Alaska Writer Documents Life at Sea


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

Kodiak is no stranger to tales from the sea and many folks have their own to tell. One Alaskan writer is sharing some of his own tales with his recently published book, Dead Reckoning.
Dave Atcheson came to Alaska more than 30 years ago for an experience that now serves as the foundation of his new memoir.
“I was 19 when I got here and went commercial fishing aboard a boat with a crotchety old skipper. And he needed two deck hands two days before the season started – and that should have been a clue that it probably wasn’t the best situation. But I did, I fell in love with Alaska and knew this was the place for me, even though it was a very trying summer onboard that boat.”
Atcheson worked in various commercial fisheries for about 15 years and said he always knew he wanted to write about his experiences. He kept detailed journals and finally decided to make something of the material.

He said he started writing Dead Reckoning eight years ago, but put it aside until he was offered a publishing deal. From there, it took him eight months to finish the book.
“One of the stories along with that first trip out and not knowing what I was doing was 13 years later I was out on a boat called the Illiamna Bay, and we almost lost the boat herring fishing and I almost got killed. And so that was a story too. And I knew the two would go together as a memoir, but I had to digest all that had happened kind of. So eight years ago I started it.”
He said it includes interviews, as well as his own memories, and is somewhat of a coming of age story.
“You know about the trials and kind of tribulations – but also the good stuff with fishing, as well. You know you love to be out there, you want to be out there.”
Overall, Atcheson said he enjoyed the process and hopes to publish more books in the future. He said writing is a true passion for him and he definitely plans on continuing it.
Dead Reckoning is available online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Atcheson currently lives in Sterling, Alaska, where he works as an administrator for the Kenai Peninsula College. He’s previously published a sportfishing guidebook and has contributed work to numerous magazines, including National Geographic.

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