Successful businessman Andrew Rafkin is on a two-day sport fishing trip off the Mexican coast with friends and relatives. During rough weather and talk about the dangers of commercial fishing, his friends ask him to tell them about his adventures as a fisherman, when he was a teenager.
Andrew launches into his tale of high adventure with some background about his Croatian family and community-all West Coast fishermen. Out of school for the summer he decides to make some money working on his father's commercial tuna fishing boat, the Western Ace, now unloading its latest catch at the StarKist cannery in Puerto Rico.
Andy and his dad, Captain Andrew Rafkin Sr., fly to the Caribbean to meet the Ace. Andy's first time on an airliner proves to be an adventure in itself while flying through hurricane-like turbulence. While in port the adventure continued with his experiences with the crew, and his new friend Armando, a local sport fisherman and restaurateur.
Now sailing up the East Coast the crew faces the long days at sea and the dangers of fishing. While in port they partied, and back at sea, they caught tuna, and were continually tested by the elements.
The summer was coming to an end and Andy flew back to Los Angeles. Two years later he took a friend's place fishing on his father's boat for a four-day trip off the Santa Barbara coast, joining Captain Anton Misetich and his crew on the Diana. While out to sea they get caught in a huge freak storm of hurricane force and spent the next terrifying twenty-four hours battling for their lives.
Forty years later this tragic incident continues to haunt him.