HomeEntertainment‘Deadliest Catch’ Looks Back on a Tense Moment from Season 9

‘Deadliest Catch’ Looks Back on a Tense Moment from Season 9

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

When a Deadliest Catch crew member saw a $5,000 opportunity floating away, he decided to jump ship – literally. Back in Season 9, former deckhand for The Wizard Freddy Maugatai risked his own life to catch one of the rarest creatures on The Bering Sea.

Usually, the Deadliest Catch stars chase after their income in the form of crustaceans, but every now and then, they come across a different animal that’s worth its tusks’ weight in gold – walruses.

Lucky for the crew on The Wizard, they just so happened to find one as they ventured towards their crab pots. Once Captain Keith Colburn realized what was floating past their starboard side, he allowed his crew to try to bring the mammal on board. And apparently, they were willing to do just about anything to take home some ivory.

No Walruses Were Harmed in the Making of ‘Deadliest Catch’

Before you begin to worry, these crab fishermen have no intention of harpooning sea mammals for their ivory. The walrus had already died, sunk and then floated to the surface full of gas. So, it had been deceased for a while. And according to the Deadliest Catch crew, this is a requirement if they are to harvest the animal legally.

In fact, there are several strict rules and restrictions crews must follow if they are to harvest the creature’s resources. If the Deadliest Catch stars are lucky enough to come across its carcass, they must have an Alaskan native bring the rare catch home. Not an Alaskan resident, but an Alaskan native with tribal roots. Only these citizens have the legal right to sell and use the walrus’s ivory.

Thankfully for Colburn and his crew, their engineer, Lenny Lekanoff, was from Alaskan bloodlines. So, his crew members woke Lekanoff from his slumber so that they could find out if the walrus had any tusks.

“They wanted me out there just to be their token native, so they wake me up,” the crew member joked as he shrugged on his gear.

Freddy Falls Face-First into Frigid Waters

After struggling to hook the animal’s … er, backside, crew member Freddy Maugatai couldn’t bear waiting any longer. So, he stripped off his clothes and plunged into the near-freezing seawater to hook the walrus himself.

Captain Colburn was not happy. The Deadliest Catch crew then began to panic, scrambling to grab the survival kit and throw it to their soon-to-be hypothermic coworker.

But Maugatai refused to take it. Instead, he continued fumbling with the carcass as his body temperature quickly began to drop.

Despite his fellow crew members’ pleas, Maugatai was intent on securing the walrus, risking certain death for himself and a heart attack for everyone else onboard.