Transcript for Gold Rush Fever Hits Nome, Alaska
modern gold rush, going on right beneath us, in the ocean. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in gold. So, who gets it? Well, come with the adventurers descending on nome, alaska. Abc's bill weir was there. Reporter: If you happen to be off the coast of northern alaska, hear the sound of opera floating across the water, it could be one of two things. Cold induced hallucinations or emily ridell. Until she can make it on the stages of europe, she makes ends meet on the bering sea. And diving to the bottom with a ten-inch suction hose. Let other girls wait tables. Emily is chasing gold. I would much rather dive in freezing water than waitress. Whoa! Reporter: She's part of the modern rush of drifters and dreamers, drawn here by ancient geology and the modern economy. Ages ago, glaciers smeared gold across this land, and when the recession hit, prices topped 1,800 bucks an ounce. Half an ounce. Reporter: That's still -- 1,000 bucks. Reporter: This family borrowed hundreds of thousands to build a backhoe on a barge they call the christine rose. But emily and the crew of the edge make do with a plywood deck. Much to their own peril. I had a couple of experiences this summer that really made me question diving. Reporter: And yet, they dive on. Providing rich plot lines for the discovery channel's "bering sea gold." There's a lot of gold here. Reporter: That show has turned this desolate place into a suddenly hot destination. What do you say to the person watching this, I got plywood. I got an old pump. I'm going to go do it. By all means, but just accept that it's going to mean spending a lot of winters in nome broke. Reporter: But when word spreads of a $50,000 day, those warnings lose weight. Because nothing fights the cold like gold fever. Bill weir, abc news, nome, alaska. By the way, bill told us, if you feel like joining the adventure, they have great pizza in nome, alaska. And you can see more of his reporting tonight on "nightline."
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.