On top of the forced structural charge (from prior experience with this game it cannot be avoided) I add upgraded hydraulics for $60,000, a large tank pump for $15,000, kitchen amenities for $4,000, crane maintenance for $24,000 and finally $5,000 for electrical work. This $108,000 in additional costs for the boat drops my account balance down to $80,897.
The King Season officially begins this day with an estimated crab population of 1,040,000 and a fleet quota of 1,121,250 lbs. The generalized weather forecast is mild (which means exceeding anything greater than 7 knots with crew on the deck can mean some slip and fall type injuries (the experience level of the shipmate does not seem to matter in that dice roll).
In previous attempts at playing this game I would always go for the maximum allowable maintenance on all components needing serviced which left me almost broke on a couple of occasions. This time I am hedging my bets and only performing work on the Crane and Electrical categories.
While in port I have to hire two additional crew to replace those that left the boat during the previous season. I pick up Albert Fredericks at 6% share and greenhorn Kayl Myers at 2%. I take on no additional fuel or pots but do max out the bait at 1,250 which drops my set sail account balance at $80,147.
A view from inside the wheel house at the captain’s chair as the Shellfish exits prepares to exit the harbor.
My entire strategy as revealed in a single screen shot of the Plotter software. Four 25 pot strings sitting on top of hot spots in the Crab Survey from the Department of Fish and Game.
The season officially gets underway on Thursday November 9th at 9:36 AM. On deck the crew is preparing a pot as part of the first string we are laying down after the start of legal fishing.
Dropping pots next to the island volcano just south of Unalaska Island: I would catch hell from all of the other skippers later on when I start hauling the gear set here, but the joke was on them. There was a ton of crab here.
The last of my hundred pots is going over the rail. I could have taken a lot more pots with me, however the game only lasts for 96 hours maximum in my experience, and that is not enough time to set all that gear, haul it back in and reset all of it in order to pull it before the end of season and huge fines.
I arrive at the head of the first string which has a 23 hour soak on it so far. The crew was able to rest in between dropping strings and the trip back up here, so they should be OK on the health and morale meters.
The first string of 25 pots yields 282 keepers for an average of 56 crab per theoretical pot (each pot visually launched and hauled back in represents five pots in the game world), with the high count being 60.
String count: 56/52/57/57/60 (all pots were setback).
This fills the tanks to 5.5% capacity at 27:10 into the season.
This is the first of several nuisance issues that crept up. Thankfully the repair times were manageable and we could get back to fishing.
The first of several barbs thrown at The Green Machine for fishing off of the volcano: Captains Phil, Karl, Larry and Sig all jump in at the smell of rookie blood in the water.
The second string of 25 pots yields 339 keepers for an average of 68 crab per pot, with the high count being 78 (take that, Fleet).
String count: 60/61/66/74/78 (all pots were setback).
This fills the tank to 12.1% capacity at 33:29 into the season.
I set course for the head of the third string that already has a 25 hour soak going on it. These short jogs in between closely set strings allow me to rest the crew to recharge health and morale ratings as well as keep reasonable time spacing between pots.
The third string of 25 pots yields 412 keepers for an average of 82 crabs per pot, with the high count being 90.
String count: 76/76/82/90/88 (all pots were setback).
This fills the tank to 19.6% capacity at 40:36 into the season.
The fourth and final string of my set yields 469 keepers for an average of 94 crabs per pot, with a high count being 97.
String count: 93/97/97/91/91 (all pots were setback).
This fills the tank to 28.4% capacity at 46:38 into the season.
With all of the strings set back, I plot a course for the head of the first string that currently has a 22 hour soak on it. It is going to take me a little more than eight hours to get there and in position, so the crew is sent to make some chow and get some quality bunk time.
Lining up for the first string in picturesque conditions.
The second go around on the first string yields 527 keepers for an average of 105 crabs per pot, with a high being 113. At this point the deck boss advises me that we are out of bait, which does not matter at this point because all of these pots are going to be stacked due to the 96 hour virtual season limit.
String count: 97/105/100/112/113 (all pots were stacked).
This fills my tank to 38.1% capacity at 60:17 into the season.
The second string of 25 pots yields 534 keepers for an average of 107 crabs per pot, with the high count being 111 (this is from the volcano I was warned about fishing near earlier).
String count: 102/104/107/110/111 (all pots were stacked).
This fills my tank to 48.4% capacity at 67:30 into the season.
The third string of 25 pots yields 498 keepers for an average of 99 crabs per pot, with the high count being 110.
String count: 108/94/110/97/89 (all pots were stacked).
This fills the tank to 57.9% capacity at 23:02 remaining in the season (the 24 hour notification was issued on Sunday November 12th at 09:39 AM. During this string Stan Hansen suffered a back injury that put him out of the rotation for 3 hours.
The fourth and final string of King Crab Season II yields a disappointing 322 keepers for an average of 64 crabs per pot, with the high count being 90. I placed two pots too close to each other and that affected the crab yield by almost 50% per pot based on what bookended that pair.
String count: 80/71/39/42/90 (all pots were stacked).
This filled the tank to 63.8% capacity at 17:32 remaining in the season.
I set a course for the nearest harbor, that being Dutch which presently has a wait line of one ship. The harbor can be tricky to get into if you chose to drive the boat all the way to the dock (it is a shame the game did not make this an option that awarded bonus points or cash, or something, much the same Euro Truck Simulator awards extra points for actually parking the trailer instead of just dumping it in the lot).
The season officially closes on Monday November 13 at 09:39 AM while I am docked at the processor having the crab put into the brailers for offload.
The final tally is in and The Green Machine hauls a total of 108,433 pounds of King Crab with only 2,765 pounds of dead loss. The crew share is $123,446 based off of $474,794 in earning for a net profit of $351,348. With my set sail account balance at $80,147 and the fuzzy math in this game, I should be entering next season with a balance forward of $431,495 less the forced structural repair costs of $70,000, or $361,495.
I left the docks without adding any fuel to the boat, with the tanks at exactly 10,000 gallons and a boat weight of 209.7 tons. I returned to port with 9,585 gallons of diesel fuel and a boat weight of 208.5 tons. The trip used a total of 415 gallons of fuel, so it will be interesting to see if this continues to drop over each season (as it should) until I am forced to replenish the supply. This could be an area where I can float some costs from one season to the next, kind of like how I am only performing select maintenance and upgrades during the offseason.