Risking lives for a good catch
“The stories we’re telling are guys’ versions of romance novels,” Nancy Dubuc, president of US A & E Networks, who commissioned the highly successful Ice Road Truckers (about truck drivers in the Canadian Arctic), says of the prominent genre of extreme blue-collar reality TV shows.
“People think about leaving the confines of the cubicle, or wherever they may be, and see the same traits that their grandfathers and greatgrandfathers had growing up. It’s very nostalgic.”
Joining the spate of shows that celebrate the adrenalin-fuelled jobs covered in this hugely successful genre is the second season of Discovery Channel’s Abalone Wars, in which the hard-core dive crews of Port Lincoln battle to fulfil their multi-million-dollar quotas, competing with others against the clock and facing a primal, omnipresent external threat.
The Southern Ocean off the tip of South Australia is home to more sharks per square Abalone Wars metre than anywhere in the world, and abalone divers there face death every time they enter the water in search of the much-prized delicacy.
This season also sees some of the biggest swells to hit the peninsula, striking for weeks on end, the crews, forced to endure too many lost days at sea, pushing themselves into ocean conditions they would normally avoid.
Amanda Bichard and her uncle Carrison tackle the notorious Reef Head, chasing thousands of dollars’ worth of black-lipped abalone. “You learn to respect the sea when you see it like this,” Carrison says as they prepare the dive.
On another boat, Neil Rodd is struggling to return to the dive after a near-death experience with two great white sharks, while his diver is two-time shark attack survivor Greg Pickering, a man carrying a load of personal dilemmas. Wednesday, 8.30pm, Discovery.
Neil Rodd, who suffered a near-death experience while diving, features in