Hey y’all, it’s great to be back! After a week away with no television whatsoever (well, except for a couple of minutes of last week’s Portugal-Czech Republic match on a bar TV), I doubled-down on crab this week. This recap covers two episodes, and I sort of mixed the happenings of both eps into one big melange, but I think I got everything covered.
Just in case you’re curious, this weekend’s weather forecast in my area (North Carolina) is kinda for shit: FOUR straight days of expected 100+ degree temps. Actual temperature, mind you, not that RealFeel funny business. So it’s quite refreshing, then, to watch Deadliest Catch and see all that wonderful ice everywhere. There has been so. Much. ICE in the Bering Sea the last couple of weeks, for serious. Insanity. If the ice wasn’t trapping the boats in port, or trapping the pots in the water, it was directly attacking crew members (at least two guys went down with ice-related injuries this week alone). Still, though…it would be nice to have even just a little bit of that ice down here, I think. When I’m on the verge of spontaneously combusting this weekend, perhaps I’ll just close my eyes and picture myself on-deck, feeling the freezing spray in my face…oh wait, scratch that, I think Edgar just set something on fire. DAMMIT, EDGAR.
Northwestern: The first opilio season offload is done with, but Captain Sig is frustrated with that little matter of his boat being completely walled in by ice in Saint Paul Harbor and crushed up against the dock by the floes. He’s beyond ready to get the hell out of Dodge which is much easier said than done. The crafty Norwegian eventually formulates a plan: tie the bow of the boat to the dock, and fire the engines in such a way that the bow pivots against the side of the dock, hopefully using the stern to break through the ice enough to clear a path out. Why, that plan is so
crazy Norwegian that it just might work. The going is slow at first – the tow line actually snaps at one point – but the stern does indeed break up enough ice on the way around for the Northwestern to escape! Well done! Out in the open ocean again, the crew races to haul all the gear before the main ice floes wander south. The catches are great, but both captain and crew are severely fatigued from the breakneck pace. This leads to a couple of Jake problems: first is the unusual lethargy and sullenness of Jake Harris, who concedes that he misses his brother and being on his dad’s boat. No matter how awesome the guys on the Northwestern are, it’s just not the Cornelia Marie, and this thought eats at the young Harris. Jake Anderson also has his frustrations: the rest of the crew (well, deckhand Matt at least) is apparently unhappy with him skipping out on dishwashing duty. Jake doesn’t take kindly to this criticism; after all, as he says, he’s constantly doing other stuff to upkeep the boat, maintaining the logbook in the wheelhouse, etc. He wants to be a captain some day, which means taking on more responsibilities than just washing dishes. Sig hears Jake going off below-decks, but takes it as a good sign: hey, at least the kid is sticking up for himself (he still tells Jake to do the dishes, though, heh.)
Eventually, a 40-hour-straight stint at the wheel catches up with the weary captain. He zones out in the middle of a pot haul, and decides that Edgar should take the wheel for a while. Edgar, happy to have some more captain practice, assigns Jake A. to temporary deckboss duty…and then he gets that gleam in his eye. You know, the same mischievous gleam he gets right before he sets something on fire. Uh oh. Well, Edgar isn’t planning on flexing his pyromaniac tendencies this time, but he does decide to give Mr. Anderson a test: he goes below-deck and switches off the power to the deck crane. Jake responds admirably at first: he doesn’t immediately call for help from problem-solver Edgar, but instead hustles below-deck to see what the problem is. And he eventually discovers the “problem” and corrects it. And Edgar promptly scolds him for not informing the captain that there was a problem in the first place. Oh well. Still…way to go, Jake!
Kodiak: Captain Wild Bill cautiously steers his boat through a sea bearing ice in every direction, and scans the floes for the buoys of his buried gear. The hauling of the first opie string turns into a rescue operation as the crew gingerly pulls up each pot, hoping to spare them from damage as they emerge from the icy water. Just hooking the pots in the first place is a nightmare, as the hook keeps bouncing off of the ice. Luckily, the rescued pots contain lots of crab, taking some of the sting out of a rather heinous chore. What DOESN’T help to improve the mood on board is, once again, deckhand Jason’s temper. Even after being told to knock it off by the captain himself last time, Jason still lashes out at the crew for disrespecting him and, in his view, being just all-around lame. His particular target this time around is Zach, who gets an earful after he openly questions why Jason is on the boat if he dislikes the crew and the way of things on the Kodiak so much.
Fortunately, things don’t come to blows this time around (such a thing would result in an immediate firing of all those involved, Wild Bill cautioned last time). The great fishing continues, but even with the ice thinning out, hauling gear is still a miserable affair as enormous waves constantly pound the boat and drench the crew. Eventually, Wild Bill shuts down the deck after conditions get too hazardous for the guys to safely work.
