Dead Reckoning: Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on Its High Seas

Dave Atcheson, Author
Dave Atcheson. Skyhorse (Perseus, dist.), $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62873-681-6
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In recounting his own story of life on the Alaskan waterfront, Atcheson (Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond) offers readers both a deep-sea adventure story and a fishing industry reality check. With short chapters that invite page turning, he narrates his adventures, alternating between his first time as a crewmember and a later experience that nearly ended in tragedy. Atcheson shares his background and what drew him to Alaska before discussing the ins and outs of seining. Ignoring intuition, he accepted a last-minute position on a ship with a captain who turned out to have a fiery temper. He reviews the hazards of fishing, what crewmembers do for entertainment, and what he learned in one short fishing season. After spending several years in work for the National Park Service, a retreat during which he focused on healthy living, he returned to the excitement of the fishing life. Once again, he finds much to complain about in his coworkers. The near-tragic culmination of a storm while on the Iliamna Bay in 1997 is narrated in short, in-the-moment thoughts. Atcheson concludes with thoughts regarding his new lease on life, revisiting old friends and acquaintances, with some surprising results. Recommended for those with an interest in the fishing industry or a love of the sea. (July)
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