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Other boats were just now hitting the sweet spot, and trying to make up for lost time.As the announcement of the end of the season arrives, giving boats just 36 more hours to work the fishing grounds, fatigued crews are pushed to work as hard as they can in the remaining time.The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the end of the season after only 2 days and the captains started to worry that they would not be able to catch enough crab to be profitable.The fleet is forced to make difficult decisions about whether to continue last-minute pot placements or pull in all of their gear and cut their losses on the short season rather than violate the law.
The weather was treacherous, with heavy gale warnings and high seas predicted.The Northwestern greenhorn, Bradford, was unnerved by the sight of his first king crab—"they look like aliens," he observed—but was corrected by deck boss Edgar Hansen: "They're gorgeous! " Some ships started catching lots of crabs immediately—the Northwestern had two "riders" on pots kept in underwater storage to add to their tanks before even pulling their first official pots—while others experienced problem after problem with both equipment and finding the crab.The crews continued to set their crab pots with mixed results—highliner boats like the Fierce Allegiance and the Northwestern were pulling lower numbers than expected; the Western Viking finally found the crab after an extremely bad first string.However, shortly after getting started, a man fell overboard on the Sultan.The ship was unable to rescue him, bringing the death toll to six before the first 24 hours had passed.
The last man was found from the Big Valley disaster, raising the death toll to five, with Cache Seel as the only survivor.