Wizard: Captain Keith and crew roll tentatively into St. Paul Harbor, which as the Northwestern already discovered, is full of ice. The Wizard makes it slowly through the first few hundred feet of ice pack…and then stops cold. Seems the ice is just too thick for the boat (which, BTW, is not rated for ice-breaking…none of the crab boats are) to crush through. Keith sloooooooowly turns the boat, inch by inch, with the intention of clearing out a path to the dock. This plan works, but it takes time – nearly 8 hours. At long last, the Wizard reaches the dock and offloads its haul. Ice be damned.
The offload takes about 36 hours, more than enough time for much of that ice they broke through on the way in to freeze back in place. Damn. So Keith starts the whole thing over again: he gingerly eases the boat through the ice, breaking it up bit by bit and clearing a path out. However, the ice is too thick yet again and the Wizard comes to a halt once more. Frustrated and considering every option, they decided to use the deck crane to break up some of the ice frozen to the stern, so that Keith can back up the boat for a “running start” into the ice. And it works! The Wizard is FINALLY underway!
Ramblin’ Rose: Fortune has yet to smile much on young Captain Elliot. One thing he has going for him is that the ice has stayed away from the Ramblin’ Rose thus far, but unlike the rest of the fleet, fishing has not been so great. Compounding matters is Elliot’s home life – he finally gets through on the phone to his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his kids, hoping to patch things up with her, but she greets him with the news that she’s seeing someone else. Ouch. Meanwhile, new crewman Candiolo is put on wheel duty for the night…and the boat promptly runs headlong into an ice field on his watch.Fortunately, the ice is loose enough so that they can barely make it through, although the Ramblin’ Rose‘s mere 1/4″ thick hull is making for some very nervous crewmates. They do eventually make it through to a clearer spot, although with the rest of the ice Quickly closing in, Elliot pulls the plug on fishing and heads for safety in the harbor.
Time Bandit: Well, there’s good news and bad news on the Time Bandit this time around. The bad news is that Captain Johnathan’s youthful exuberance and ensuing back injury last time has forced him to stay ashore for this particular opilio haul. Opies Captain Andy wishes his brother well as he prepares to shove off without him for the first time in a long time (maybe ever). The good news on board is that the busted auto-colier (busted by a poorly-loosed chunk of ice early on in the season, that is) was replaced with a shiny NEW super-awesome auto-coiler, which will certainly make life a little easier for the crew on what promises to be a hellish run.
The first order of business: rescue the most recent pot string, which, as with the Kodiak’s gear, is sitting under a thick layer of ice boulders. Andy has Josh Harris secure the pots in the stack as they haul them up, a pretty tough job but one that Andy believes will help prepare Josh for the responsibilities of captain some day. Also on deck, veteran deckhand Eddie reflects on this being his last season on a crab boat, and wonders what the future will hold for his son, Eddie Jr., who is following in his footsteps on the very same boat. His parental anxiety ramps up early on, as a chunk of ice weighing about 50 pounds is shaken off of the deck crane and hits Eddie Jr. squarely in the back – knocking the wind out of him but not causing any serious injury. No sooner is the young Eddie up and about again when ANOTHER, even larger chunk of ice falls upon Eddie Sr., pounding his hip. OUCH. Eddie Sr. is immobilized with an apparently dislocated hip at first, and goes below-decks to recover. However, his injury doesn’t appear to keep him down for long, as he goes back to work on deck in relatively short order. Is that guy tough or what?
Seabrooke: Captain Junior certainly has his work cut out for him this opilio season. Not only is he preparing to deal with three new crewmates (including Kado, the erstwhile deckboss of the Ramblin’ Rose), but engine repairs have set him back over two weeks behind the rest of the fleet. One time-consuming $70,000 repair job later, the Seabrooke finally loads up and shoves off from Dutch Harbor. On deck, the new guys are getting settled in – everything seems to be old hat for Kado, who was a deckboss on his last boat. Veteran Mac gives some pointers to true greenhorn Kyle, who appears to be doing pretty well, that is until his hesitance at the crane controls results in a pot becoming unhooked and falling to the deck. Yikes. Fortunately, no one was under the errant pot when it fell.
Junior’s belated first string has plenty of crab, fortunately, which presents him with a bit of a conundrum. Go fish in another spot away from the approaching ice pack, or reset in the present hot spot and gamble that the ice will hold off? Junior decides to take the latter approach, and has his guys reset before heading for an offload at a crab processing ship. The first opie haul of the season is in the books, and the Seabrooke heads out to fish once again, racing against the ice to make up for their lost time.
More Season 8 Recaps. BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN’T LOOK AWAY, CAN YOU.
Episode 8.1 (April 10, 2012)
Episode 8.2 (April 17, 2012)
Episode 8.3 (April 24, 2012)
Episode 8.4 (May 1, 2012)
Episode 8.5 (May 8, 2012)
Episode 8.6 (May 15, 2012)
Episode 8.7 (May 22, 2012)
Episode 8.8 (May 29, 2012)
Episode 8.9 (June 5, 2012)
Episode 8.10 (June 12, 2012)
Episode 8.13 (July 3, 2012)
Episode 8.14 (July 10, 2012)
Episode 8.15 (July 17, 2012)
Episode 8.16 – Season Finale (July 24, 2012)