Just this last weekend, some of the “Deadliest Catch” skippers spent time down in Sarasota, Florida raising money for the Florida Center for Child & Family Development by way of an auction. The trip to the sunshine state was actually almost a week long stay for the captains,–a.k.a. “Bad Boy of the Bering sea” thanks to their tour sponsers, Erik Donaldson & Williams Davis–starting off with a few days of good ole alligator hunting near Sebring! From there, captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, Larry Hendricks, and Keith Colburn held an autograph session for fans and attended a sold out crab fest at Barnacle Bill’s Seafood in downtown Sarasota. Watch the guys in action on this video-clip, courtesy of mysuncoast.com
Have you wondered how “living on the edge” really is for these daring, thrill seeking adventurers? Nick Walter from the Bradenton Herald explains…”A week ago, four of them – Time Bandit fishing vessel captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, Wizard Capt. Keith Colborn and Sea Star Capt. Larry Hendricks – flew 12 hours from the docks of Dutch Harbor near the town of Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands to Sarasota.
Brothers Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand run the Time Bandit, a 113-foot boat they built with their father in 1991.
They’re also pilots.
The Hillstrands often fly three-and-a-half hours from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor, where they land on a 2,200-foot runway. Steel mesh nets at each end of the runway are the only barriers to the Pacific Ocean on each side.
Donaldson, who basically got to know the Hillstrands through crabbing and “just drinking beer with them,” does not go on the Time Bandit, but often will make the plane ride.
“They’ll land the plane in 40-mile-an-hour winds sometimes,” Donaldson said. “Every time I fly there, I’m scared to death.”
Such is the price for an audience’s infatuation.
Johnathan Hillstrand, 45, cemented his heroic persona during an episode in which he saved a man who had been swept off a nearby boat by a wave.
Andy, 43, filmed while Johnathan skippered the boat and helped pull the man from the water.
“(Johnathan) got more famous off that,” Andy said. “That works out fine. He’s the wild guy. I’m the calm, cool responsible one (supposedly). But we both love living on the edge. It’s pretty much pure adrenaline.”
That’s what a 100-foot rogue wave can do.
“One about took us down,” Andy said. “I thought, ‘OK. We’re dead.’ Then that went by and that’s when we knew the boat was built well.”
Viewers no doubt admire this “craziness.” Just to be able to kick back, turn on the television, and say, “Glad that’s not me.”