Original air date: April 18, 2006
Many of the crews, including the Northwestern and Maverick, headed to St. Paul Island to offload their northern IFQ share catches. The Northwestern catch was smaller than expected, putting Sig Hansen significantly behind on making his overall quota; however, none of the Northwestern crew voiced anything but praise for their captain’s fishing instincts. Edgar Hansen, Northwestern Deck Boss and Sig’s younger brother, notes that “That man has made me more money than I could wish for, and he’s kept us safe while doing it—no fatalities, no major injuries, knock on wood.” As the Maverick headed for the processors at St. Paul, deck boss Blake Painter hung up his deck oilskins for what he hoped would be the last time, anticipating taking over as Captain of the Maverick once the Maverick reached St. Paul Island. However, Captain Rick Quashnick began having second thoughts about leaving his ship to a new captain in the middle of a crab season, especially since the crewmember who would be interim deck boss with Blake’s promotion vowed to quit rather than work for Blake. Quashnick made the difficult choice to forgo his retirement at least until the end of this King Crab season, angering Blake, who had been chasing a dream “ever since I was four years old…all I wanted to be was the captain of a red crab boat.” Seeing Blake’s passion for the job of captain and not merely a passion for the extra money such a job would bring impresses Hiram, who finally turns from Blake’s harshest critic to one of his strongest defenders; “He’ll make his mark on fishing, no doubt about it. To be so young and so mature at the same time…he’ll make a fine captain.” The Rollo finally catches a break in both the weather and the crab catching and started to make headway on their catching their own IFQ shares for the season when a USCG cruiser hailed the captain and announced they will be boarding for a surprise mid-season inspection. Both captain and crew on the Rollo were very nervous, especially since the 9-man inspection team essentially took over the boat for the next three hours, but finally the USCG pronounced them “in full compliance” and departed. The Northwestern returned to where they had left pots soaking before their side trip to the processors and found all the pots full; however, their joy was cut short when one of the hydraulic arms on the launcher snapped a connector pin, rendering it useless. Sig’s repair—essentially using a sledgehammer to drive in a new pin into the pneumatic cylinder—lasted all of 10 seconds; when Edgar tried to close the launcher, the connector and pin shot out of the launcher like a harpoon. The Hansens decided to risk running the launcher on one hydraulic lift and returned to pulling pots. Aboard the Aleutian Ballad, a greenhorn became so distraught by the extreme conditions of the Bering Sea that he threatened to jump off the boat right then and there and kill himself, forcing Captain Corky Tilley to return to Dutch Harbor with the young man on the edge of a nervous breakdown the entire way. An Unalaska Police Officer escorted the greenhorn personally from the dock to the airport to ensure his departure from Dutch Harbor without further incident. By the time the Aleutian Ballad returned to sea, the storm surge was more brutal than ever, and a rogue wave hit the Aleutian Ballad, knocking it nearly 90 degrees over and trashing the wheelhouse.