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

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

by Dave Atcheson


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

This is the true story of a journey to a seaside town and the always unpredictable torrent of dark escapades that accompany a life at sea. It’s a story of a world peopled by those who often live on the frayed edges of society, who shun the world in which most people thrive. It’s a story in which college students and “fish hippies” work in canneries alongside survivalists, rednecks, religious freaks, and deckhands with damning secrets in dangerous waters, driven by the need to feed an insatiable appetite for adventure.

This is the heart of the world Atcheson found himself in at the age of eighteen. Having never even seen the ocean, he took his first job on the Lancer with Darwin Wood, a man so confounding, so complex and so frightening, that it’s hard to believe Atcheson walked away from that job unscathed. Forced to buddy up with a murderer in order to cope, Atcheson began to question his deeply ingrained ideas of success and status. The resulting conflict would finally resolve itself fifteen years later, in the least likely of places: on the Bering Sea, aboard a boat in peril, during a night of terror that would reshape the lives of everyone involved.

Reminiscent of The Perfect Storm and Into the Wild , Dead Reckoning is not only an intimate look at life at sea, but also an insider’s view into one of Alaska’s small communities, and the myriad of upstarts, dropouts, and rogues that color its landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628736816
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Dave Atcheson is the author of Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond and the guidebook Fishing Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. He has written for a variety of periodicals, from Outdoor Life to Boys' Life , and is a frequent contributor to Alaska Magazine and past contributing editor for Fish Alaska Magazine. He lives in Sterling, Alaska.

Table of Contents

Foreword Andy Hail ix

Introduction xii

Preface xv

1 Time to Flee (Into Battle) 1

2 The Usual Nerves 4

3 Welcome Aboard 6

4 Alaska or Bust 11

5 Spit Rat 15

6 Second Thoughts and Second Chances 17

7 A Great Opportunity 23

8 Gearing Up 25

9 So You Want to Be a Fisherman? 27

10 Confidence and Nerve 31

11 Setting Sail 35

12 False Start 39

13 The Old Man and the Sea 42

14 All the Wrong Moves 48

15 Making Ends Meet 50

16 Better than Prison 55

17 Ignoring Omens 62

18 Just Like a Real Fisherman 66

19 A Good Omen and an Early Lesson 74

20 Like the Pros We Are 77

21 Oh Shit Moments and Miracles 86

22 Attempted Piracy on the High Seas 90

23 Fish, Bears, Whiskey, and the Deal of a Lifetime 93

24 The Goods Are Odd 106

25 An Unwelcome Truth 109

26 The Onset of SWS and the Larger Whole 112

27 Cruising to the Sound (of the Engine) 116

28 The Deckhand from Hell 122

29 What Gives? 125

30 Playing the Odds 133

31 The Cycle of Life 138

32 The Edge of the Abyss 146

33 Sometimes Catching Them, That's the Easy Part 149

34 Cutting Losses 154

35 Hitting the Fan 160

36 Aftermath 167

37 The Long Voyage Home 175

38 New Beginnings 182

Epilogue 186

Acknowledgments 201

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Dead Reckoning: Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on Its High Seas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 20 days ago
I read a lot... have for more than 50 years... I don't review many... any... all that said know this: I really enjoyed this book!
BrownLager More than 1 year ago
Having spent nearly 20 years working in the commercial fishing industry, as a skipper and deckhand, I can attest that this is spot on. It captures all the ups and downs, and is also a great coming of age story as well.
AKDA More than 1 year ago
The Real Alaska, beyond the recent hype, and a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Atcheson shares true firsthand accounts of his fishing experiences in Alaska in a way that is realistic and unglamourized. Although the work is non-fiction, the story flows like a well written novel. The book is quite a departure from his other works, but that is a testament to the breadth of his talent and experience.