The Deadliest Job in America is, claimed to be crab fishing on the Bering Sea. A good season can make one man a year’s salary in just a few days! With forty-foot waves, 700 pound crab pots, freezing temperatures and your mortality staring you in the face…this job ranks as one of the deadliest.
Lenny was born and raised in Unalaska before the days when air service and the Bering Sea fisheries turned Unalaksa-Dutch Harbor into the top fishing port in the United States. Eight of his nine brothers and sisters were brought into the world by a midwife.
Lenny is a Native American-Russian Aleut, whose family has deep roots on the island of Unalaska going back more than a century. The Aleut culture has a rich and diverse history of fishing along the Aleutian chain, and Lenny's family honors their heritage by smoking and drying salmon every year.
Raised as a devout Russian Orthodox, Lenny has a wife and daughter and a very large extended family. It's a challenge to go anywhere in Unalaska without running into one of the Lekanoffs, many of whom have lived their entire lives on the island.
The opportunities to fish professionally came early for Lenny, and for the last 25 years, he's made his living fishing the waters of the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. A professional crabber, Lenny joined the Wizard crew after a previous vessel that he crewed on went out of business under the government-run buyback program.
On-board, Lenny is able to take charge of all the maintenance and upkeep of the ship's systems, from the engine room to the forepeak, and yet still put in a full shift as a deckhand.
Lenny Lekanoff Photos
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