Ms. Atkinson and her companion, Gordon Chaplin, had been on a voyage around the world in their yacht Lord Jim when they put into Wotho Atoll in the Marshall Islands to repair a leak.
After her divorce she resumed nursing and then turned to writing. She wrote two books of humor, "It's All His Fault," and `It's All Her Fault." She also wrote a novel, "Taking Off," based on the one year she and Chaplin spent living with her two teen-age daughters in a small village in Baja California. Among her memoirs are "Emergence" and "Kitchen Memories."