Bering Sea Gold (2012–…): Season 14, Episode 3 - No Country for Cold Men - full transcript


They can strike at any moment,

be they physical or mental.

And that's certainly true
with ice mining.

20 below,
things don't like to run.

As the fleet
battles the worst known
winter in 100 years...

Somebody should have noticed

that the generators
were in a puddle.

The question is...

He's aggravating the
out of me.

We're done.

Go tell Joe.

We got a real problem.

All right, guys,
it's not going to work.

Will any team
be able to keep it together?

Tell him to come up.

Or will it all
break apart?

We've got to take
advantage of every minute.

Some of the guys are hungry.

They want gold.

I want gold.

The gold's down there.

Can't get it
if we're up here.

As the second major
blizzard of the season

finally passes...

A lot of snow.

A lot of snow,

but you got to shovel
and move on.

Vernon Adkison

is digging out
and doubling down on divers.

What we'll do is

we'll get Mikel suited up.

That will be his
first dive with us.

Let's see how he does.

is absolutely loaded,

so I'm shooting
for 200 ounces this season.

That'd be a personal record.

But these damn blizzards
just keep knocking us off
the ice.

That's why I'm going
to expand my team

and get more hours on
the box to when we can.

So today we're breaking
in a new diver, Mikel.

He's supposedly a real pro.

he'll hit the ground running.

I'm a career diver.
I've been diving since '85.

North Slope, Prudhoe Bay,
Blank Islands.
Worked the Cook Inlet.

Some of the most furious
current in the world.

Very challenging
work in Alaska.

All right,
he's at the bottom.

He's on the bottom.

How's your hot water?


You're not getting
any hot water?

All right.
Okay, Gary, he's coming up.

What's going on?
You warming up?

There's not enough
flow on the hot water.

Hot water's the right

but if it can't get it
to your peripheral

it's just passing the hose
from your feet to your hands.

We're making some
adjustments to the system

so that we can get
more flow down to him

so that it goes
to all the body parts.

Mikel was complaining

that he wasn't getting
enough hot water.

That's the same flow that
the other divers were getting.

But divers can be finicky.

We dialed that up,
so the issue should be
behind us

and we should
be back to getting gold.

I think I heard him
say "Payday."

damn it.

So what about the hot water?

been down
there one minute

and he's complaining
about the hot water again.

Mikel said
there was a problem.

Well, if there was,
it's fixed.

I mean, he knows
this is not the Bahamas.

He's an ice diver.
Of course it's cold.

We're maxed out on hot water.

If this is not enough for him,
well, sorry, Charlie.

We're wasting time here.

And if I'm going
to make that 200 ounces,

I've got to have producers.

He's got to warm his hands,
warm his feet.

That's time away
from dredging.

If he spends a third
of his time doing that,

that's a third
less gold we'll get.

Ten miles west...

Hopefully this is the hole.

We'll keep looking for it,
we'll find it,

we'll get on it eventually.

To make the payments on
his rapidly expanding empire,

Shawn Pomrenke is on
the trail of a golden jackpot.

Let's get set up
and run it.

If I want to make all
my payments this season,

I still need
about 100 ounces,

so I'm looking
for a big payout.

And I think
I finally found one.

I've drilled holes all over
this ancient riverbed

and from the material
I've been seeing,

I'm confident there's a giant
honey hole here

just waiting to be tapped.

So I'm going
to double up my efforts

and I'm going to find it.

I'm gonna get the hot water
heater fired up

and we'll get
everything running

and get you suited up
and get down there.

Today, I'm going to dive

along with my second
in command, Joe Fullwood.

The guy's aces.
Best diver in Nome.

Well, second best.

And the sluice box
should reflect that.

Between Joe and I that gold
doesn't stand a chance.

Just getting the hot water
dialed in for Joe.

126 right now.

Enough to keep him
nice and toasty.

We got water running
in the sluice box.

Oh, come on.


20 below out
and nothing wants to work.

Cold weather can really
test the equipment,

but it's my responsibility
as tender to keep Joe alive.

The tender is the diver's
first line of defense.

In ice mining,
there's just as many things
that can go wrong topside

as there is on the bottom.

thing doesn't
want to stay running.

Seems to be running.

I don't know about fine
but it's running.

something close by.

We'll get on to it.

Let's go, Joe!

How are things going
down there, Joe?

Sooner or later,
we should see
that big pile of yellow.

Hell yeah.

Go tell him!
Go tell Joe!

What's going on with it?

It's just not wanting
to stay alive.

Air compressor
keeps dying.

20 below,
things don't like to run.

