Alaska Story Project

ASP 25, Brad Matsen, "Planet Ocean"

February 18, 2023 Host Dan Kowalski Season 3 Episode 25
Alaska Story Project
ASP 25, Brad Matsen, "Planet Ocean"
Show Notes

Brad Matsen has been fascinated and writing about water and the ocean for over forty years.  He is the author of, "Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea";  "Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King";  "Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss", a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 2006;  the New York Times bestseller, "Titanic's Last Secrets";  "Planet Ocean: A Story of Life the Sea, and Dancing to the Fossil Record" with artist Ray Troll, and many more.  
Brad has written for numerous publications, was the editor of Alaska Fisherman's Journal and the Pacific Editor for National Fisherman.

In this podcast, Brad reads from his essay, "Salmon in the Trees".

  • Reflecting on his lifelong relationship with water and the ocean.
  • Collaborating with fish artist extraordinaire, Ray Troll, on "Shocking Fish Tales" and "Planet Ocean".
  • To write about responsible stewardship of the oceans, Brad is inclined to approach it sideways, in a way that kindles reader fascination.
  • As told in "Descent", Brad tells of how William Beebe pioneered field stations and was, in many respects, the first ecologist. 
  • In "Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King", Brad recounts stories of working with the explorer's life and Cousteau's insatiable curiosity for ocean explorations.
  • Brad recounts some of the fascinating details around his writing of "Titanic's Last Secrets".
  • Brad narrates his essay, "Salmon in the Trees", originally published in "The Book of the Tongass".
  • Excerpt:  'Nature is a workshop and not a temple.'
  • 'The water, the forest, the people, and the salmon of the archipelago were enough to claim me.  Trollers often fish alone, catch salmon one at a time on hooks, and depend entirely upon guile, instinct, sham, trickery, and luck for success.'
  • 'I remember that morning at Point Adolphus like a poker player remembers a pat hand.  The sensual feast kindled in me a new awareness of the bonds between the water, forest, and salmon of the Tongass.'

Brad shares some of his reflections at this station in life.  He also recounts a road trip with his twenty year old grandson, "Just dig how cool it is to be alive—this experience of being here!  It's astonishing.  It's really wonderful!"