Every Tuesday night, fans of Discovery Channel’s hit reality series “Deadliest Catch” watch selected boats from Alaska’s crab-fishing fleet head out onto the Bering Sea to haul in king and opilio crab for domestic and foreign consumption.
One of those boats is the F/V Time Bandit, skippered by brothers Johnathan (for king crab) and Andy (for opilio) Hillstrand.
“We’re farmers of the sea,” Johnathan Hillstrand tells Zap2it. “If there’s lots of crabs, like apples, your price goes down. If there’s not so many crabs, or oranges or apples, your price goes up. Same with us. They can be easy to harvest or not easy to harvest. You can have the right weather or not.
“So we’re farmers of the sea.”
While a lot of the drama of the show comes from the personality clashes of the crab boat crews during months at sea in close quarters, things are more harmonious on the Time Bandit than other boats. That starts with the brothers at the helm.
“We always get along good,” says Hillstrand. “We’re best friends. We used to get into fights when we were younger, really young. That’s about it. We’re so different. That’s why we get along. He thinks more than I do. I’m more ADD than he is.
“We’re best friends; we’re really close.”
In the past, Hillstrand has clashed with Keith Colburn, captain of the F/V Wizard, but apparently those days are over.
“I actually like Keith,” Hillstrand says. “I don’t know how or why it happened. We get along good. So he’s come around a lot. … We’ve grown up. I don’t know when it happened. We’re just growing up. I enjoy hanging out with Keith.
“It’s hard to hate somebody. It takes a lot of work.”