Original air date: June 23, 2009
Working three consecutive 30-hour shifts, the crew of the Northwestern is pulling their northernmost string of 25 pots in a 4 miles (6.4 km) line before the ice arrives. However, before the crew reaches the end of the string, the boat encounters the leading edge of the ice pack. The first buoy in the ice pack has moved 3 miles (4.8 km) from where it was dropped. Captain Sig Hansen decides not to press his luck with the ice even though the pots are getting good numbers and moves his pots further south away from the ice. The Cornelia Marie is 2 miles (3.2 km) outside of St. Paul when Captain Phil Harris decides that he can wait no longer and to push his engines to the limit to get through the ice blocking St. Paul. Only .75 miles (1.21 km) from the dock, oil begins to pour from the port engine and Captain Phil is forced to shut down the engine and use only the starboard engine. After two hours, the crew ties up at the dock. Captain Phil makes a call to his mechanic in Dutch Harbor to see if he is willing to fly out to St. Paul to fix his engine so that he can go back out to retrieve his pots before the ice pack swallows them. Twenty-one days into the season, the Wizard pulls up her first prospect string of the season, resulting in good numbers. Captain Keith Colburn receives a call from his brother, Monte, updating Keith on Monte’s injury suffered at the beginning of the opilio season. The ice filled the harbor at St. Paul and trapped the Cornelia Marie against the dock, but Captain Phil’s mechanic has caught the last flight into St. Paul and began work on the engine. The Incentive fishes into the night in 70-knot (130 km/h; 81 mph) winds and 40-foot (12 m) seas with not very good results. A line breaks free of the block, snapping the line against Deckhand Doug Dawson’s arm, but he escapes serious injury. After 11 hours of work, the mechanic determines that the number six cylinder of the Cornelia Marie’s port engine is the cause of the failure and it will cost $67,000 to repair. Fishing is back to normal on board the Wizard, but the pace takes a toll on the greenhorns. Josh Warner leaves the deck to take a nap, and later goes up to the wheelhouse to tell Captain Keith that he is thinking of leaving the boat due to feeling humiliated by the veteran crew members. Captain Keith encourages Josh to stick it out for the rest of the season. The Northwestern has moved south onto new, untested fishing grounds. A 30-hour soak results in good numbers. Captain Sig feels momentary tightness and acute pain across his chest, but he chooses to keep it from his crew and he continues on at the helm. After five days trapped at the dock in St. Paul, the Cornelia Marie’s engine is repaired and there is an opening in the weather to allow her to leave. After receiving an observation on the harbor ice conditions from a United States Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk that was overhead, Captain Phil cautiously steers the boat clear of the ice in the harbor and plots a course to retrieve their northern strings before the ice pack arrives.