Okay! Everyone is back at Dutch Harbor this week and ready to rock again, as the Arctic ice pack that immobilized most of the fleet last time has been pushed back by strong southerly winds. The much-belated opilio season still holds plenty of challenges, though, from family drama to crewmate drama to mechanical drama. Hunker down and have another cup of coffee or twelve, this is gonna be rough. LET’S DO THIS THING.
Oh, and to get everyone adequately fired up this week, I thought I’d dedicate an appropriate Led Zeppelin song to each boat. Listen and enjoy.
Zep Track of the Week: Immigrant Song
Back from a few relatively calm weeks off at home, Captain Sig prepares to take the Northwestern back out to the opie grounds, and expects a long, miserable, icy stretch of fishing ahead. He expects 100% out of the whole crew, which includes the recently lagging Jake Harris. They return to the last place they fished, 3 weeks ago, before the ice set in, and hope that the crab haven’t gone anywhere. So far, so good as far as the ice goes; however, in the middle of a set, Jake leaves the deck to rest. This is becoming a frustrating pattern with him, especially to the rest of the crew, and Sig wonders how long it will take before somebody snaps. He decides to take a more hands-off approach, though, hoping that the crew will eventually sort things out.
Zep Track of the Week: No Quarter
Captain Wild Bill is down one crew member for this latest trip, as he had to let problem deckhand Jason go a few weeks prior. This means more work to go around for the rest of the crew, which also means more pressure on greenhorn Warren Hicks. Once out in the opie grounds, Wild Bill plays it safe and only sets a small number of pots near the edge of the ice, hoping that this will mean less gear to recover if the ice moves in. This strategy means more gear turnover, though, which forces Warren to take on a variety of odd-jobs – not all of which he’s getting the hang of so well. In particular, he is warned to stand clear of the pot line as it is tossed overboard. He doesn’t really take this advice to heart, though, before a pot line snags his leg and nearly drags him overboard. Ouch. Live and learn, I guess. Warren is pretty shaken up by the ordeal, and doesn’t take it too well when some of the other crew members (including the captain) tease/chastise him about his brush with death. That IS kind of a crappy thing to do to the guy who almost just died, but oh well. At least he’s still around to take the abuse in the first place.
Zep Track of the Week: Good Times, Bad Times
Great fishing continues for Keith and crew, but being right on the edge of the ice, finding and hauling their last pot is a bit of a challenge. The pot buoy is finally spotted, and the guys hook it and start to haul it in…and the power suddenly goes out. Oh, shit. Beset with total darkness and adrift in the ice field, the Wizard springs into Full Red Alert as everyone on board scrambles to find and fix the power loss problem. Boat’s engineer Lenny checks out the situation in the engine room, and diagnoses the problem: the primary generator is malfunctioning due to a major oil leak. Not good. He manages to get the boat running again on the backup generator, but they are forced back to Dutch Harbor for repairs.
Zep Track of the Week: Ramble On
And the drama continues. Heading back to his boat after a stint away, Captain Elliot regrets having tried to patch things up at home with his ex-girlfriend, as his visit did not end well. On top of that, the boat’s owner wants results, and Elliot’s crew is very frustrated by the lack of crab, the lack of money, and – in their view – the lack of concern from their captain. The (semi-) good news is that only one disgruntled quit – relative newcomer Candido – but the rest of the guys don’t seem to be too far behind. Out on the sea, Elliot goes to unfished waters, hoping to score lots of needed crab. Before starting the gear set, he goes below-decks to settle things with his crew. His chosen method of clearing the air with the unhappy guys (he tells them to stop bitching and complaining) isn’t taken kindly, to say the last, and at least a few of them start to reflect on what drove former deckboss Kado to quit. Nevertheless, they go to work, hoping for a change in fortune…and that change comes, big time, in the form of pots stuffed with crab. FINALLY. The mood on deck lightens instantly, as the crew’s recurring nightmares of a wasted season appear to be waning. However, up in the wheelhouse, Elliot has yet another source of anguish to contend with: he receives a call from home, informing him of his ex’s intention of filing a restraining order against him.
Zep Track of the Week: Misty Mountain Hop
Not much to report from the Time Bandit this week, other than that opies relief captain/resident goofball Johnathan is back on board after a few weeks off and treatment of a herniated disk (suffered during some on-deck shenanigans earlier in the season). Andy warns his bro to take it easy from here on out, man, like for serious dude.
Zep Track of the Week: The Ocean
After a few dud strings last week, Captain Junior navigates an ice field that has buried his gear, and hopes that the pots under the ice are worth retrieving. He has a date with a processing ship for an offload in a few days, and is looking to fill up the holds with crab, fast. The good news is that the first few pots on the icy string are full of crab…the bad news is that the shifting ice floes dragged the pots along the ocean floor, filling them with mud and suffocating most of the crab. As every dead crab hauled is a worthless crab, the crew is forced to throw back most of what would have been stellar catches. Bummer. Healthy crab do start coming up, but the dead loss means that the last couple of days leading up to the offload will be run at a breakneck pace, with no rest for the weary crew. They start to falter from the lack of sleep, and Junior coaches their every move from the wheelhouse, hoping to perk them up just enough to finish the haul. Finally, the last pot comes up, the tanks are filled almost to capacity, and the Seabrooke heads for the processor.
More Season 8 Recaps. Do stay and peruse them for a spell, won’t 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)
Episodes 8.11 & 8.12 (June 19 and June 26, 2012)
Episode 8.13 (July 3, 2012)
Episode 8.15 (July 17, 2012)
Episode 8.16 – Season Finale (July 24, 2012)