Phil Harris: The man every one would like to hear about and from these days! His health crisis continues for a few more months so read up on one of ‘Deadliest Catchs’ favorite skippers. He’s forever thankful to his fans and continues to make appearances throughout the summer as he works on his health. Discovery has set up a link for fans to send get well wishes to Capt Phil…You may want to hop over and say your piece!
Phil Harris: I would like to thank everybody that sent cards and presents, little gifts, get well cards, there was a pile of them. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for doing that, you didn’t need to do that. I looked at and read every one of them, and I appreciate it. I’d like to thank the individuals who did that.
eddie and diann: Hey Phil, my wife and I think you and the Cornelia Marie are the best part of the show, so are you getting better?
Phil Harris: It’s hard to say. I’m on a six month program as far as medicine, and I still have 2 months to go before they go back in and see if the blood clot dissolved or if we’re going to have problems. I look better than I did, I was pretty run down. I also have to go to the hospital every three or four days, even now.
Time Bandit fan: Phil what happened to you during the hurricane?
Phil Harris: Well, it was blowing easterly about 100 out, we were hit by a great big wave and it launched me from the bed into the wall.
paula2317: We love watching the show, but being a parent myself, how hard is it to be the dad with the boys on deck as part of the crew?
Phil Harris: Well, it’s kind of hard with those two because Ding and Dong know exactly how to push my buttons like nobody else can. It’s rewarding, being able to watch your kids, and hang out with them in a work environment. It’s sometimes nerve-wracking also because those guys can bring my blood to a boil.
Laura: Hello Captain Phil. How is it working with the film crew?
Phil Harris: The film crew’s great. You start out and you have a time where they’re getting to know you and you’re getting to know them. It’s about a two week thing where you get to know each other and come to some ground and start progressing to where they can get some work done and I respond more to their questions. It takes a little bit, though, a couple week deal before I get to know the guy. The two film crews I’ve had on the boat were great guys. The one was very instrumental in helping me when I was sick. He kind of took care of me, went way above and beyond being a cameraman.
Sarahlu03: Captain Phil, thank you for giving us your time tonight, I am happy to hear that everything is going to be ok with you! I was just wondering why doesn’t the Cornelia Marie have a sorting table like the other boats?
Phil Harris: Number one, I’m not okay yet. Like I said, I still have 2 months to go. We don’t know whether I’m going to be all right or not. I’m kind of in a zone where anything could happen, that blood clot could turn around and go to my heart again, I wouldn’t survive it a second time. I still have 2 months of medication and then we see what’s going.
As far as a sorting table, we have one that’s built into our launcher which we sort from, which is different than the rest of the guys. It works, it’s a lot faster. As time goes by, I might switch to a sorting table like the other guys have. For the time being, our sorting table works great and the guys don’t want to change it.
HeidiJJ: OK, the mullet thing. I’ve been watching since season one, and have never seen any of you guys with an “authentic” mullet. Tell your kids to go rent “Joe Dirt” – that’s a mullet! So is this an inside family joke that just hasn’t been explained well in editing, or are your kids really too young to know? BTW – Your hair? The longer the better!
Phil Harris: Well, thank you very, very much. And that’s exactly the way I feel. They get a kick out of claiming that I have a mullet. They think that’s funny, I try to remind them daily that they’re idiots. But, I just have a normal haircut, it’s the way I’ve worn my hair forever. So, thank you very much for saying something nice about the hairdo.
Capt Phil signing the ‘Deadliest Catch’ book
Lhiiiz: Phil, you credit the camera man with watching over you during your illness, so do you think without him there things would have been…more dire?
Phil Harris: Yeah, they could have. He was there, kept an eye on me. I couldn’t lay down because my lungs were filling up with blood. When I was lying down, Todd made sure if I was falling asleep, that I could clear my lungs, they were filling with blood and you can drown on your own blood. He made sure I was up and okay so that I didn’t drown.
hrussell: Phil, how is your health going? What is going to happen if you can not be on the boat anymore?
Phil Harris: I don’t have an answer to that question, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not ready to retire. I still love what I do. It’s going to be a bad day if they tell me I can’t go back. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’d probably freak out. I don’t want to think about that. Crabbing’s the only thing I’ve ever done that I enjoy. I hope and pray that’s not the case.
Vickie: I read somewhere that you make bird feeders in your spare time. I was wondering if you sell them online? If so where can I buy one?
