“Deadliest Catch” is one of my favorite reality shows. I love watching marathons of it when I’m sad or depressed, because nothing makes me feel better about my current life situation than being reminded that it could be worse, and specifically, that I could be in the middle of a 24-hour shift on a tiny crab boat in the middle of a hurricane on the Bering Sea, with snot and fish guts frozen to my face. That being said, the show is a total sausage fest — crab fishing is an industry dominated by men, and the show’s cast reflects that. Besides one husband and wife captain team, you rarely, if ever, see a woman on the show.
But 18-year-old Mandy Hansen is about to change that.
Mandy’s father, Sig, is the charismatic captain of The Northwestern, which is consistently one of the top performing boats in the fleet. Mandy’s two uncles have worked on the boat’s crew (I happen to have a huge crush on Edward), but when she started asking for a job on the boat, her dad was hesitant. “It’s one thing to have your brothers out there,” Sig said, “but to have your daughter it’s a little different.” Mandy insisted, and her dad finally had no choice but to give her a spot as a greenhorn.
On her first fishing trip, Mandy was assigned the arduous, stinky job that every rookie gets stuck with: chopping up cod and sardines for bait sacks. I’m dry-heaving just thinking about it, but Mandy says she loved it. Her nickname? “Bait girl.”
There’s no word on whether Mandy will become a regular crewmember or not, but either way, it’s going to be awesome to see a woman out there holding her own with all those tough-talking fishermen. Says Mandy: “I just wanted to tackle the challenge, so I went for it.”