Discovery wastes no time hooking viewers on their nerve-racking spinoff series Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove (premiering Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 9/8c). The series follows a handful of fishermen and their families who live on the western most edge of Oregon in the seaside town of Newport. We’re first introduced to the show with actual news footage of a tragic rescue effort, followed by Dungeon Cove’s narrator explaining: “Before this story ends, two boats and four men will not make it home.” His remarks hit home and somberly remind us that this isn’t just an adrenaline-fueled, entertaining TV series — this is real life for these men and their families. And so the story starts — three weeks earlier than the news footage.
For generations these families have been carving out their existence in what’s now become the most deadliest crab fisheries in the world. While Dungeness crab season can be extremely lucrative, it is also considered the most dangerous. The Oregon coast is home to a thin stretch of water known as “The Bar,” it’s a waterway that connects the harbor to the ocean. The Bar is extremely dangerous and causes much of the tension in the pilot episode as a rookie captain tries to navigate through some unforgiving currents and explosive waves, which have claimed thousands of boats over the years.
The pace is fast, yet more personal. Time is money for the crews here. In a good season a deckhand can walk away with $30,000 for just two-months of work. That would explain why roughly 500 boats are now battling it out derby style for almost $50 million in crab. Unlike Deadliest Catch, we get a much more intimate and personal look into the lives of these fishermen and their respective families.
Meet the captains of Dungeon Cove:
Captain Kenny Ripka, on the Redeemer — 30-year-old Kenny is the son of Gary and captains the 50-foot Redeemer, which is owned by his father. It’s his first year running a boat. Kenny’s a single dad who tried to get custody of his daughter but was denied due to his profession. He’s trying to prove to his father that he can make it on his own. He’s definitely a likeable underdog in this story.
Captain Gary Ripka, on the Western Breeze — The senior Ripka is all business, little hugs and high-fives to his son Kenny. He’s known as the Ripper, and runs his boat with a simple attitude: “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.” Gary and Kenny have had their odds over the years, including a blowout that led Kenny to work for their rival — the Retherfords. Gary captains the 56-foot Western Breeze.
Chris Retherford, on the Excalibur – The almost 33-year-old (his birthday is next week) has followed in his retired father’s footsteps, along with his younger siblings Kelsea and Kyle who are deckhands on his 65-foot Excalibur. Chris and his brother Mikey (below) fish as a team and gross an average of $1 million worth of crab each season.
Mikey Retherford – on the Winona J. Mikey’s aggressive and a bit more chirpey when it comes to smack talking the competition. He’s had good success on his 60-foot Winona J, which he co-owns with his father Mike Dr. He’s also the oldest in the Retherford family.
Captain Marc Sehlbach Jr., on the Galway Bay — Fishing south of Newport in unfamiliar territory are some familiar faces. Marc Selbach Jr. from Deadliest Catch (he was a deckhand on the Cornelia Maria) is trying to break into the Dungeness crabbing biz. He left Alaska to be the man in charge. Joining him is fellow Deadliest Catch deckhand and cook Travis Lofland. Together they have turned a shrimp boat into one of the largest crab boats out there — the 76-foot Galway Bay.
So who is your favorite? Tell us below.
Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove airs on Discovery Channel Tuesdays at 9/8c.
Deadliest Catch: The Bait airs on Discovery Channel Tuesdays at 8/7c.