The opi season is coming to a close, but mama nature still has one more storm left in her. The boats struggle to get their quotas done and get into Dutch Harbor before the storm hits. The prediction is 40ft seas, 70 knot winds, freezing spray and its all just 72 hours away……
We join the Time Bandit on the crab and coasting to an early end to their opi season. Captain Andy and Captain Jonathan are still wondering who to let go as they have one more deckhand then they need. The fingers are pointing at lazy Russell “the sauna guy” and Mike, the newest arrival, but frequent deckhand. My money was on Russell, who spends more time in the sauna then he does on deck. That was until Captain Andy tells the deckhands to close the aft tank and check the mid tank. The order goes out to the deck but nobody responds. Kinda like when you were younger and your mom told you to take out the trash or get your little brother out of the dryer. Of course you heard the order in the back of your head, but you’ve never seen the entire hot for teacher video and that’s pretty important too.
Captain Andy yells to the crew a few times and then finally Captain Jonathan goes down and really yells at them. When the captain gives you an order you take care of business, or money is lost and people get hurt. Deckhand Mike makes the mistake of arguing that he didn’t hear or couldn’t understand and just takes it a little too far, as Captain Jonathan threatens to fire him if he doesn’t close his yapper. So now it’s a toss up who’s going to leave.
The Time Bandit gets into Dutch and unloads. They also have to decide who to unload. They bring Mike to the wheelhouse and go over the fact they have to let someone go. Mike just about knows he’s getting canned, when Captain Jonathan turns it around and says they are going to keep him. It’s a good choice. Mike works harder and despite a few attitude problems is a great deckhand. They bring up Russell next and give him the bad news. No king Crab season for Russell. This leads us to a really awkward silence as Russell stares off into space and is not sure what to say. You can almost hear the crabs say, “Pack your lazy sauna ass up and get the heck off the boat”.
Time Bandit is done for opi’s and will now take some time off until king crab.
On the Wizard, they are rushing to make their delivery so they can get back out for one last trip. They are racing with full stacks and when it starts getting too rough, they have to release 40 pots to even out the boat. A pot is a thousand lbs without ice and almost two thousand, with. As they off-load their crab, they also off load greenhorn Josh, who actually tries to make a last ditch effort to stay on the boat. Sorry, Steve Howe, this ain’t the Yankees. You only get a couple chances on a crab boat.
In need of a deckh, the Wizard crew huddles to discuss bringing on Russell. The first thing the crew says is, “Does he know there is no sauna on board?”
For the most part, everyone seems fine with Russell joining the crew and Captain Keith signs him up. Russell gets his stuff off the Time Bandit and joins the Wizard.
The Wizard is now racing against the storm to finish their opi season. As we leave them, wind is kicking up to 60 knots and nobody can stay on deck.
The Northwestern is back out to sea, after dropping off Jake, so he can be with his family. They now have 72 hours to make their quota and are one man short. As the storm gets closer, the temperature is at 30 below with wind chill. A pot slips out of its harness and hits the deck, barely missing deck hand Matt. Sig gives them a little time to sleep. The great part is the crew thought they got an hour of rest. But what they don’t know, is that Captain Sig messed with the clock and got them up much earlier. You gotta dig this guy.
The crew works 50 straight hours, grinding on gear that is giving out low numbers. As the storm comes in they finally hit their last pot and light the hook on fire signaling the traditional ending to the Northwestern’s season. Now they’ve got to fight the arctic hurricane to get back and off-load.
As the catch closes, the hurricane is on the fleet. Winds are on their way to 70 knots, water is reaching 40 ft, and the wind chill is below freezing. Maydays begin to pop up on the radio and the rescue chopper sends out a signal they are responding to a boat taking on water.