Well, I just laid
a towel over it,

block off part of the intake,

and put the hot air around
the carb and everything.

Seems to be doing okay now.

Joe is no rookie.
He knows how to gauge risk.

Air compressor's not
working the best
in these temperatures,

but if he wants to keep
looking for gold,

I'll let him.

I'm going to keep my eye
on that air compressor.

But if I feel it's not safe,
I'm going to pull the plug.

I just feel grateful
every second it's running.

Yeah, I got her running,
but just barely.

Suck her up, buttercup.

That's nice.

That's what you look for
if you're an inlet miner
or a prospector.

You look for veins of quartz,

a lot of times there's
gold embedded in it.

After a morning spent
fighting the cold,

Captain Vernon Adkison's
hoping his new diver Mikel

is on the verge
of getting hot.

So you're on the gold?

So you're cold now?


All right, do you want us
to pull up the umbilical?

Yeah, just pull it up
and then I'll climb it.

All right.

Pull up the umbilical,
he's coming up.

Yeah, he's getting cold.

He got cold in the beginning,

and he never did get warm.

Maybe got 20 minutes
of actual dredging.

Kill it?

Not good, not good.

Thing about it is,

this guy
ain't going to work out.

- All right.
I feel...

No, no.
I, you know, I'm done.

He's aggravatin'
the out of me.

Yeah, I don't think
he's up for the job.

I don't want you
to overstress yourself.

If you're done,
then leave it.

I don't want to have
to drag you up.

We're done.

This has been
a colossal waste of time.

I mean, I like Mikel,

but if he wants to dive,

it's probably better he find
another rig to dredge on,

because right now
we've got to produce.

There are a million things
that can go wrong out here

and today it was the human
element that failed us.

We got
to find another diver.

While Vernon's forced
to pack it in,

11 miles west...

Joe's air supply...

right now she's dying,

but he's on good gold
so he doesn't want to come up

so I guess I got to babysit
this piece of

Mr. Gold's holding
out for a double dive day,

but with a fading
air compressor,

his plan may be
on its last breath.

Plan was to double up
the hours on the box today,

looking for that sweet spot.

But with the air
compressor on the fritz,

I'm not even sure we're going
to get one full dive in,

let alone two.

Yeah, man,
I'm seeing good gold.

He's seeing good gold

and he's still
breathing, so...

hell, we're going
to keep on mining.

No gold, no paycheck,
so we have to make it.

And we just keep
limping it along.

All right, air compressor
keeps up.

Come up, come up!
The compressor's quit again.

Thing doesn't wanna
stay running.


Yeah. Yeah.

No, there's not much diving
to be done with air like that.


Today didn't go
according to plan at all.

The whole tag team dive
thing didn't even happen.

I didn't even get
a chance to dive.

I'm pretty bummed the air
compressor crapped out,

but I'm glad that Joe got some
decent hours on some gold.

Sometimes you just got
to look at the silver lining.

One good dive from Joe

is like having 20 good
dives with the Kellys.

definitely see some color.

Half the fleet's
already felt the sting
of breakdowns

as dives have been cut short.

But as clouds roll in,

the others are just
getting started.

Team meeting everybody!

Plan today is get gold.

Okay, let's get the high
pressure lines locked on.

Let's get the hose
in the water,

let's get
the jet log in the water.

I need that hot water
system rocking and rolling.

After a long
and stress-filled
start to the season...

let's just do this today.

Kris Kelly is finally ready
to go under the ice.

We're going to make
all of this come together,

and we're going to make some
gold on top of it.

We're like that close.

After our crap summer,

I went big to try
to save everything.

I got a top
of the line operation.

Eight inch nozzle,
new sluice box, new engines.

I've got brand-new everything.

There's no way
I can't succeed.

But I racked up
so much debt doing it,

I need at least 25 ounces

to make it through
this season.

Go ahead, connect it.

Come on
Daddy loves you.

The problem is
this season's been a disaster.

It took days

just to get on the ice
and get everything set up.

So we're already behind.

But the good news is
we are ready.

So I'm pumped just to get
down there and get some gold.

I know this dive
is going to be amazing.

Everything's fine.

We've got our hose connected,
high-pressure line connected,

the hot water is running,
I'm gonna auger
my pump-down holes.

and we're
going to put Kris down.

26 feet, dude.

We broke off too much
of our hose
in the move.

So right now, we could have
a little itty bitty problem.

We had a brand new
nice long hose to go
diving with this year.

Emphasis on "had."

My dad broke off a huge
chunk of our suction hose

when we were hauling
our gear on the ice.

It's not gonna...
Our dive's not gonna work.

