Whiskey Wednesday Deadliest Catch Recap

If you’ve followed my blog at all then you already know that I’m a huge fan of The Deadliest Catch and I have been for a long time. Usually, you’ll have to read something on my blog pertaining to the newest episodes featuring Sig, Edgar, Keith, Jonathan, Andy and most of all, Phil.
But for some reason, this season has been harder for me to talk about.
Maybe it’s because, for me, these guys aren’t just reality show stars that I hound for an autograph or breathlessly wait to see if drama unfolds. These are guys that are like the ones I know. I live in an old fishing community, a place where fishermen used to make a living catching the bounty from the oceans. The Redneck was a drag fisherman for ten years as his father was before him. I got to know these guys on a level I don’t really allow myself with, say, “Survivor” or something like that. Even Ice Road Truckers and The Axe Men haven’t held my interest the way the crews on the Bering Sea have.
This year, on February 9th, it was announced that Phil Harris, Captain of The Cornelia Marie passed away.
He wasn’t a superstar. He wasn’t some famous politician or musician. He was just a guy trying to eek a living out of a dangerous ocean. And every time, during this King Crab season, when he’s talked about how “he’s not going anywhere”, I get choked up. Because I already know he has.
It’s been bizarre. I watch him start the Opilio season knowing that he has a little over a month to live. It has made this season both riveting and sad for me.
I miss Phil.
He represented what is best about fishing–a man of his word, a man who thought the best of everyone and a man who worked until he literally dropped. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t talked much about this season. It’s been a really good one, too, with Wild Bill trying to make his comeback and the Hillstrands and Keith going nose to nose.
But some of the sadness has seeped into other things too. Watching Edgar struggle to continue even though Sig has used him up physically and mentally. Watching Sig completely ignore his brother’s suffering to fish because what else was he going to do? Watching Nick suffer from losses during a previous trip (not crab fishing). And watching Wild Bill come to terms with the fact that he’s been out of the loop for a few years and fishing wasn’t the glory he remembered it to be.
I find the lighter moments don’t lift me up. I want them to. When Andy and Jonathan set off a ton of fireworks to open Opilio season, I wanted to feel their excitement.
And all I could think was that Phil wasn’t going to be there at the end.
I love Deadliest Catch and the loss of Phil Harris won’t keep me from continuing to watch it. But I am going to miss him terribly. Perhaps that’s a good thing. After all, that’s the reality of fishing. The Redneck says, on the boats, he always heard “You have to take the bitter with the sweet”.
That’s fishing.

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