Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alaskan Monster Hunt: Hillstranded

Discovery Channel - Original Air Date: 7/19/11

The brothers HIllstrand, captains on The Deadliest Catch, look into Alaskan legends of the cryptid animal cadborosaurus.  They start by viewing a video of the supposed beast taken by a local salmon fisherman.  The video puzzles all of these experienced seamen and cryptozoologist Paul Leblond, too.  (I'd be somewhat more impressed if they had a top marine biologist -- though Leblond's resume claims he was one, formerly.)  The brothers then start outfitting for the trip as if they're on the world's biggest fishing trip.  I am reminded of Quint's ill-fated venture to catch Jaws, and I am more than slightly disturbed when brother Andy declares, "Time to go kill a sea monster!"

Now, I don't watch Deadliest Catch, so I don't know if this is how these guys usually act, but their expedition seems irreverent at best.  Methods include huge fishing lines with barrels as bobbers.  They start at the mouth of a river, catch nothing, and then travel up to Lake Iliamna, which boasts a lot of monster reports.  They overfly the lake with a pilot who saw the creature once.  They talk to local Tim Laport, who suggests places to fish for the beast, and also suggests that it might be a sturgeon (an ancient type of huge fish).  They repeat their barrel and bait operation, and succeed in losing their bait to ... something.  Soon, one of their barrels ends up a mile away from where they set it, with the heavy hook bent straight.  Then they spot something big and white (15' long?) in the water; so they fish for it, apparently hook it, and... the line breaks.  Just another one that got away.  What's left to do but throw a tantrum, toss dynamite in the water, and shoot the lake with automatic weapons.

I'm unimpressed.  A better equipped, more scientific expedition might have gotten better evidence rather than just another fish story.  I'm also vexed that the original video is not shown in its entirety -- making creature identification difficult for any home viewer.  Monster?  With this type of "evidence," who can say?

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