Like four feet of
working underneath the water?

So all the good gold is deep,

and we're gonna have no hose

at the bottom
of the ocean to get gold with.

I'm basically stuck
with whatever I land on.

So right now I have
to pray we land on gold.

Fingers crossed.

First dive of the season,

we're ready to rock and roll.

It's my chance
to go make the gold

and see what
we're standing on right now,

and I hope to God I can
actually make some gold today.

My new nozzle looks awesome
underneath the water!

Tell us when you
want to us to idle up.


It's our first dive
of the year.

Kris is down under the water.

Okay, idle up.

Okay, we're idling up.
Be careful.

Breathing okay, Kris?

It's a little bit of sand.

Hopefully the sand's not too deep.

Bottom's here and our nozzle's
like right here.

Put us
on some gold now.

Right now
I'm clearing off the sand

so I can hopefully
see what's in the cobble.

So what's the bottom
looking like down there?

Sand for miles.

We got a real problem.

We don't have
a long enough hose

and we're on a sand bed
from hell.

Eight miles east...

Looks like
Steve's showing up,

and that'll be good,
because he's going to have

a long dive day today.

We just hit daylight saving,

so the day
just got a lot longer.

For Zeke Tenhoff,

it's quickly getting
to be do or die time.

Last week
was one of the hardest
weeks I've ever...

Yeah, I just got
my ass kicked last week.

In every sense of the word.

This winter is not starting
out very well for me.

I've had two dives,
both of them were cut short

and we still
don't have any gold.

I need seven or eight ounces
just to keep going at all.

And right now,
that's looking pretty grim.

Got to be honest with myself,

if I can't keep it
going this winter,

I might just have to move on
and do something else.

We could get gold here.

Best case scenario
is that today

I have evidence that the gold
is going to be followable.

And there's a lot more of it.

All right. Fired up.

Getting it in the box,
that's the hard part.

We're way behind
this winter,

we need all the aspects
of this operation

to start firing
on all cylinders

to be able to catch up.

For the rest of this season

there is not very
much margin for error,

like everything needs to go
a lot more right than it has.

All right, I'm heading down.

Water's nice and clear.

Beautiful down here.

All right.
We got him in the water.

He's down. We're mining.

You ready for your pumps?

Damn it.

Okay, this won't do.

Tailings hole
isn't big enough,

and it's spilling that murky
water down into his dive hole

and clouding him out.

- Yo, Zeke.
What's up?

Just give us,
like, five minutes.


Just might be good
to just have a bigger
opening, you know?

As you can see,
even though I was trying to

get enough drainage
out of the sluice box,

all the ice is so low
that the water level

wants to sit above
where the hole is.

It's kind of doing it
at his dive hole.

But we're spilling right here
so we're punching holes.

You can see we're
draining right here.

But as we're trying
to remedy that,

everything's backed up

through this

all the way around
the backside to the generator.


Tell him to come up!

Get him up,
get him up right now.

Yeah, come up right now,
please come up.

He's coming up.

It stopped
for a second.

Dealing with
the tailings hole,

we flooded the whole area,

and it kicked off his air
compressor and everything.

We have to address this issue
before we can keep mining.

Like, he's the one that
came upon it, I didn't.

This is unbelievable.

I was hoping
for a comeback today,

but instead we just fried
our brand new generator

in a big puddle
of salt water.


We have no gold, none.

And it feels like
everything is falling apart.

It's like,
how can I trust you guys

to keep an eye
on what's going on

if you've overlooked
something this basic?

Somebody should have noticed

that the generators
were in a puddle.

Like, seriously.

I think that's like the only
thing that's actually
really important.

First dive of the year, Kris,
put us on some gold now.

I hate sand.

So far,
Kris Kelly is hosed,

coming up short on his
first dive of the season.

He doesn't have
a long enough hose,

hot water is good,
the suction's good,

but we're on sand,
that's the problem right now.

The truth is...

Hey, but everything's
working great.

That's all that matters.


- He just needs a longer hose.

Kris' girlfriend told him
that lots of times.

He's sitting right here,
you want to talk to him?


Wave that wand, dude.

You want the gold...
You want me to get down there
and find it for you?

Well, just
discover it already.

Tell him to come on up then.

Okay. Hook the dog
and let's go.

Kris is coming up,
here he comes.

Oh, how was it?

Well, if there is gold here,

it's so far down

- that it's not
profitable to get.

It's a sand pit
down there too.

Visibility sucks.

This is another setback

with a season
filled full of setbacks.

I've got brand new equipment

and I've got
a great team behind me,

but the hose is short,

we're in debt
and I'm not seeing any gold.

