Diving for Gold in Icy Bering Sea

"Nightline's" Bill Weir goes on an adventure with fortune seekers trying to strike it rich.
3:00 | 01/24/13

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Transcript for Diving for Gold in Icy Bering Sea
It's a modern day gold -- hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold just sending their -- for the taking. Sounds good right well until you find out the -- -- You have to dive deep into Alaska's waters but a little cold water isn't -- to stop these prospectors. It's -- under -- -- gold rush and it took my Cohen -- bill we're all the way to unknown. If you happen to be off the coast of Nome Alaska and the sound of popular. Floating across the water could be -- -- two things. -- and fatigue induced hallucinations. Or Emily right down. She dreams of -- life on the stage but in the meantime she makes ends meet by. Riding a tiny hunk of steel and plywood out into the Bering Sea. Changing into a musty wet suit. And then dive into the -- The ten inch dredging hopes. I guess the typical route for the aspiring -- here. Making my name -- they study is where insurance. Marines. All hooked up I would much rather die and improving a lot of weight for the fifth. -- -- -- -- -- -- And as much she -- serving coffee that's how much she's come to love the site at least certain precious metal. Through -- This. -- gold fever it people from reality and it's. Get everything -- to prevent. You know that they're thinking that says that. Without gold -- hard to imagine why anyone would move to this the corner of frozen and desolate. Aside from a couple rough bars and some surprisingly good pizza Noelle who has one thing going for geology. Ages ago moving glaciers smeared gold deposits across countless acres here and a century ago you could pick up nuggets off the beach. When the easy Pickens disappeared the boom -- died. But then came the recent global recession. When stocks crash gold -- prices hit 18100 bucks an ounce and suddenly building a dredge -- to scrap. And chasing place under the waves didn't seem so crazy. It's hard to overstate just how permanent this thing is. Weathered plywood and -- into a basic medal haul and sputtering engine was leaking home. But for families boss slash ex boyfriend -- ten off the edges just the modern equivalent of a pickax and you'll. Fortunes have been -- with a lot less. So what's the most excited you have about what's your biggest strike. When I was working by myself -- at ten outstanding along. Granted today. I've spent months and months it. Summer weather months and months. A lot of times to get. The roller coaster ride is also -- -- -- a boom town for reality television discoveries Bering -- gold -- the physical sold. The emotional role that comes -- hunting color. Under open water. And under the ice. Many of the miners who deep into debt to chase the dream often with bitter results time -- drink. You wanna -- for example Vernon Atkinson -- -- thousands into his -- last season but found less than a single adults. And ended up in a bar brawl -- And then there is the -- -- crew. Of the Christine Rhodes the father -- team left some Minnesota -- when the gold bug bit. Rather than spend all day hosing the bottom they mounted a backhoe to an eighty foot barge. And spent fourteen hours a day seven days a week trying to spin there way to glory. What do you think that is where it was fluent by the capitals past amounts. But that still. Dolls and books worth a thousand bucks right there we mine thousands and thousands of -- that are career ready getting pretty close point dolls and hoaxes since we started. -- and then. We had a couple three bad years. And that -- -- You don't 1213 years of good -- The bathroom facilities may be rustic but at least they stay relatively dry all day while over on the edge -- has learned. And. How risky their -- I loved -- -- banning I have a couple of events of the summer. That it really made me question. Dining and you think this goes so easily get trapped in the lottery for funding -- so easily go wrong in our our air compressor it's all those crappy. And if it does at any minute. So is it a desperate need for. Her fashion tourism or all of the -- it's -- coming out here -- both -- -- -- -- -- And what do you say to that person wants -- this who's a gambler. Does a woman would do that. I got plywood. I got a little pump moment -- do it -- dean hood just accept that it's going to be an -- news no room. That's the title of a good -- winner and known world. And that's the story of little minds and -- sometimes make a lot of money. Doesn't last. They always -- broke.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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