It’s the Season Finale. Yes, boys and girls, this is it!
We’ve reached the end of opi season and almost everyone has come in safely. A few boats remain out on the Bering and one still has a quota to meet. A huge arctic storm is on top of them and the coast guard has just called out pon-pon-pon which is notification of an emergency, but one that is not as severe as a mayday. A ship sinking is a mayday; a ship stuck on the beach is a pon-pon-pon. In this case, a ship is stuck on the rocks and a coast guard copter is on its way.
It’s 24 hours before the final off-load and a cod fishing vessel is stuck up on the rocks. The coast guard is communicating successfully with the ship and attempts to lower the rescue basket. The winds go from 70 knots to 120 and the turbulence is just too great to get the crew off from the ship.
The crew decides to take matters into their own hands and use a fallen pot to get off the back of the ship. The first deckhand makes it easily. The second gets a 38 degree bath as he’s struck by a wave, but he manages to climb the rocks. The third negotiates the rocks like a pro and the fourth gets an icy greeting right when he steps off the boat but manages to get to the shore. The odd part is when they then try to start to climb the cliffs like crazy-ass spider monkeys. The coast guard lowers the basket, letting them know they don’t need to scale the cliff, and they all get safely aboard the copter. The boat, however, is stuck and the only way it’s coming back is in pieces. They are very, very lucky to have survived.
The Wizard is the last boat that actually has a little fishing left and it is slow going. They make runs out to the deck in between huge waves to haul gear and drop pots. Finally, when it just starts getting too rough, Captain Keith calls them in and a few minutes later a huge wave that was probably caused by David Hasselhoff (Never trust a man who can run in slow motion) covers the entire front deck, sending gear all over the place. The crew does what they can to get everything tied down and pull their last remaining gear. It’s the end of a very rough opi season for the Wizard.
On the Cornelia Marie things are a bit lighter. With their fishing done, they are just picking up un baited pots Captain Phil dropped before the weather got too bad. Any crab pulled up would be a bonus and Deckhand Josh, Captain Phil’s son, has a bet going with his dad. If he can hook the last few pots he would earn a full share. The first couple come easy and Josh nails them. His dad, seeing his son hookin’ them, speeds up to make it tougher. Josh still manages to hook them. On the final pot Captain Phil speeds up even more and makes it an even longer throw. Josh throws the hook out as far as he can and nails it. He’s in for a full share.
The Time Bandit, with their season already done, follow tradition and send the call out to their father up in the hills. The family gather on the boat, light fire crackers, blow horns, and send good wishes out to the old man that paved their way.
A call is then heard on the radio. Apparently the ship Nuca Island has taken on water, inside the wheel house, causing a bit of alarm around the fleet. The Sea Star and Captain Larry are very close and get over into the area very quickly. The radio gives no sign of the boats condition. We wonder for a bit if they’ve gone under and then a crackle comes across the airwaves and they let us know they’ve managed to correct themselves and get going again after almost tipping. If that don’t wake you up, make you clean your shorts and thank Jeebus you’re alive, I’m not sure what would.
Captain Sig, who is not to far ahead of the Nuca Island, is wondering if he’s going to go under himself. With full gear stacks and a full boat of crab, he’s getting dangerously low. “If I let the throttle go we will pretty much go sideways.” Then Captain Sig goes back to business. I’m sorry, did he just say if he lets go of the throttle he’ll go sideways? He doesn’t even seem worried about it. I hydroplane a little in my car during a rainstorm and I’m changing my fruit of the looms.
All our brothers of the sea make it in safely and we close the season handing out cold hard cash.
Wizard – 1.4 million lbs of crab for 55K per deckhand
North Western – 890K lbs of crab for 37K per deckhand
Cornelia Marie and the Time Bandit 700K lbs of crab for 47K per deck hand
You, too, could make 37K in a month as long as you’re willing to work for 60 hours straight, in sub degree weather, on a boat, in 40 ft seas, in a snow storm, surrounded by 1000lbs of swinging metal, in the dark. On second thought, I think I’ll just go to my buddy Vince’s house and play it on his Xbox.
This Sunday starts SHARK WEEK!