Many of the boats sat empty at Dutch Harbor until the southern winds pushed the ice off the grounds. After three weeks without fishing the captains and the crews returned to push through the end of Opilio season.
The Northwestern was one of the first boats to ready for fishing and all eyes were on Jake Harris and whether he would step up and give that extra effort Sig wants. Sig decided to go back to his very profitable crab grounds from early in the season. In the middle of the fist string Jake Harris decided to go inside to lie down and everyone took notice. Sig worried that one of the crew members was going to snap on Jake and he thought that could be a good thing.
Jonathan Hilstrand returned to the boat after recovering from herniated disks in his back that actually were pinching a nerve and making his body numb. Jon decided to go along for the ride on the trip, but his brother Captain Andy put him on double secrete probation.
Wild Bill returned to the Kodiak with one less crew member as he fired Jason Rainwater before they left for the ice break. Greenhorn Warren suddenly had more pressure and responsibility on his shoulders. Captain Bill decided to work less gear to avoid weight problems on deck. Greenhorn Warren was forced to take on more tasks, but he just was not ready for the work. After nearly wrapping himself up in the line on two line throws, the third time his leg was caught in the rope attached to the plunging pot. He was barely saved and everyone was shaken up. Warren was very freaked out and when the rest of the crew started to joke around about it, Warren snapped.
Elliot Neese and his crew took a 10 day break and the homecoming was not as expected from his ex girlfriend. He decided that being away fishing was probably the best thing for him on all fronts. He did not return to a happy crew, but most of them came back to work and finish the season. The crew made it clear that Elliot was not liked and they felt abandoned by him. Elliot had to have a great end of the season to keep his job, but also to earn back any respect from his crew. Elliot decided to go to untested grounds for the crabs. He also had a heart to heart with his crew about leaving and he laid down the law, which was probably not a good move. With all his crew hating him Elliot got to his first pot of the trip and the results were amazing. He found the crab and the pots were stuffed with mostly all keepers. Elliot and his crew finally had reason to smile and the young skipper absolutely needed it big time. Elliot then got a call from home saying his ex was seeking a restraining order against him. Elliot was visibly shaken by the sad news and he started to cry as his crew celebrated on deck. Elliot sat in the captain’s chair contemplating the meaning of life and the pain of a crabber’s life.
The Wizard gambled to stay out in the ice and it paid off huge. Captain Keith filled the boat in 6 days, but the ice was picking up and as they approached the last pot of the season, the boat had to take on bigger and bigger ice chunks. As the block pulled up the last pot the deck lost all power and everything went dark. Alarm sirens rang out as the boat lost power and the crew struggled to hold onto the sinking pot. Engineer Lenny was able to restore power on deck and in the wheelhouse. The crew was very scared and a massive oil leak meant that one of the engines was toast. The Wizard had to head home on a backup engine.
The Seabrooke also stayed out in the ice, but their fishing was not as good. The ice covered all of Captain Scott’s gear and a looming processer date put the time crunch on the ship. The pots were filled with dirty crab. When the crabs are dragged over mud they suffocate and are useless to the fishermen. The pots were filled with dead crab. The tedious sorting and lack of numbers meant horrible conditions for the crew. After several muddy pots they started to get fuller and cleaner. The tired crew was pushed to their limits by the captain. Captain Scott was unrelenting and fatigue was slowing the whole operation down. Scott had to micromanage the deck as the men started to slack on deck. The constant hum of Scott’s voice over the intercom made the torture of a trip even worse. The crew finally got to head to harbor after 48 hours of work with only one ninety minute break.