BERING SEA CRAB FISHERMEN’S TOUR

By now, most folks have heard of the long running reality TV show Deadliest Catch. Debuting in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, Deadliest Catchfollows the trials and travails of crab fisherman plying their trade in the treacherous waters of the Bering Sea.

One of the most famous, and terrifying, episodes of the program occurred in its second season when the 100-foot-long fishing vessel Aleutian Ballad was rocked by a rogue wave. But the ship survived, and fortunately there won’t be any rogue waves in its future anytime soon. Today, the Aleutian Ballad serves as a crab fishing tour boat, sticking to the calm waters just off of Ketchikan.

This tour of Alaska combines nature, industry, and a bit of TV mystique, all while out on the waters of Alaska’s picturesque Inside Passage. In fact, if you’re a fan of the show, some of the crewmembers may be familiar faces!

The three-hour Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour starts with the cruise out to the fishing grounds. Choose seating on the panoramic upper deck or under the heated amphitheater. Along the way the fishermen will familiarize you with the boat as well as tales of its exploits in the dangerous waters of the Bering Sea. But, as mentioned earlier, you won’t be heading there, the waters of the Inside Passage are much more tranquil, even in winter.

The boat will come close to the Passage’s many islands where opportunities to view wildlife like deer, bears, and bald eagles may present themselves. Marine wildlife is abundant in these waters as well, with porpoise, sharks, shrimp, assorted fish, and, of course, crabs calling the Inside Passage home.

Once they’ve found a spot in the fishing grounds to set up work, you’ll witness all that goes in to harvesting these prized crustaceans from the ocean’s depths. Creatures brought up will be put into a live tank for you to pick up and touch. Often times octopus, jelly fish, and other marine life come up in the crab nets.

Though the boat, equipment, and the crew are authentic and at times part of the commercial fishing industry, the catch made during your tour will be safely and humanely released, not brought to shore and sold. So, no trying to stuff a king crab into your jacket!

The Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour includes complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and tea, and comfy, waterproof parkas are available for use. It is also wheelchair accessible and they welcome scooters on board.

For more information on the tour, visit www.alaskacrabtour.com.