Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself?
JH: Johnathan Hillstrand, Captain of the F/V Time Bandit
MW: How did you get into the crabbing business?
JH: My father was a Captain and owned a crab boat. I grew up watching him go fish, and always wanted to go with him.
MW: Was the Time Bandit a family owned ship before you and Andy became the Captains?
JH: My father and brothers and I built Time Bandit. It has always belonged to us.
MW: How long have you and Andy been captain’s of the Time Bandit?
JH: Since her launch in 1991.
MW: Now did you get involved with Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel?
JH: We were approached before the first year of Deadliest Catch, but we didn’t want to be bothered. After we saw a couple episodes of the first season, when we were asked to join for the second season, we agreed.
MW: What has been your worst season on Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel?
JH: The Opilio season of 2013. The ice covered the crab grounds. Our season kept getting delayed and extended. We flew in and out of Dutch a couple times trying to wait out the ice, and finally had to give up and fish in the ice. Time Bandit took a lot of damage that year trying to drive through ice.
MW: Tell us about the Time Bandit?
JH: Time Bandit is 113 ft long and has twin Cummins QSK-19 engines running 600 HP. She has a lot of special conveniences that we built in: a sauna, dishwasher, and three queen size bunks. She sleeps 10.
MW: Give is a crazy story about out on the sea?
JH: When we were kids, my brothers David and Andy and I were out in on Kachemak Bay in a small sailboat “for a three hour tour”. The sailboat was a hollow shell with no foam and happened to have a small hole in it. Our sailboat sunk out from under us. It went down and was never seen again. We were a couple miles out, with no life-vests, and were treading water wondering how to get out of that mess. Out of nowhere, our Sunday school teacher happened to sail by in her skiff. She pulled us each out of the water and got us back to shore. We all went to Sunday school that week!
MW: How do you like doing Deadliest Catch?
JH: It’s been a great experience, giving me the opportunity to travel places, do things and meet people I would never have imagined.
MW: How different has it been with Phil Harris being gone?
JH: It’s been real hard. I miss him.
MW: Give us a great Phil Harris story?
JH: A few years ago, Phil and I were at an airport getting ready to fly back from somewhere. Phil had somehow gotten his hands on a lighter shaped like a grenade, and had tried twice to get through airport security with it – but was told both times that he could not take the grenade lighter on board the plane. He caught me coming towards the security line and told me to put it in my pocket. I told him it wouldn’t work, but he insisted. We got into separate security lines, and I got through security with Phil’s grenade lighter!
MW: What can we expect for the Time Bandit and season 11?
JH: Lots of new crew on my boat this year. There may be some personality issues, some injuries, some close calls, and lots of bad weather.
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
JH: Thank you, and I hope you enjoy Season 11.