The gold mining scene is going through the biggest shakeup Nome, Alaska has seen in 100 years, and some familiar faces are throwing their hats back in the ring when it comes to staking their claim. The Eroica Captain Emily Riedel isn't letting anyone distract her from bringing home the gold; however, not even dad Steve Riedel or Zeke Tenhoff. Ahead of Friday's all-new episode of Bering Sea Gold, airing on Discovery and discovery+, Riedel opened up to PopCulture about the one-of-a-kind summer season.
Gold prices are on their way to an all-time high due to the pandemic-induced stock market collapse at the start of the summer, and owning a claim is more important than ever when it comes to guaranteeing a profit. The first lease auction in 10 years was a huge draw for everyone from experienced miners to average Joes and even managed to coax back Riedel's mercurial father and mad scientist Tenhoff to the Bering Sea.
"Either the price [of gold] was way too high [to resist], or Steve or Zeke are way too unemployed," Riedel quipped of their return. "Gold mining does have a way of reaching out and grabbing you. Once you have the gold bug, you never want to relinquish it — you want to go out and get some more."
While Tenhoff focuses on trying to create a one-of-a-kind sailboat dredge to give him and his crew a competitive advantage, Steve returns ready to start from the ground up to assemble his mining rig, even flirting with the idea of possibly collaborating with his old mining compatriot Vernon Adkison, despite their complicated past. Despite her affection for her dad, Riedel told PopCulture she wasn't exactly looking over her shoulder at their return. "As competitive gold miners, they're not a consideration for me," she said. "Like, bless them, but that's definitely not the standard I hold myself to. ...I think that bar is best kept by yourself."
Ever the perfectionist, Riedel teased that while her mining season went well, they could have gotten "twice or three times as much" if she had a replacement part on board for a piece of machinery that went out twice while they were at sea. It's a mistake she "flogs" herself for, but the captain noted, "The important thing is my greed is definitely up there with wanting more, but everybody survived, the boat survived. We got gold and we were able to work during a pandemic, so I'm very grateful for those aspects." Bering Sea Gold airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery and is streaming on discovery+.