Rare astronomical event creates 50-foot rogue waves that wreak havoc on 'Deadliest Catch' fleet

George Back
·Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read

A rare astronomical event known as a super snow moon filled the Bering Sea with rogue waves and wreaked havoc on the fleet during Tuesday’s Deadliest Catch. The event occurs when a full moon coincides with orbital perigee, intensifying the gravitational pull and unleashing powerful currents. The currents then mixed with the 50-knot winds creating massive swells and rogue waves up to 50 feet tall.

The huge waves battered the entire fleet. After a few close calls, the Cornelia Marie cleared its crew off the deck just before a massive wave broke over the port side, flooding the ship. “The boat can damn near take anything, but the crew, you can only hit somebody so hard with that much water pressure and not hurt them,” said co-captain Casey McManus. “Have to wave the white flag for the day. Protecting the crew is what it’s all about.”

Over on the Saga, captain Jake Anderson was forced to steam back to port after heavy waves partially broke the ship’s rudder post. Without a post the rudder would not work, leaving the boat at the mercy of the vicious waves. If the post were to fully break, the boat would immediately take on water and likely sink.

No crew, however, took as hard a pounding than those on the Wizard. A 35-foot wall of water blindsided deckhand Pascual "O.J." Ganuelas, throwing him into a steel pot and injuring his right leg. Just hours later, another 35-footer ripped the 400-pound coiler from its bolts, crushing deckhand Todd Gateman’s right leg underneath.

“I can't believe that kid was under that coiler,” said captain Monte Colburn. “My God. Terrifying.” While Ganuelas was able to return to work, no update was available on Gateman’s more serious injury. However, Colburn was pessimistic that he would be able to return to the deck any time soon.

Deadliest Catch airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Discovery.

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