Prospectors search for gold in a suprising place, at the bottom of Alaska’s Bering Sea, in ‘Bering Sea Gold,’ on Discovery Channel. The eight part series, which premiered on Friday, January 27, 2012, is from the makers of the hit ‘Deadliest Catch.’
Update: Dredgers reflect on Bering Sea Gold After the Dredge
As glaciers melted, over an estimated two million years, gold was washed into the bottom of the Bering Sea. Prospectors in Nome, Alaska search for the precious metal that can gain them riches.
As Nome’s ice pack melts during the summer, the town booms with pioneer gold seekers, many of them outcasts and eccentrics. Gold seekers rush to get out into the water to find that precious metal. Miners dive and dredge to scout the bottom of the sea from custom built, barely seaworthy rigs. They race to haul in as much gold as possible before the waters become too figid to dive.
‘Bering Sea Gold’ follows four of the dredges, that range wildly in size and sophistication. The rigs are run by people who are driven, and often desperate, to find gold for ther livelihoods. The rigs are The Christine Rose, The Clark, The Sluicey and The Wild Ranger. Following are brief descriptions of the rigs and their crews.
The Christine Rose is the largest craft of the group. It is more than three time larger than any other craft in the waters. An 80 foot barge, The Christine Rose is run by Steve Pomrenke, the most successful gold dredger on the Nome scene. The vessel is skippered by his son, Shawn. Steve drives the dredging team, and his son, hard.
The Clark is the youngest boat in the fleet. The 20 foot diver is operated by 24 year old Nome native Zeke Tenhoff, who built the dredge from junyard scrap. Zeke’s diving partner is childhood friend and greenhorn Emily Riedel, 23. Zeke’s motivation is to pay about $100,000 in hospital bills. Emily, an opera singer, wants to earn money to go to school in Europe.
The Sluicey is a tiny vessel, a modified skiff that barely seats two people. Owner Ian Foster quit his job as a social worker and spent his life savings on the rig. He now has one chance to make his living as a gold dredger. Joining him is Scott Foster, an experienced dredger who never misses a chance to point out the rookie captain’s shortcomings.
The Wild Ranger is owned by retired military man Vernon Adkison. Rookie Scott Meisterheim is the captain of the vessel. Scott’s motivation for finding gold is over $100,000 in back child support payments. As Scott says, “I’ve got bills to pay that if you don’t pay, you go to jail for.” The Wild Ranger is joined by greenhorn deckhands, including Steve Riedel, the eccentric father of Emily, from The Clark.
‘Bering Sea Gold’ illustrates a world like none seen before – one where the danger is palpable and the stakes are high. Success in the waters will give the dredgers the hope and means to continue – and maybe even make them rich. Failure could yield a vast array of consequences – from possible jail time to injury and even death.
‘Bering Sea Gold’ is produced for Discovery Channel by Original Productions, a Fremantle Media company. For Original Productions, executive producers are Thom Beers, Philip D. Segal, Jeff Conroy,John Gray, Sheila McCormack and Cameron Glendenning. For Discovery Channel, executive producer is David Pritikin.
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