Jack Donachy

Jack Donachy
Job title 
Writer & Photographer
About me 
My wife Barbra and I first came Alaska in the summer of 2010, driving up from Sacramento, California behind the wheel of a Toyota Tacoma and towing (and sleeping, cooking and living on) Gillie, our C-Dory Angler 22. That was summer of firsts: our first halibut, our first salmon, our first sightings of Orcas, Dall's porpoises, breaching humpback whales, caribou, brown bears feasting on purple-splotched chum salmon and calving tidewater glaciers. And the food...! Halibut omelets, razor clam chowder, prawns on pasta, steamed Dungeness crabs and freshly picked wild berries woke us to the fact that Alaska is one of the world's best kept food-destination secrets. On the way back home, somewhere around Tok, one of us turned and said to the other, "We need to move up here," and the other said, "Yes." A year later we accepted contracts to teach in Shishmaref, an small Inupiat Eskimo village precariously situated on an eroding barrier island in the Chukchi Sea. A year after that, we went further north, above the Arctic Circle to Point Hope where they still harvest whales and where polar bears walking through town is not news. Meanwhile, we were spending our summers in Seward, living on our sailboat and enjoying some of the world's most incredible fishing and wildlife viewing. We've always suffered from itchy feet; when - out of the blue - we were contacted by an overseas recruiter, we followed that thread till it led us to two-year teaching contracts in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. While we enjoyed many aspects of Mongolia, we found ourselves missing Alaska in ways we couldn't have predicted. And so, when those contracts concluded, we returned to the Great Land. This time we're in Chignik Lake, a place of staggering abundance. There are, of course, berries and bears, moose and caribou, the great horned owls that wake is some mornings and the handsome short-tailed weasel that lives under our house. And there are fish. Hundreds of thousands of Sockeye salmon, tens of thousands of Coho and a couple thousand Chinook ascent the river each year - and that's after the commercial nets have taken their toll down in the lagoon. And not a hatchery in sight. There is a strong population of Dolly Varden charr in the system as well. In truth, even the sticklebacks and sculpins interest me. Barbra is still teaching and is enjoying her role as the soul elementary school teacher in this village of about 50 residents. I've decided to pursue a new career focusing full-time on writing and photography. Otherwise I keep myself busy checking birds off on area lists, curing salmon roe into ikura, smoking reds, reading books on everything from poetry to Pacific salmon and keeping Barbra in good supply of berries to be turned into jams, jellies, syrups and sauces.
Favorite quote 
"If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth." Roberto Clemente
Other Interests 
Bird watching
RV camping
Fly Fishing
Group membership 
Alaska-At-Large - 778
Kenai Peninsula - 229
Southcentral Alaska - 211