What kind
of an operation is this?

This is such a joke, man,

and we still
don't have any gold at all.

It's been one problem
after another problem.

I don't know what the
I'm going to do.

And now another episode
of Social Hour with Vernon.

So what have we got here?

Next, batter up, Kit Smears.

We're making money,
we're making money.

We're on the gold.

This claim out here
is loaded, baby.

That's a good question.

I've had a few good seasons,

but I haven't topped
100 ounces since that year,

and the weather
has a lot to do with it.

Somebody named
"Loves It Big,"


If I wasn't making
more than I spend,

do you think I'd be here?

I mean,
you don't know everything

there is to know in my life.

You can't operate on
a zero balance.

I mean, I am actually
making more than I spend,
believe it or not.

All you guys
out there saying,

"You know,
Vernon can't find gold,

couldn't find gold
if he fell on it,"

well guess what,
I'm doing it. You're not.

And you're watching.

Okay, I live it.
You watch it on TV.

This has been
another episode

of Social Hour with Vernon.


Here comes Gabe to the rescue
with a new generator.



After drowning
the generator

in a pool
of Bering Sea overflow,

Gabe Tenhoff's lassoed
a replacement.

But the snafu has cost
them hours of valuable time

under the ice.

I didn't want him
out of the water

for long enough to really
lose steam and get cold.

He's fine. He's now
in the meditative mode,
so he's good to go.

I feel like we're
losing our way this winter.

I know that there are
different possible outcomes

for all situations,

but at present we are kind
of going down a negative path.

But it doesn't have
to be this way.

We just need to focus up,

double down
and start off clean.

All right.
Should fire right up.

Is it going?

So now we're back
in the water in five minutes.

countless things
that can out here,

and we just lost
the generator to one.

How are you doing, Zeke?

Are you still
pretty murked out?


All right.
You got jammed up?


Is he okay?
- I don't know.

Are you okay?

Are you okay?

Hey, Zeke?

What's up,
you all right?

What happened?

Oh, buddy.

I'm way out there.

That's scary.
Oh, God.

I have noticed
in life that sometimes

it seems like everything
just lines up against you.

Maybe it's bad juju

or it's just things
are out of your control.

Regardless of why,

that's exactly what's
happening right now.

It's like the scariest
thing about ice mining.

Every single one
of your breaths

could be your last breath.

And it sounds
all melodramatic,

but it's actually
completely accurate.

It's not
an exaggeration.
At all.

That's terrifying,
and there's nothing that
you can do about it up top.

I know how to find gold.

I've done it my whole
entire working life,

so it's just maddening to me

that I can't get under
the ice and find it.

We need to regroup
and alter course fast

because right now my back
is up against the wall.

That was
a really scary one.

Back in Nome.

Got to have
a good winter.

Give us a nice start
for summer

and take some
of the pressure off.

There's definitely a pile
of gold on the compound.

Yeah, with all
the minerals we're
seeing over there.

There's something big.

- There's something huge.

Breakdowns in one form or another

have hit the entire fleet.

But captain Shawn Pomrenke

still managed
to get gold in the box.

Oh, that's the last of it.

Let's get the stuff dry
and see what we have.

Put her on the scale.

We've gotta
make up for lost time.

Oh, yeah. 6, 7...
8, 9, 10... 12.85.

That'll do just fine.

Little bit of quartz
to go home.

- Some little pickers.

12.85 ounces
is worth $24,000.

And while Shawn
hasn't hit the jackpot yet,

he may well be
closing in on it.

I think there's a bigger pile
out there to be had.

We're definitely
on the trail.


Oh, yeah.

We'll come across it.

We'll get on it.

This clean up proved that
I'm still on the right track.

I'm gonna find that jackpot

and when I do, it's going
to be something to remember.

I'd better because
I'm still a long way

from that 120 ounces I need.

Not bad for getting
shut down a couple of times.

Oh, I'll take it.

We're gonna
hit some bigger gold
here sooner or later.

Oh, yeah.

Next time
on Bering Sea Gold.

This is what you
call a stellar day in Nome.

It doesn't get much
better than this.

By the end of the day,
we'll have gold in the box.

It's been one
nightmare after another
out here this year.

But at least
the sun's up.

Plan today
is get gold.

We got a hose extension.

We're going to add
another 25 feet.

And maybe everything's
going to go good from now on.

Sun's shining.

We're going to get
6 hours on the box.

- I'm going to
pound it out so hard.
I love it.

Well, yippee ki yay.

Just keep
sucking up that gold.

Yeah. Yeah.