas” on Discovery Channel, no doubt, fans of “Deadliest Catch” and similar programs will be rushing to add this show to their favorites. Fans have gotten to know each member of the “Deadliest Catch” family but they are not the only ones who sail the seas in all weather and under horrible conditions.
This episode is titled “The Bering Sea” and as the episode begins early February, the Bering Sea is in a bad mood as two boats are being jostled by the rough seas. The crab fleet has been temporarily shut down due to the worst weather in many years. These two crews and boats push to their very limits. The salvage tug Redeemer has no choice but to set out as they are the only ones who are able to save boats that are in trouble in these waters. A fishing boat called the Kimberly is 400 miles away, stuck on the rocks in the Aleutian Islands. Only a few days ago the crew nearly lost their lives when the million dollar boat was caught in the storm. It is now on the rocks and being pounded by the tides. If the Redeemer cannot save the boat, it will be a devastating loss to the skipper, Aloys Kopun Jr. While cod fishing, the temperature dropped from 24 degrees to seven below in a mere 45 minutes. The radar and controls iced up as the boat was covered in tons of ice. The crew was rescued by Coast Guard helicopter from the lifeboatÂ—a fate many have not been so lucky to live to tell.
Another boat the pollock boat Arctic Wind is also ready to take on the storm, but they have decided to gamble and look for more valuable cod instead. Captain Kevin Doyle is a seasoned captain and as the crew switches over the gear from pollock to cod, he watches the forecast closely. Out to sea, they release the net that will hopefully capture the prized cod that will make them the pay they wait all year for. As they start to retrieve the catch, the net weighs 80,000 pounds and is too heavy for the winch to pull it up. A brave crewman climbs out onto the net to attach another hook to the bag as big swells threaten to send him to his icy death. Finally he attaches the hook and the crew process the large haul.
As the Redeemer makes its way to the Kimberly, the weather is getting worse as ice continues to form on the deck as the crew chops away with the wind chill factor reaching 75 below zeroÂ—too cold for the Coast Guard to attempt a rescue. The Redeemer is only 100 miles from the Kimberly and does not want to be another casualty of the Bering Sea and have no clue as to the shape of the boat they are attempting to salvage.
Back in Dutch Harbor, the Arctic Wind offloaded their first catch: over 300,000 pounds in just two days, and will be going out again to reach their quota for another 900,000 pounds of cod and one week left of cod season and the ice pack moving south. Competition is another problem, as two other boats are in the vicinity and could very easily lessen their catch. The first bag is only half full of fish and fortunately it is mostly cod. As they crew catches them, they stab them near the gill as they are loaded into the boat. Stab the fish in the wrong place and a $10 cod is worthless as Kevin chastises a deckhand.
As the Redeemer makes its way to the Kimberly, they are reminded that just ten days ago, another boat the Heritage capsized when the ice formed too quickly on deck and the boat could not right itself. Fortunately the seven man crew was rescued. Just 24 miles from the Kimberly, the Redeemer must cease operations and find shelter for now.
On their third cod trip, the Arctic Wind has managed to dodge the worst of the storm pulling in 100,000 pounds a day and the haul looks great. But one rite of passage must be performed, as the greenhorn Dylan has to drink a mouthful of cod blood.
The Redeemer stayed in port overnight, but now must clear the ice on deck so they can do their job of salvaging the Kimberly. As they reach the boat, it is badly destroyed and has a three-foot hole in the hull and cannot be towed back to port; sadly it will never sail again. The salvage mission is far from over; the crew must remove any oil and fuel left onboard before the next storm comes through. Sadly the fuel has leaked out through the storm and the salvage is a total disappointment.
On the Arctic Wind, an alarm has sounded as a leak onboard could sink the boat. Kevin shut down the engine but they are just three miles from shore and could drift onto the rocks. As the crew tries to weld the leak, thankfully the weld held and they are safe for now. Suddenly an alarm sounds and something is clogging the pipe; a dead seagull was stuck in the pipe. Seagulls are believed to be the spirits of fishermen and sailors who have died. But now the crew celebrates the chance they took as they beat the odds and rejoice in the record cod catch on the BeringÂ—one of the “Deadly Seas.”
Photo of frozen deck of another boat on the Bering Sea: Wikimedia