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Andy Hillstrand’s Online Chat Transcript, June 5, 2007

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Carole: It was so wonderful when you guys rescued Josh. How many hours of training do crew persons get in order to be able to perform a rescue like that? And is there someone on every boat who is trained in first aid?

Andy Hillstrand: Yes, we have to have somebody on the boat who goes through what we call the AMSEA training for first aid, doing our man overboard drills, and Maydays. Johnathan and I both have our cards. We both went through the training, and we practice all our drills once a month.

Bugga314: What is your relationship like with your brothers off the boat?

Andy Hillstrand: My brothers are pretty much my best friends, besides my wife. We've always been competitive, but we love each other.

Ackmel: Hi Andy — it's nice to see a fellow Hoosier out there fishing! You guys have the coolest boat out there. How cold was the water you had to dive into to remove the rope from the prop? How long have you been diving?

Andy Hillstrand: The water was 36 degrees. I've been diving since I was 17 years old, and I'm now 43, about to be 44.

Bugga314: Are you and your crew as superstitious as the other crews or not?

Andy Hillstrand: No, we're not as superstitious as a lot of the crews, but we do knock on wood. We have a few superstitions, but we're not as bad as some of the old Norwegians. They have quite a few superstitions.

Rfritsche: Besides the awesome king crab season you guys had at the end, what was the best season you guys have ever had?

Andy Hillstrand: I had an opilio season in 1999 where I caught 1.8 million pounds of opilio, and my crew members made $76,000 in two months.

Keylayne: What is the most incredible or awe inspiring thing that you have seen while being out on the sea?

Andy Hillstrand: I've seen volcanoes blowing up when I'm 12 miles offshore and seeing lava blow out the mountains. And I've stared into 100 foot waves. Those are awe—inspiring times when you really have to think about what you're doing. It gives you the feeling that there's definitely something bigger than yourself out there.

Bugga314: Did you or any other captain ever think that Deadliest Catch would be such a hit with the fans?

Andy Hillstrand: I've shot a lot of home videos of crab fishing over the years, and I thought it was pretty boring! We weren't on the show for the first year, so I was able to watch it the first year and got hooked on it. It made it interesting, because I got to see my other buddies. Normally we just talk on the radio, but on the show I could see the stuff that happens on their boats and the way they tell their story. It's a lot better than home video footage. Way better!

Beachfeet: How do you stay awake in the wheelhouse at night?

Andy Hillstrand: A LOT of coffee. And sticking your head out the window in 40 knot winds.

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