A lot of people have wondered what in the world is the big deal about The Deadliest Catch. Last night, the lastest episode reminded me why I started watching this show in the first place.
I almost quit watching.
Me. The Deadliest Catch fanatic.
Last season was pretty awful by my standards. There was the Matt/Jake kerfuffle on The Northwestern. Then, the pissy little bitch that tattle taled to his Daddy about how the mean captain was making him work on The Early Dawn.
The Deadliest Catch was degenerating into another episode of “Rock Of Love” or something equally inane.
And then, Season Five kicked off and a little of the old magic caught me again. I watched, but cautiously.
Last night, the film crew put together some of the most powerful footage I’ve ever seen. Not the boats on the water, or the waves, or the pots flying in the air like trapeze artists.
The power footage of men relating an incredible story of survival, and grief, and fear, and all of it that makes fishing truly The Deadliest Catch. Before The Northwestern had its own rain gear and The Time Bandit wrote a book, men died at sea.
They still die at sea.
The cod fishing boat The Katmai went down with eleven hands. Four survived. Their fifteen hour ordeal was incredible and sad. The random hand of God that touched this man to live and that one to die was so sad and yet, so compelling. I had to watch. I cried. Men I didn’t even know made me care.
They don’t ask for pity. Those men were doing what they wanted to do. They were free, on the Ocean, a part of a tradition that has been there for centuries.
I think the most poignant moment was watching their home footage the crew of The Katmai had made. They commented that it was good to have moments like this because with the job they do, they could die. And they could play this video at the funeral. They all laughed, but if you know these men, you know that behind the laughter is the knowledge that their job is a tightwire and there’s no net. Men survive. Men die.
To the families left behind from those who died at sea on The Katmai, my heart aches for you.
To the men who survived, thank you. You shared a piece of something that few see.
UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you ‘grave for me:
Here he lies where he long’d to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
(The Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson)