‘Bering Sea Gold’ returns for a new season on May 15. HL spoke with cast member Emily Riedel about the brutal weather this season, how climate change is impacting the hunt for underwater gold, and more.
Get ready for more epic adventures at sea. Discovery Channel’s Bering Sea Gold returns May 15 with an all-new season. Emily Riedel is back with The Eroica as the race for underwater gold kicks into high gear. There are always risks while hunting for gold in the unpredictable Bering Sea, but this season was unlike any other. Emily talked EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife and admitted this was one of her toughest seasons yet.
“We just got so knocked out by weather,” Emily said. “I can say this is one of the worst weather seasons I’ve ever experienced, and that’s after a lot of years of wild weather on the Bering Sea. You can’t predict the weather. I know that everybody says that, but really, it’s just absolutely bizarre up here in general. The Bering Sea will turn on you in an instant. It’ll go from zero to 100 in like 30 minutes or less. That’s always been a factor, but this year was just different. We just had these squalls, for instance, these weather cycles that can come out of nowhere where you’d have to bail out. There was this tension always. We’re down, we’re making money, the weather’s good but we were always thinking about when it was going to turn on us. It gets dangerous really fast, especially for us because my operation is all about production, moving the most amount of material as possible. I love her but The Eroica is a big, awkward dredge. She definitely is not particularly seaworthy and that wasn’t the priority in how she’s built to run. When the weather gets bad, it gets really scary on The Eroica.”
She added that “climate change has kind of caused all this inclement weather to spread around Alaska, so it was a difficult year. It was difficult to stay ahead. But there are lots of exciting developments, lots of gold, and lots of people trying to be ambitious and move ahead in a really difficult industry.”
Emily expanded on the difficult weather and how that impacted her day-to-day operations. “Constant weather patterns coming in, constant storms coming in, really clouded the water,” Emily noted. “Because we are a diver-based operation and we have people under the Bering Sea sucking up gold, we really need a certain amount of visibility to even see. The visibility quality pretty much dropped off the earth as soon as the storms started happening. On top of that, there was just the ever-changing variables on the ocean floor. The sea ice causes a lot of disturbances, and I have all these expensive maps of the ground that we work on, and those changed by shifting bottom conditions and topography. They were just a lot of challenges meeting our bottom line in terms of just the time and the quality that we were able to spend out there. Luckily, pretty early on, we found fairly consistent ground that we didn’t really need a lot of great visibility to work, but it still really set us back because the heart and soul of a successful gold mining operation is the ability to prospect and our ability to prospect was greatly reduced by storms and the lack of visibility and all this crazy, unpredictable weather we had happening.”
Emily admitted that she is “excited” to share another season with fans. She revealed that she was “lucky” to have even gotten her boat launched super early. “I was actually the first boat in the harbor,” Emily told HollywoodLife. “We have an excavator launch us and a loader launch us. I actually had to move ice out of the way on the ramp so we could get the boat in the water because I knew the best weather always happens in the spring and super early on in the season. We were launching and they were icebergs floating everywhere. It was a trip, but we got all this great mining in early on, and then after that the weather was just absolutely abysmal.”
The Bering Sea Gold star’s approach to this season was to “be as ambitious and positive as possible.” She knew that she could “take certain risks” because of her past years of success. We can’t wait to see how it all fleshes out this season. Bering Sea Gold airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel.