‘Deadliest Catch’: Johnathan Hillstrand Honors Departed Friend

Captain Johnathan, Deadliest Catch - Instagram

Fans of the Deadliest Catch know that to crab fish on the Bering Sea, you must be a brave person. However, even though they seem fearless, there can be some limits to their courage.

No one knows better than F/V Time Bandit captain, Johnathan Hillstrand. He recently had to muster up all of his courage to do something very hard.

Here are the details.

Captain Johnathan Hillstrand Finally Finds The Courage To Honor Departed Friend

Deadliest Catch fan-favorite Captain Johnathan Hillstrand has been fishing for almost all of his life. The Hillstrands have been fishing on their boat the F/V Time Bandit. That means that the crew is as much a part of their family as their own flesh and blood.

Captain John is also one of the most sensitive captains in the fleet. He is known to tend to injured birds, as well as fret over an injured crew member.  Therefore, it may not be any surprise that saying goodbye to his best friend is one of the hardest things he has ever done.

Johnathan Hillstrand, Deadliest Catch - Instagram
Johnathan Hillstrand, Deadliest Catch – Instagram

On Tuesday, People reported that Hillstrand has finally found the courage to say goodbye to his close friend, and ship’s engineer, Mike McCullon. Mike had recently died, and his ashes were onboard the famous crab boat. However, his son Jesse, who is a crew member on the F/V Time Bandit, could not sleep. That was because his father’s ashes were next to him. Was it time to let his beloved father go?

He needed Captain Johnathan to help him as they had grown up together, being best friends in high school. They have been through a lot of things in life. Now, the captain needs to find the courage to do one last thing. The late engineer’s son and Johnathan decided it was time to scatter the ashes and let his spirit go. Speaking like the caring captain that he is, Johnathan explained, “We just need to take care of his dad and then he might be able to sleep.”

However, Johnathan also admitted, “I’ve been putting it all off because it’s been so emotional for me.” Shedding tears, he tells Jesse “Let’s go bury Mike.” He then added, “He’s restless, let him go.”

Deadliest Catch Captain Finds Courage To Say Goodbye

Now, it was time for the Deadliest Catch captain, Johnathan Hillstrand, to say goodbye to his best pal, and late engineer Mike McCollum. A ship’s captain can perform a lot of ceremonies including weddings. Yet, saying goodbye has to be the most difficult, even for a seasoned veteran.

Speaking in front of the crew, Johnathan turned to Jesse and shared his deepest feelings. “Jesse, I love your dad. He’s my best friend, this is hard to do.” He then apologized for taking so long to make this day happen. “I’m sorry this took me so long, I haven’t had the courage to do it.” He then finished by admitting how “hard” this is to say goodbye. Hillstrand eulogized his best pal, with “tears in his eyes.” He shared how he was a “great dad.” Next, he proceeded into prayer.

The crew then honored the late engineer by spreading his ashes. As Jesse spread them in St. George Canyon, another crew member rang a bell. Johnathan then spoke his final goodbye to his dearly departed friend. “Your spirit’s free Mike!” After the crew supported Jesse, someone off-camera reminded them all that Mike would now tell them to “Get back to work.”

Don’t miss the Deadliest Catch on Discovery Tuesday nights, at 8 p.m., Eastern time. This series is also available to stream on Discovery+.

Deadliest Catch fans, what did you think of this final goodbye to Mike McCollum?




Georgia Makitalo

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