EXCLUSIVE | 'Bering Sea Gold' star Emily Riedel says 'the only time I'm disappointed is when I don't work hard'
One of the highlights of the 'Bering Sea Gold' Special on May 8 was Emily Riedel, who in all seriousness, says, "If you are persistent, you will succeed." And the very thoughts echoed when we spoke to the third-gen Alaskan in an exclusive interview ahead of the new season premiere.
There was a storm in Alaska when we got in touch with Emily over the phone. We were warned ahead for the bad network, but that didn't deter the Eroica's skipper as she candidly and patiently answered each question. "It's kinda funny that you're asking because the premiere is very integral to what's happening," she said when asked about being back for a new season of 'Bering Sea Gold'. Emily also outlined the team was gearing up simultaneously for this season of ocean mining.
"So I'm sort of having similar feelings. It's always a huge general adrenaline rush. You can't predict what the weather's going to do, what your boat is going to do, you can have a catastrophic mechanical meltdown. You could have weather issues...anything could happen. So there's always, this started kind of attitude like you're going into it."
The objective was clear. "You're going to work as hard as you can to make as much gold as you can."
Emily was grateful for getting an early jump into the season. "We were lucky in a lot of ways, we got a super early start," she explained. "I was literally having the loader who launched us clear ice off of the ramp before the boat could go in. And then we made a great view into the Harbor amid these like icebergs."
The idea was to make sure every bit of the calm weather was fully utilized. "We got a really early start and we took advantage of a lot of the calm weather that happens in the spring. But, as time went on, we just had these really crazy storms that were fueled by climate change."
The previous year proved quite an unforgiving and unforgettable season for Emily & Co "It was just like really horrendous weather where we had to sit a lot of days out," she recollects. "Every day that you lose, you are also simultaneously losing thousands of potential dollars in gold. So it was a rough season mentally for sure."
And what of the sheer mental and physical exhaustion that comes with the job? The answer was "Blind perseverance".
"I think it would be the best way to sum it up," she opined. "I've been doing this a while. This upcoming season is my tenth year in the industry. And I think I can say it...you just get really good at suffering because there's always a reward, but it's suffering whether the reward is gold or whether the reward is a feeling of self-worth because you tried really hard."
For Emily, that suffering is constant, consistent and it always comes across a report. "Even though it does take a lot of mental and physical perseverance, I wouldn't know how to do it any other way," she remarked. There's no secret of the fact that she's serious and passionate about what she does.
"The only time I'm disappointed in myself is when I don't work hard enough. That's the only time that I get really negative. If I work really hard and try harder, and it still doesn't work out, it's a little bit easier to deal with the disappointment."
Emily Riedel has a loyal fanbase, something she's surprised to hear off and there's laughter at the other end of the line. "I'm so clueless," she said. Her social media was recently hacked and shut down by Facebook. "I love engaging with them, and I am grateful for the fans over the years, " she adds. However, Emily has a policy where she tries to maintain a certain amount of distance from all the stardom that comes in.
"When I'm working, I'm really doing my job, and then when I'm not working, I just try to really focus on like friends and family and having a good relationship with them." She also added that she completely understands why people love the show. "Gold mining is one of the best careers you can have. So I can totally see why people love it and want to be a part of it. And I'm so happy they are, but it's just my personal policy to try to maintain a certain amount of distance just so I can remember who I am and not try to be too affected by it."
One of the biggest assets for the Eroica and Emily is the return of diver, Daryl Galipeau. "He's a critical component to my operation," she credits. "Daryl has been working on my boat for several years now and he has decades of experience in the industry."
For Emily, these are qualities that are a massive boost. "He's going to be able to read the ground and know whether we're making good money or not. He can always give me an idea of our ounce per hour average," she said. "Having him back is always such a huge relief because it's hard to find qualified, divers up here. It's really hard to find competent people who have experience in this industry."
The plans have been made too. Emily is keen on trying to acquire a second dredge and she is putting in the money to expanding the operation. It is an opportunity and a means to earn more gold and upgrading the Eroica is part of the plan.
When asked what to expect from the new season, "It's the same in so many ways, and in so many ways, it's so much more," she explained.
"You have all of us crazy gold miners, but you have to have people who have let their lust for goals completely overtake them, and they do really crazy things. They get caught in all these sorts of bad weather situations. You have people who are desperately trying to carve out a place for themselves. Like, break with the family business, like in the case of Shawn (Pomrenke), and kind of go off on your own and make more money than ever before."
"You have people who are just trying so hard to take full advantage of what the Bering Sea has to offer. And, there's a lot of consequences that come with that sort of admission as well. So you can expect a lot of people taking crazy, unnecessary dangerous risks to go after man's favorite object, which is gold."
The last part of the interview is when Emily's competitive streak can be felt. This is a woman who does not like to be messed with and she doesn't take kindly to it either. "I'm just naturally extremely competitive," she explained. " I don't like being messed with. I don't like my operations being messed with. I don't like my goal being messed with, or my crew or my boat. So just like that naturally, I'm always very territorial."
"Don't mess with me and I won't mess with you. And that's kind of the bottom line. I'm a lady. I respect both the other boats that are out there. I don't go jumping people's ground and I expect the same treatment. It doesn't always happen that way. So, my competitiveness is kind of a gift and a curse in a way. It's definitely gotten me into trouble, but I feel like I have to stand my ground in this industry."
The question now is can she overcome stiff competition and fend-off an unpredictable mother nature? Only time will tell when 'Bering Sea Gold' Season 9 debuts May 15, 8 pm ET on Discovery.