Phil Harris: Well, I don’t sell them online. I build them, custom build them. I built one for the president of Boeing. One for a memorial for a kid killed in Iraq. They’re a lot of money, like $1,000 apiece. They’re custom built and I make them especially for that person. I find out what that person likes, what his hobbies are – if he plays golf or whatever – and I build the birdfeeder to match what he does.
slushie000: What’s the rest of your family like?
Phil Harris: Well, there’s only my two boys, my dad and myself. I think everybody knows what my kids are like. And then my dad, He’s kind of the rock of all of us.
Laura: Was there any other career you wanted to do besides crab fishing?
Phil Harris: I had dreams like any kid, I still feel like I’m a kid in my mind. Sure, fly airplanes, build things. There’s all sorts of different things I’d like to do. We might be trying them out here shortly if things don’t go right.
Kris: On the show tonight your boys seemed composed at the news about your health. Tough guys; how were Jake and Josh really dealing with the news?
Phil Harris: Well, their maturity kind of showed, they kind of kept themselves together. Jacob is a very private man, he just shows his emotions, he holds that by himself. He worries just as much as Josh about me, he just does it in a different way. Where Joshua is a little more free-wheeling. I’m proud of them both. They knew what was going on with me but they were able to hold it together, keep going and do their jobs. That’s a big deal to me. I was worried about that; if those guys are not doing their job, someone’s going to get hurt and then we’d have a hell of a problem then.
Tiger: Phil, have you had any other major problems with your heart, lungs, etc., since your blood clot?
Phil Harris: No, I haven’t. In the hospital, they came and checked out my heart and my lungs. They told me the only reason I survived this thing in the first place was my heart was in real good shape. They said on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being best, my heart was a 10 if not an 11. And they looked at my lungs, they were kind of surprised, my lungs were clean for as bad as I abused my body. One person said they looked like the lungs of an older person’s who didn’t smoke.
hurrican47: How old were you when you first started crab fishing?
Phil Harris: I was 17 years old when I first went fishing.
Bandtia TBWench Lori: Hi Phil–Bandita Lori here. Is it your hope that one day your sons will take over the boat? Become the captain or co-captains of it? Thanks for chattin’ with us!
Phil Harris: That’s entirely up to them. It would be great for me, but that’s a big deal. That’s a major, major big deal. They have to go to school and get their licenses. They’d have to do so much stuff, put in a lot of time, they’d have to really want it. I don’t know if they’re prepared to put that kind of time in. Jacob maybe.
When I first started running boats it was a lot easier to go up in the wheelhouse and run a boat. There’s so many different licenses and regulations now, you have to really want it to run a boat. I probably would be more proud of the fact that they get the knowledge, and learn how to run a boat. In all honesty, you really have to have your stuff together to run a boat. Not only for the insurance but the Coast Guard. You have to be voted in by other fishermen to get insurance and be able to run the boat and get insured. You have to be voted in an insurance pool. So other fishermen decide whether I’m able to run a boat. If they made it even that far I’d be exceptionally proud of them.
Sheryl: Playing practical jokes between Captains makes it seem like you guys really like each other. Blake seemed to appreciate the attention you paid him when you welded his pot. What’s your most memorable practical joke that was played on you?
Phil Harris: Wow! There’s been so many. I’ve had a mannequin come up in the pot all dressed up in raingear, and it looked like someone got stuck and went over with it. They’ve turned the clocks ahead on me and made it appear we slept for 12 hours when we actually slept for 15 minutes and got me all in a tizzy. They’ve done stupid stuff, put something in my bunk or cellophane over the toilet, etc. The list goes on and on.
Capt Phil & Crew, season 4. (photo courtesy of Discovery)
Slithinator: If you had to choose between having no Red Bull for a day, or having no cigarettes for a day, which one would you choose?
Phil Harris: Well, I’m trying to stop smoking, but I’d have to say I’d rather have the cigarettes than Red Bull. I’m really trying to quit, I really need to quit. I understand I’m not going to do it in a day, but I’ve cut back by extreme amounts, and trying to get myself in the mindset that you just can’t smoke anymore. So, I’d have to say cigarettes.
FVCM rocks my world: Hi Phil! Last week Josh mentioned the new clothing line added for the Cornelia Marie – and he credited you completely for the creation of the polka dot thong. Any plans to continue making CM stuff for women?
Phil Harris: Yeah. If you go to our website http://www.captainphilharris.com it just got started, but we’re coming up with new stuff all the time. If anyone has ideas, feel free to email me or send them through MySpace or the Wiki at http://www.deadliest-catch-wiki.discovery.com/?t=anon. We’re looking for suggestions all the time.
Laker07: How has your life changed since being on the show?
