With a 30 day window for ice dredging, The Shamrock crew has been attempting to run a round-the-clock operation on the ice. Shawn Pomrenke's crew needs to be collecting around one ounce of gold per hour to be profitable (he ultimately needs 50 ounces to be break even). Every mistake costs time and money, and Shawn knows that all too well after having been in this business for the past 16 years with his Father, Steve Pomrenke. Shawn worries that his Father will show up and criticize his work. I'll bet Steve isn't handing out constructive critiscim for kicks. I have a feeling Steve keeps Shawn in check for a reason...While diving in the dark and under the ice, Vince ( a Shamrock crew diver) becomes severely choked up when an electrical fire suddenly ignites on the dredge sending smoke down through his air source. After catching his breath and realizing just how close he may have come to death, Vince makes the comment, "Almost died and I'm still broke. Maybe I should find a different job."... When one's most basic requirement is threatened, "Gold just don't matter."
Visible panic on the face of Steve Riedel.
"It's a thousand times more dangerous than summertime dredging", Zeke Tenhoff.
Lazy Gator Crew Leader
Lastly, the Lazy Gator crew, with the most primitive dredge in the fleet, continues to put gold in the box. These guys are 7 miles away on East Beach, which is a public mining zone. The divers are rewarded with any pickers they find while diving. Pickers are gold nuggets, and they are finding them left and right (one worth at minimum 5K)! The only real obstacles they encounter (this episode) are a decrease in visibility while diving shallow water (known as a halocline, where the fresh water and sea water merge), and getting the suction hose clogged with a large rock. They could install a rock dam at the end of their hose that would take care of the latter. This crew is hardly 'getting rich', but have been most successful of the three expeditions thus far.
Lazy Gator 17.52 ounces worth $28,759.08
Shamrock 6.5 ounces worth $10,669.75
The Clark 0 ounces worth nothing
The weather and waves have finally cleared in Nome. And, the dredging is full speed ahead. Goldenrod was out for a full day yesterday! All systems are alas a go. Let's put some gold in the box!