Editor’s note: West Seattle writer Jen Boyer, who publishes Heligirl.com (one of the 100+ sites whose latest links are on the WSB Blogs page), is covering today’s “Deadliest Catch“ fan convention; we’re publishing her coverage for interested fans. First: The Friday night memorial for “Captain Phil” Harris, who died last February (and had visited West Seattle to promote his coffee brand back in 2008).
(Captain Phil’s son Jake, preparing to throw a flower into the water in memory of his dad)
Story and photos by Jen Boyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Hundreds of fans, fellow fishermen, friends and family of “Deadliest Catch” Captain Phil Harris came together Friday night at Pier 91 to pay tribute to the salty crab captain that Discovery Producer Paul Gasek called “a teddy bear with that ink thing going on.”
(Time Bandit boys: Johnathan Hillstrand has an arm around Scott Hillstrand. Andy is just behind him. Captain Bill Wichrowski is sitting next to Andy. Bill is Captain of the Kodiak)
The upbeat and tasteful ceremony put together by the Discovery Channel began with opening remarks from Harris’ sons Josh and Jake, followed by Gasek. Harris’ best friend Dan Mittman and good pals Jeff Sheets and Hugh Gerrard shared memories that kept the crowd laughing even while shivering in the bitter wind and cold. “I miss that guy like crazy,” Mittman said. “He was a great guy. I wish you could have known him like I had. And you’d feel the same that I feel right now.”
(Josh [beard] and Jake survey the crowd)
After closing remarks by “Deadliest Catch” creator Thom Beers, the crowd was treated to a special video tribute of the Cornelia Marie captain before everyone was invited to toss a carnation over the pier rail as a fire boat performed a water salute in Puget Sound.
“He was an attention whore and he loved it,” Gerrard told the crowd. “He’s here with us right now, and he’s loving every minute of it.”
(Northwestern Captain Sig Hansen with wife June, Wizard Captain Keith Colburn with wife Florence)
There’ll be a live video stream from CatchCon noon-6 pm today (Saturday) – look for it here,
and watch for a report with photos here tonight.