Phil Harris: You know, for starters I wake up every morning, I look in the mirror and remind myself I’m a crab fisherman first and foremost. Everything about my life has changed. The notoriety this year; I can’t go to the store, dinner, or a bar anymore without causing a small riot. I’ve gotten to meet some pretty exciting people, and that’s a lot of fun. The notoriety I guess, I get to do things people don’t get to do. I’m not a TV celebrity, I’m not anything but a crab fisherman that happened to be on a television show. I remind myself of that every single day and keep a good head about things.
goaliegal18: So we know the Hansens are Norwegian and the Hillstrands are Swedish. What are the Harris’s
Phil Harris: I’m Norwegian.
Shari Omaha: Captain, please settle a bet! Do you guys eat Spam on crab boats? Thanks! And hope to see you healthy for ’08 King Crab season.
Phil Harris: I personally don’t eat Spam, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it, I just don’t think we have any on the boat. I wouldn’t want to make a steady diet of it, but I’ve had it a few times and it’s okay.
dwnbythbay: Are there any special things that the crew of the Cornelia Marie does to initiate a greenhorn?
Phil Harris: Not really. They start at the bottom. It’s a big deal to just get with the program. We’re probably one of the hardest boats of all of them to work on. I’m pretty demanding and just the way we fish. The poor guy starts out doing bait. Our pace is pretty rigorous. The guy’s got enough to do without us screwing around with him. I don’t like to frazzle the guy right out of the gate then he’d be no good for the whole time. We’re hard on a guy when they’re first starting out; it’s brutal.
Ken: Hello! I was wondering if you feel a house aft configuration like Cornelia Marie is better than house forward like Northwestern??
Phil Harris: I feel a house aft is way more safe, it’s safer – it’s like apples and oranges. The boats are way different from each other. And all the little quirks are different. The wind and the waves have to travel about 80-90-100 feet to get to you, where they don’t on a boat like Sig’s. The windows are right there. There’s just a lot of safety issues that the boats have, that I feel the aft house is a lot safer.
Wayne: How often do you talk to the other crab boats when fishing and do you ever give each other hints on your special spots?
Phil Harris: Oh yeah, we work together. I’m always talking to somebody; one of the guys. You have your fishing partners, we have strategy where we work together. You’re out there, it’s not rocket science you’re just trying to catch crab. Now that we have rationalization things aren’t the way they used to be. They’re a little bit more easy, it’s not so top secret as it used to be.
Lisa: I would love to send you a card. Where can we send them?
Phil Harris: You can send them to Bonnie Rasmussen, she’s on my site, she takes care of the site for me. She’s the one you’d want to send it to and then she gets it to me. I would love to give everybody my address, but we’ve had some people that kind of abuse it, so now I have to go with sending everything to her and then she sends them to me. We had some people that did some bad things before. So, sorry about that, we have to do it that way.
tekcnc: What would be your idea of a perfect vacation?
Phil Harris: Right now, if you asked me that – staying at home for about two weeks would be perfect. Just doing nothing but lounging around the house. And that I know, isn’t an answer, but for right now that would be my answer. That would be a perfect time for me right now. I like to go bike riding, take off on my Harley, take a couple or three weeks cruising the United States. I’d rather see the United States than go overseas, see what we have to offer and meet people. I would really like to go across the United States, I’m just fascinated by the people when I get to travel to the East Coast or down south, they way they talk and live. So, just a bike trip or in my car, across the United States would be the ideal thing.
Dee: You’ve said that Sig and you go way back. What’s the story behind your relationship?
Phil Harris: Well, I’ve known Sig for 20 years probably, but I knew his dad very well. I know Sig, but I knew Sig’s father as well if not better, and his dad was a hell of a man.
Earnhardt_3: Hi Phil, glad to know you’re OK and that you’re on the road to recovery. I wish you a complete and speedy recovery. My question to you is this: Have you been able to have that engine fixed that kept giving you problems? Between that and losing a flute on one of your wheels, you and the crew have had it tough. True to your character, you guys hung in there and got the job done. Take care of yourself – F/V CORNELIA MARIE ROCKS
Phil Harris: Thank you! The propellers on the boat are state-of-the-art, it was somebody else’s screw up that made it break. It was human error. So I can’t blame it on the propellers. As far as the engines go, we’ve had problems, particularly with one main engine. Hopefully this next rebuild we do will take care of that. All engines fail, Caterpillar, any of them, they all have their set of problems. We’ve had a lot of problems with that one. We’re going to try to rebuild it. To change engines in that boat is about $700,000-800,000. I don’t know if it’s worth that right now. So, I’m leaning toward rebuilding. It’s a long and complicated history behind that one engine, without getting into it we just got unlucky with one engine and we’re trying to make it right.
Laker07: How much does fuel cost for a season? Has it been more difficult with the higher prices?
Phil Harris: Yeah, King Crab season, we went through probably close to 50,000 gallons of fuel at $4.00 a gallon. There’s $200,000 right there, off the top. It’s in the back of the mind when I’m running the boat, but when we’re fishing it’s balls out, I don’t worry about the fuel situation. If I need to get some gear, or find a spot where the fish are biting I go all out and don’t worry. I’ll have to start in the future maybe not going on such a long run as it gets more expensive, or throwing some pots out for the hell of it. I may have to tone that down. When we’re fishing I don’t worry about that, I just worry about getting the pots out and catching crab.
bgum: What is a crab biomass?
Phil Harris: Crabs travel in a herd like cattle do, or if you’ve ever seen a swarm of birds or bees, they kind of travel in a ball. Or you see that swallows travel in a big ball. Biomass is all the crab out in the ocean. One big school. It just means all the crabs in one concentrated area; biomass is all of them, altogether.
Harley: How many tattoos do you have? What do they show?
Phil Harris: There’s probably 25 different ones that are all in there together. There’s everything from a pirate to a sea serpent, I can’t even describe it. There’s just little things that remind me of things that have happened in my life that are on there. Part of my first tattoo I got was when I got really drunk, and part of that I kept. I have a pirate, sea serpents, a frog. All sorts of little things. People would really have to look to see because it’s kind of all jumbled together.
Cornelia luver: If the doctors tell you not to go back out on your boat as Captain would you be willing to Co-Captain with another trusted Captain? If so who? Not being able to have you on DC and the Bering Sea would devastate us all.
Phil Harris: Well, thank you very much. The whole point of the thing is, I can’t be away from a hospital at this point. I have to be able to get my blood checked and be able to do something about it if something goes wrong. There’d be no point in going out if you can’t get back, and that’s the point of the whole thing. If I could go with somebody else, I’d just go out by myself. I can’t be away from a hospital right now for very long.
drew54729: What is the treatment regimen the doctors are thinking of putting you on?
Phil Harris: What happens now, I go to a coumadin clinic and they check the thickness of my blood. They poke you, get some blood, put it in their machine, it comes back and tells me how thick my blood is, then they adjust my dosage of medicine according to that. Then I go to the other doctor, he looks at my back because my back was broke about three years ago. He’s trying to keep that under control because I can’t take any medicine for that, so I have to get that looked at. He puts me on things that I can be on that jive with coumadin. Because of the back, I’ve had problems with that since this whole thing started. I took some medicine a few weeks ago. A normal person’s blood is 1.0, they’re trying to keep my blood at 2.5 or 3.0, three times thinner than a normal person. When I go get checked, that’s the target number we’re trying to hit. Two weeks ago, my blood was at 7.0, as thin as you can possibly get and you’re in a danger zone then, you start bleeding from your eyes, well, all over. You have to adjust your medication to that without killing yourself. It could go the other way, and thicken up, that’s a green light for the blood clot if it’s left and not dissolved, having it thick will send it right to my heart. Then it’s game over. I’ve had it checked and it’s been at .09, meaning way thick and that’s a bad, bad, bad thing.
chip2004-2: You said your mom just died of the same thing on the show – how recently was that?
Phil Harris: Well, my step-mom died three years ago virtually of the same thing. She got a blood clot in her leg. She called the doctor about 7 o’clock at night and told him she didn’t feel so well. He told her to come into the clinic the next morning and he’d check her out. She’d just had lung surgery, so was in the hospital with lung surgery for three days, got out and was home for 1-1/2 days, started feeling funky, and he told her to come to the clinic the next day at University of Washington. She indeed went to the doctor and keeled over dead right in his office from a blood clot.
megs: What inspired you to launch your Deadliest Brew coffee line? And how many cups of coffee DO your drink a day? haha
Phil Harris: It depends whether I’m fishing or not. If I’m fishing I always have a cup of coffee going. Always. I enjoy good coffee. I got in contact with a guy I met, he roasts coffee, that’s what he does. So, we got together, I thought it’d be neat to let people drink the kind of coffee I drink. We’ve got 6 or 7 blends of different coffee now. I enjoy coffee, I really like the taste of a good cup of coffee, I know it’s not for everybody. I thought it was a good idea to put out the same type of coffee I drink on the boat. My particular one is 24/7, but we have enough different blends that people can pick one that suits them. There’s nothing nicer in the evening than a good cup of coffee or at a bar, nice to sit and have a cup of coffee.
