"Bering Sea Gold", season 8 on Discovery

‘Bering Sea Gold’ Season 8 Premiere: Bets Placed on New Mining Grounds, May the Best Team Win

Update: Watch sneak peek of episode 2: Zeke & Emily in mortal danger

“Bering Sea Gold” began its eighth season with a complete facelift. Gone are the familiar claims on the water where the Pomrenkes and Zeke made a good living in the past. The gold in and around Nome was drying up and it was time to find new places to run dirt. Big changes were made both within the organizations and to the locations, the most pronounced of which was among the Kellys, the Fighting Kellys as they are called.

The combustible Chris decided to take over as captain of the ship, and his dad, Brad agreed to the promotion. That doesn’t mean he’s respectful, which we learned on the first trip out on the water. Is it because Chris learned more about how to run an operation like this? Heck, no! But things couldn’t get worse than they were last season and the seasons before that. The former Hawaiian residents who know how to dive, did more fighting than finding gold.

Shawn Pomrenke a/k/a “Mr. Gold” is making fistfuls of cash from his many enterprises, both on land and water, but he too wants to keep the flow of gold coming. He needs to feed the mega-dredge on Claim 38 which means expanding the geographic scope of the Empire, as he calls it. There’s another reason for the immediate need for cash.

Pomrenke will need $3 million upfront to be in the running to secure the rights to what is called the family’s most ambitious project. Nome Gold is up for sale. Legend has it that a quarter-billion dollars of the shiny stuff is there for the picking. Shawn sees the future of the family’s business secured for decades to come if he can land that claim. Inland operations need to keep the gold coming, but Steve Pomrenke, Shawn’s father Steve announced that the formerly lucrative site has slowed to a trickle.

The big discovery for the Pomrenkes might just be an alternative to the Nome Gold claim. For some reason, a small area offshore remains unclaimed. The family needs to stake it from land to establish the boundaries. They found the Department of Interior marker and it was in the right place. “All you have to do to stake a claim is to find the northeast corner on land. The line of demarcation extends out from there.” It’s a 120 acre area that will be his, exclusively. Check out the sneak peek clip of the episode, posted below. 

A running argument between him and Steve about attempting to mine at The Bluff came to a head. Shawn is convinced, without anything more than a hunch to back it up, that the area west of Nome is ripe for the picking. He’s always wanted to tap that area, but with his other operations making him rich, Steve’s objections won out. Shawn made some preliminary trips in the past to scope it out with no success. That’s changed now.

Zeke Tenhoff, with Emily Riedel in tow, looked to the mysterious waters off Sledge Island as a place to prospect. Zeke pointed to a 1960 survey that reported a “surprising” amount of gold there. It’s expensive and dangerous to get there, but it amps up Zeke’s appetite to find something new. The other obstacle, besides the winds and tides is getting authorization to prospect.

Years ago the Interior Department allowed offshore claims to be staked, but very little if anything was done with those claims. It would be Emily’s responsibility to manage that process. They took a long and choppy boat ride out there to find just the right spot. With Zeke’s knack for picking lucrative places to mine, he hopes to keep that winning streak alive.

They took the boat ride out to the island and found what appeared to be a safe harbor. What’s below the surface is unknown, but if they get the rights to dig, they’ll find out soon enough if it was worth the time and expense.  Finding a safe harbor and an underwater site that isn’t impossible to work is their mission.

“Bering Sea Gold” airs new episodes Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT   Image/video credit: Discovery Communications, used with permission

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