Entry No. 7: The Storm Before Opilio Season

05/15/07  This is Production Diary #7, just posted on the Discovery website.  It’s written by producer and photographer Doug Stanley and it’s about his travels on the F/V Timebandit.

The Bering Sea was tossing, not quite a torment; whipped up, but waiting patiently.  The snow was falling lightly and the wind bit hard through the folds of my new Time Bandit jacket, a birthday gift from the Hillstrands and their crew.   As the wind made its now familiar howling and tore through the Time Bandit’s rigging, I struggled to get through the sea door and into the galley.  The steel of the ship thumped with a beat, not with the constant pounding of waves, but with the stomping of dancing feet above my head in the wheelhouse.  We were not facing another Alaskan storm at sea.  The Time Bandit was tied to a dock in Dutch Harbor.  A party inside the ship was raging full bore.

It wasn’t my first night partying in Dutch, but I think it was the best night ever.  The Time Bandit’s galley was filled with crab fishermen, a load of girls from town, and many of the Deadliest Catch regulars.  “Pork Chop,” also known as Rick Quashnick, owner and captain of the Maverick, was there telling stories in the galley and swaying back and forth like I had never seen him.  A few feet away Larry Hendricks, captain of the Sea Star, was engaged in yet another fit of hysterical laughter. The house was full and the cheers were deafening. As I climbed the wheelhouse stairs, I squeaked past Mike Rowe, pinned against the wall. He gave me one of those “Can you believe this?” looks as I passed him. 

Upstairs I pried my way through the tightly woven crowd.  Across the wheelhouse, I could see Johnathan sitting at the wheel and changing the dancing music back to a song that had just played several times.  Johnathan had a girl leaning on his arm and a whiskey bottle in his hand.  As he saw me approach he handed me the whiskey and began to dance.  We all began to dance like there was no tomorrow. We had good reason.  Winter had arrived in Dutch Harbor and most of us onboard would soon be risking our lives again.  Tomorrow, the majority of the boats would head to sea.  The time had come again to fish opilio crab and battle ice several hundred miles beyond the harbor’s mouth, out in what Mike Rowe calls “the vast Bering Sea.”

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2 Responses to Entry No. 7: The Storm Before Opilio Season

  1. amy p says:

    I am a new watcher and fan of The Deadliest Catch. I am hooked. I started watching the new season when I discovered they started season 2005 at 9:00 am daily. Now I have seen almost every episode to date. It really makes me want to take a trip to Alaska to fish. The galley would be the only half way fitting job for me. However
    I have been told I’m an awsome cook. By the way I’m an Edgar girl!! Be safe we are hooked and so are your families. Your all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Happy Fishing,

    Amy p.

  2. gerrie c says:

    Like Amy p, I am a new and avid, extremely interested fan of Deadliest Catch. Saw one Ep. (by accident) 2 years aog, and just now *rediscovered* this marvelous show. If I didn’t have COPD, I would seriously consider making a trip to Dutch Harbor just to see the boats leave and come in. I even watch the reruns several times, and intend to order the 5 Ep DVD set.

    Best of luck to all you brave fishermen,

    Gerrie C

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