Production Diary #10: Drunk and Disorderly Seas

Doug Stanley has now posted his 10th post, and it sounds as though the deadly Bering Sea has yet to calm down.  Read this to get a feel on what tonight’s episode may be like… 

 Andy Hillstrand is an easy captain to get along with.  He seldom gets angry, spending the majority of his time with a smile on his face. Today, however, his usual smile was absent.   Andy was deep in concentration. All of his attention was focused on a drunk and disorderly sea.  He was on guard as each wave struck the bow of our vessel, tossing spray across the length of the boat, blasting the wheelhouse windows and temporarily blocking his view of the deck.

Breaking the silence, I asked Andy a question, but he did not hear me; instead he darted his head to the side and quickly sized up the approaching waves.  In conditions like these a rogue wave could suddenly appear and wreak havoc on the Time Bandit. Andy was doing his best to protect his crew, but he also knew that the work still had to be done.   The deckhands worked with their heads down, trying to finish up before the brunt of the storm hit us.  They were all wet and cold.

A small wave, only 10 feet high, broke as it approached our starboard rail.  Its whitewater slapped the side of the boat, sending spray straight into Russell’s face.  As he whipped his head to clear his eyes of salt water, he glared up at Andy at the helm.  Captain Andy raised both hands up in a gesture that said, “Sorry, dude.”  Russell just shook his head at the captain.  Before he turned around and headed back to work he noticed me in the wheelhouse windows and our eyes met briefly. I suddenly felt guilty for being warm and dry.  I decided that it was time to head back out on deck.

Downstairs I donned my foul weather fishing gear, cleaned my lens and stepped outside into the wind and spray. Before I had made it 20 feet, a knee-high wave washed across the deck.  I leaped into the air several times trying to avoid the inevitable, but my boots filled with ice-cold seawater anyway.  My antics, obviously a source of amusement, did not go unnoticed. All of the deckhands were laughing at me. Mimicking the captain, Russell threw both of his gloved hands in the air, palms up, making me laugh as well. As I squish-squished the remaining steps across the deck the chill began to sink in.  I was wet and cold, but feeling entirely free of guilt.

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