By GUY D’ASTOLFO
A Warren man will appear on Season 3 of the reality TV show “Bering Sea Gold,” which premieres tonight at 10 on Discovery.
Kevin Jupina, a former Navy diver, is part of the team on a gold dredge in the cold waters off Alaska, hoping to strike it rich.
A Cleveland-area native, Jupina first went to Alaska last year to look for gold after being inspired by the show. Jupina had undergone back and neck surgery a couple of years ago and was unable to return to his construction job. He figured that a gold dredger could use someone with diving experience.
“After watching the show with my wife, I said, ‘I can do that,’” said Jupina.
He was right.
Jupina quickly hooked up with some other gold seekers, and together they rented a dredge and got busy.
It wasn’t long before he met some “Bering Sea Gold” cast members and was hired on by dredge captain Vernon Adkinson, who is part of the Discovery series.
“It’s a small community and you meet a lot of people,” he said.
Jupina’s first year in Alaska was a rough one. “I switched form one dredge to another, but that allowed me to come back the following season,” he said, adding that he lived in a tent in the wilderness for three months.
Although he is not allowed to reveal many details about the show, Jupina did say that divers are in strong demand for gold dredgers.
“If you are a good diver, and can find gold and spend hours under water, you become a commodity,” he said.
Jupina explained that, under water, his back problem is not an issue.
“It’s a perfect fit for me, being a weightless environment, plus I’ve done it before,” he said.
In the third season of “Bering Sea Gold,” the miners must deal with the brutal winter in Nome, Alaska, while searching for gold at the bottom of the Bering Sea beneath a 4-foot thick sheet of ice.
Temperatures drop below minus-30 degrees, and the crews face the threat of hypothermia, frostbite and even death.
Jupina is married to the former Kerry Simmons, a Buffaly, N.Y., native. The couple has three children.
Fans of the show can keep up with Jupina on Twitter at @kevinjupina, or on his Facebook page.