Bering Sea Gold: The Bitter End 1.08
Winter has arrived, and the harbor could freeze shut at any moment. And as if the miners didn’t already have enough on their minds, the Department of Natural Resources will soon hold an auction for 64 untouched offshore mining claims which will open up a much larger area for mining. The miners have one last shot to get enough gold to be competitive bidders and lay stake to their claims.
With only Shawn and Steve left for the winter, the Christine Rose is understaffed and iced-in. Steve uses a flame thrower to thaw out the wash plant and hoses while Shawn uses a skiff to break up the harbor ice. They’re 60% of the way to their 1,000-ounce season goal and need every penny to secure the future of their mining operation at the claim auction.
They work a honey hole for almost 12 hours, but Steve is worried that their equipment will freeze up and break in the windchill, so he makes the hard decision to head in for the final time this season.
Steve: When your boat’s frozen solid, you can fight it and fight it, but sooner or later, you gotta give the pain away and quit.”
Steve is proud of the strides that Shawn has made this season. He says that Shawn is just about ready to take over the entire operation, but his one flaw is that he is easily pissed off.
Proving his point, Shawn’s temper flares at the cleanout shack when his dad criticizes his methods.
At the auction, the Pomrenkes pick up Claim 38 for $67,000.
Gold Total: 166.6 oz
Zeke needs an additional $40,000 to pay off his hospital debt and have some money saved up for winter, but his summer mining equipment was not prepared for a winter storm. He gets his outboard motor fired up, but the VW motor that runs his dredging equipment isn’t cooperating. He finally gets it running, but once he gets to his chosen mining grounds, it won’t start. He uses starting fluid to prime the engine with no luck, so he has no choice but to return to Belmont Beach.
Zeke: “I’ll go back in…I gave it my best.”
Emily is beach mining after Zeke fired her and kicked her out of his yurt. She’s been living in an abandoned shack where it gets down to 8 degrees at night and her blankets are covered in frost most mornings. She reflects on the ups and downs of her first mining season.
Emily: “If I can handle dredging, I can handle anything.”
Gold Total: 0 oz
Vernon retires the Wild Ranger for the season. He’s sunk $100,000 into his operation and only recouped $1,200 this year. Now that Scott is gone, Steve talks to Vern about next season, and Vern welcomes him back.
Vernon: Get the dog crap wiped off your boots and carry on.”
Gold total: 0 oz
Scott: “The Wild Ranger was a joke from the beginning. It started off bad, it ended back, and it was bad in the middle.”
Scott: “USS Icebreaker right here, coming through!”
Scott takes a new job as a diver on the AU2000 working for Stan Di’Orio. The dredge battles its way out of the frozen harbor and onto the open water. After four hours of diving, Scott is disappointed in the gold he’s seeing. He’s about to give up when he finds a honey hole loaded with pickers and nuggets. The nuggets alone are worth almost $10,000. Scott is optimistic for the first time this season. Despite finally having his first successful day of mining this season, it’s too little too late. Scott’s take is only 7 ounces, falling short of his amended 10-ounce season goal. He vows to return next year.
Gold Total: 7.01 oz
Ian is halfway to his season goal of 50 ounces. With all his equipment frozen, he is stuck on shore at Belmont Beach. As a final effort, he pours fuel directly into the carburetor, and the engine fires up immediately.
Ian finds a hotspot five hours into his solo dive. Unfortunately, he starts to feel ice hitting the back of his throat when he breathes in. There is too much condensation from his exhaled breath, and it has started to freeze in the air line, limiting his oxygen flow. He changes out his regulator in an attempt to get back on the gold, but he resurfaces again a few minutes later because there is still ice in the line. With his safety on the line, he chooses to return to shore. The freezing temperatures have ended his season once and for all.
Ian: “It’s like breathing through a straw.”
Ian meets with a local gold assessor to sell his season’s gold. He was able to recoup the money he spent on his dredge with enough left over to take the winter season off. He is outbid on every claim he attempts to purchase at the auction, but his first season was a success in his eyes.
Gold Total: 19.89 oz
Season Gold Totals:
Christine Rose: 766 oz
Sluicey: 44 oz
The Clark: 38 oz
Scott Meisterheim: 7 oz
Wild Ranger: 0.75 oz
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