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If you don't want to know what happens at the beginning of opilio-crab season on Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," sail away now. Avast, ye mateys, here be spoilers.
Been missing the sight of Capt. Phil Harris at the helm of the F/V Cornelia Marie? Well … oops, getting ahead of myself. First, a little look behind of scenes of what it takes to "Catch" the action on film.
We all know this intellectually, but sometimes it helps to be reminded that for every shot of the Bering Sea dousing a deckhand, or of a captain in the wheelhouse, fretting about where to drop his strings of crab pots, there's a camera operator.
High seas, high winds, warm days, frigid days, good fishing and bad, these intrepid souls capture it all. This season, one of them has been blogging about his experiences, at "Diaries of a Greenhorn Producer." Meet Josh Silberman…
He's not a big guy, but got even smaller on the Cornelia Marie, as constant seasickness caused him to lose 15 pounds.
But as a determined young man who launched his TV career by testing the disgusting food stunts on NBC's "Fear Factor" — and financed a trip around the world with a big win on "The Price Is Right" — there is no place he'd rather be.
"Personally," he says, "I feel like I can deal with anything, and the Bering Sea just kicked my a–. I have so much respect for those guys after going through that. They do this all the time.
"It's one of those things where, when you're there, 'This is miserable. Why do I want to do this?' Then when you leave it, you just think about all the things that you miss. Working with those guys is great. It's like being on a football team — you're all going through hell together.
"It's like Navy SEAL Hell Week for producers. Going there was the worst experience of my life, and doing it was the best experience I ever had, because it made me who I am now. Now, any job I do, it's the easiest job I ever had."
A pulmonary embolism suffered during a storm in the midst of opilio-crab season in early 2008 sent Capt. Phil to the hospital, endangering his life and leaving him on dry land for last fall's king-crab season.
But when the 2009 opilio-crab season began … well, let's just say that Phil gets his feet wet, starting with the episode airing Tuesday, June 2.
"I was on the boat with (producer) Todd Stanley," Silberman says, "who's been around the boat since the beginning of time. Todd is amazing. That guy taught me so much. But he was in the wheelhouse, because he's dealt with the extremely easy man to produce — Phil.
"I was on deck, because I'm new. You've got to start at the bottom and prove your way to the top."
But would Silberman ever be a deckhand?
"Yes, and no," he says. "Do I think I could be a deckhand? Yes. Would I ever want, in a million years, to be a deckhand? No, not even close. That's hard. Those guys are hard-working. They are tough. They are men's men."
Silberman also knows a good captain when he sees one.
"Phil is the master of crab. That man really knows what he's doing when it comes to catching the crab."
Asked what thrills and chills come with opie season, Silberman says, "There were some big waves, some big weather. There are some really scary moments on our boat and the Wizard. Some scary moments, where I was wondering if we were going to get out of it.
"I know we were in a hurricane. We had 100-mile-an-hour winds, blowing up against the boat. I can't even describe the sound. It was just daunting.
"Todd came next to me, and said, 'Dude, I want you to sleep with your survival suit tonight.' And when Todd Stanley" — seen in the picture to the left — "says that, it freaks you out. I've never seen him scared of anything."
BTW, Silberman, who also worked with the beautiful models as a field producer on "Deal or No Deal," not only was a contestant with Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right" — click here for his rather, ahem, energetic appearance — but got nominated for the Most Outrageous Game Show Contestant, for the GSN Game Show Awards.
To see if Silberman wins, check out the first annual awards telecast on June 6, with host Howie Mandel. who's also a nominee in the best game show host category for his ongoing duties at Silberman's former workplace, "Deal or No Deal."
Asked what his advice is for other young folks seeking a career behind the camera and/or at sea, Silberman says, "How you find out who you are as a human being is what you do when you're scared for your life. Everybody needs to challenge themselves."
Lastly, while Silberman admits the ratio of men to women in the Alaskan fishing fleet's picturesque home port of Dutch Harbor leans heavily in the ladies' favor, he'd caution any eligible females considering heading to Dutch in search of romance.
"If you want a tough Alaskan fisherman — or herpes — you can go to Dutch Harbor."
But if you're still determined to head north to Alaska, check out Dutch Harbor Dirt, a local resident's blog chronicling the goings-on around town.