Slithinator: If you could choose any type of pet to own, what would it be?
Phil Harris: I’ve got a dog, the first little dog I’ve ever had, a purebred Yorkie, his name’s Gizmo. He’s a pretty cool dog. I love all animals, I’m just a sucker for animals. I like Siamese cats, and I’m kind of a sucker for German Shepherds. And now Yorkies. I used to have parrots, snakes, fish, 2 macaws, an 8′ boa constrictor and had 5 or 6 big piranhas and babies.
Kylie: Hi Phil. Hope you are doing well. How well was Murray as temporary captain ?
Phil Harris: Murray does great, I wouldn’t let him run the boat if he didn’t. He’s very conscientious, he does a good job, he gives me 100 percent. Murray’s been with me off and on for 25 years, he started with me. He’s just a damned good guy, looks out for my best interests. He does a good job.
BONNIE: Hi Bub!! On tonight’s show, Mur changed out the Captain’s chair. Is that out of respect?
Phil Harris: No, it’s because I have this chair that’s broken in for my fat ass. There’s a brand new chair that we’ve got that he likes and I have my chair that I like that I’ve had for years and years. It’s just one of those things, it’s kind of made for my rear-end. I think it’s a more comfortable chair, he doesn’t like it. Just preference I guess.
wvmoonsister: Phil, how much do you rely on the computer GPS systems versus the printed maps to find the crabs? Thanks for talking with us Phil!
Phil Harris: What’s in our computer is like the printed the map, it’s just in that form instead of having big, cumbersome paper charts. They’ve all been compressed and put on disk, so we’re actually looking at charts, just in a different format. We rely on them a lot. Those plots represent different depths. And they’re accurate. So I see different gullies and stuff that crabs would live in. We had one that was expensive and almost too detailed, it shows every nook and cranny. We use that one too. Crabs can be laying at one depth or in different places. So, we know what we’re setting on exactly.
Heather24: Is there anything that really helped you get through the time that you were alone in the hospital, it looked like phone calls from the Ship helped. Was there anything else you used to help get you through?
Phil Harris: I was pretty embarrassed. It was just the fact I could talk to my kids, I didn’t know if I would live or die at that point. I wanted to talk to my kids, that was a big concern of mine, that was the dad in me. The support of different people that are close to me, that called to wish me well. When these people send me packages or cards I take that seriously, to take time out of what they’ve got going on in their lives to turn around and send me a card or gift, that’s a big deal to me.
Heather24: Phil, now that you’re aware of this problem, are you doing more to walk around and keep your legs moving?
Phil Harris: Oh yeah. They came out now, the Fishing Vessels Owners’ Association, they came out with a newsletter that this is happening, I guess it’s happened to someone else now. You can’t be doing business, sitting in that chair for 50-60 hours straight. My record is 6-1/2 days sitting up there without sleeping. So, we just can’t keep doing that.
Irene: What is the greatest moment you can remember being on your boat?
Phil Harris: Getting the news I was getting a divorce – just kidding! I don’t think it’s one moment, the fact that it would be a nice calm day, we’re catching crab and I have my kids with me, it’s nice out and things are going well, and I’m very thankful that I have that gift. To me it’s a gift.
Discovery: Captain Phil, thanks for being here tonight! Before we have to end the chat, do you have any final thoughts to add?
Phil Harris: I want to thank every single person that was on here tonight that supports me, takes time out from what they’re doing to even care. I guess that’s one of the best perks of this whole job is having people like you guys to sit down and talk with. Sometimes there’s some really interesting stuff. Especially thanks to the people that sent gifts and cards. It doesn’t get better than that. I’m a fortunate guy to have people do that. It’s a very neat feeling and something that I’ll always hold dear to me, if after this is all said and done, the show goes away and we’re just back doing our thing this is something I can reflect on that was pretty damned cool. I want to thank everybody, that means more to me than anything.
There’s a couple people I would like to thank that have been great and without them, this whole thing wouldn’t have been possible for me, Bonnie Rasmussen and Skip, and my manager Russ, and my partner on the crab boat. Everybody else, I could start naming names but we’d be here all night. Bonnie is exceptionally dear to me, just the sweetest thing in the world. Laura and the people who take care of my T-shirts and Roger from Kicker have been nice to me and helped me through tough times when I was sick. I want to thank them. Especially Bonnie, she’s a sweet lately and she does great work for me.