Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice - Fractures on the Mend
Cracks are beginning to form in the ice and among some of the mining crews. As the winter mining season winds down, the miners rush to get as much gold as possible before summer returns.
Jason wraps up a productive shift and has loaded the sluice box with gold. Cody is still sidelined from diving with a ruptured eardrum, so the crew must rely on rookie diver Phil Rodes. His last dive was a disaster, and Shawn is giving him one last chance to prove he can produce enough gold to remain on the crew. After a lengthy period of settling in on the bottom, Phil finally starts dredging, but Shawn is not impressed. He says that all Phil has done so far is cost him time and money, and if he doesn’t pick it up soon, he will have to replace him.
Cody: “You gotta fuckin’ seize the carp, man!”
After two hours, Phil still isn’t moving any material, so Shawn suits up to teach him a lesson. He sneaks up right behind Phil to observe his dredging technique, and then tells him he’s doing it wrong. Phil finally realizes Shawn is in the water with him, and Shawn shows him how to be more productive underwater. Once they start moving some good material, Shawn returns topside to warm up.
At the end of his five-hour shift, Phil finally resurfaces victorious. He has contributed to a loaded sluice box, and has finally completed an entire shift. He is physically exhausted, and he ends up throwing up due to the strain of the dive on his body.
Gold Total: 9.0 oz
The Lazy Gator crew continues to be the most profitable winter operation, but they are beginning to worry that their hotspot may be ripped out from under them with the ice melting all around their camp. They begin to plan their exit strategy.
Joe: “Luckily, it looked like he caught himself on his balls.”
Jesse is running on no sleep, but he is determined to keep the Lazy Gator operation running 24-hours a day. He is disoriented from the start, and his tender, Joe, is equally as exhausted. Jesse’s umbilical gets hung up on some underwater ice crystals, and when he calls for help, Joe is unresponsive because he has dozed off at the comms box. Jesse has to carefully untangle himself from the ice and then resurface to catch his breath.
Gold Total: 21 oz
Without a crew, Zeke has taken on all diving responsibilities. He only has Emily to tend for him. He’s working a hotspot, trying to make up for lost time, but he loses suction and fears that a rock jam may be clogging up the suction hose. He tells Emily to use the jam rod to see if the rock is up top, but while she is away from the comms system, Zeke’s weight belt slips off, sending Zeke floating to the top of the Bering Sea, trapped beneath the ice. Emily can’t hear his calls for help, but somehow Zeke manages to claw his way back to their opening in the ice. He and Emily try to rig up enough extra weight to allow him to drop to the bottom to retrieve his weight belt, but they are unsuccessful. Emily calls Steve for help, and after a few unsuccessful engineering feats of his own, he comes up with an idea to use rocks from the sluice box to weigh Zeke down enough to pull him to the bottom. It works, and although they are not on speaking terms, Zeke thanks Steve.
Zeke: “This is ice dredging amateur hour.”
Gold Total: 2.0 oz
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