Captain Sig Hansen has shared poignant memories and anecdotes of his life with his brothers Norman and Edgar, dad Sverre and his mom Snefryd in his new book, "North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters," written by Captain Sig Hansen and Mark Sundeen - released by St. Martin's Press (304 pp., $25.99).
Discovery Channel has arranged two copies of Sig's memoir to be given away to two lucky Monsters and Critics readers who enter the contest celebrating the return of "Deadliest Catch," and the release of Sig's salty tales of growing up in an American seafaring family, by way of Norway.
Captain Sig Hansen had lunch with smallscreen editor April MacIntyre Thursday April 15, and has personally signed two copies of his memoir for the two winners.
Discovery Channel's crab-fishing reality series "Deadliest Catch" is back for season six, but not without a feeling of melancholy. The crews of the Northwestern, Cornelia Marie and all involved in making the series are still grieving the death of Cornelia Marie's Captain Phil Harris, 53, who died in February from complications of a stroke he had back on January 29. His memorial took place February 21.
When the sixth season of "Deadliest Catch" began Tuesday, April 13, Phil Harris is still with us on the smallscreen as the series was filmed before his desth during the peak crabbing seasons of fall. Discovery says that Capt. Harris will be with us until episode 12 when the show includes the news of his illness and subsequent death from the complications.
Capt. Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern is Harris' longtime friend. The loss of Harris is still a tough thing for him to discuss, as we sat together at lunch at the Beverly Wilshire prior to the glitzy showbiz-zy Discovery Upfront this past Thursday.
Sig misses Phil terribly. When asked how he is taking this loss and how it is affecting his crew, his piercing blue eyes clouded a bit. "It almost like your stepping into Phil's shoes in away, and even becoming a father figure to Phil's son Jake. And the other Jake, they're calling each other all the time," shared Hansen, who still was not comfortable in discussing Phil's passing. "Phil and I started up in the buisiness together in the '70s.' We knew each other years before the show and after all these years we had a different relationship, so for me its very painful; I knew what he wanted for his boys; it is like someone pulled the rug out from under him." Hansen reflected. "We do have these two lives; we are the fisherman, the family guys...and then we have to do this PR stuff."
When I asked Sig if he had a clue if the documentary experiment years ago would turn into this TV phenomenon, he laughed. "Absolutely not. When we agreed to do the documentary it was just a three- part series, that's all, but it kept snow balling. Now there are, what... 18-20 episodes now a season? We never thought it would get this far."
The latest season was overseen by Harris' boys along with producer Thom Beers; together they came to the decision to show footage of Harris' last days. Hansen added, "Phil's legacy will live on, and that's a good thing for his boys, for his fans."
Now Captain Sig Hansen has penned a memoir about his life as a Norwegian-American kid from Ballard who used to be sent home with a note attached to his clothing asking his mother to speak only English to him.
Hansenís story is classic "rags to riches" of an immigrant familyís establishment in American in an industry rife with horrific accidents and death.
Imagine your husband or father goes out for long stretches on a sea that can begin to roil and heave waves a hundred feet high in a minute.
Alaskan seas are the most mercurial bodies of water on planet Earth. Sig grew up in this industry, in a tight knit family kept together by a small but even tighter Norwegian community who had their own methods of keeping all the families in the loop for any news of their men.
Hansen has been a star of the Discovery Channelís Deadliest Catch from the pilot to the present. Seen in over 150 countries, the show attracts more than 49 million viewers per season, making it one of the most successful series in the history of cable TV. The location for the series is the point of departure, Dutch Harbor, then the open Bering Sea.
For Sig Hansen and his brothers, commercial fishing is as much a part of their Norwegian heritage as their names. Descendants of the Vikings who ruled the northern seas for centuries, the Hansensí connection to the sea stretches from Alaska to Seattle and all the way to Norway. And after twenty years as a skipper on the commercial fishing vessel the Northwestern--which was his fatherís before him--Sig has lived to tell the tales.
The hallmark of any successful fisherman is tenacity and versatility. To be a successful fisherman, you need to be a mechanic, navigator, welder, painter, carpenter, and sometimes, a firefighter. To be a successful fisherman year after year, you must be a survivor.
This is Sig and his family's story, part memoir and part adventure tale. "North By Northwestern" brings readers on deck, into the dockside bars and into the history of a family with a common destiny.
"North By Northwestern" is the multi-generational tale of the Hansen family, a clan of tough Norwegian-American fishermen who, through the popularity of The Deadliest Catch, have become modern folk-heroes.
The full interview with Sig Hansen will be posted here on Monsters and Critics next week.
To enter the contest to win a signed copy of Sig's memoir "North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters," enter HERE