A Pit Stop at Refuge Cove - Sail Magazine

A Pit Stop at Refuge Cove

From June to September, the Cove is open to the public, and twenty families live and work there together. In the off-season, the number decreases to 12 residents and fuel and water are only available three days a week. In the words of another local, “Refuge Cove is for the sort of people who max out after three months of socializing.
Author:
Publish date:
Refugecove

“It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something.” The comment itself wasn’t terribly novel, but the source certainly was: a fellow named Dave who lived on a garbage barge roughly in the middle of nowhere. We were on charter with Desolation Sound Yacht Charters in British Columbia, and had sailed into Refuge Cove on Redondo Island. As with most of Desolation Sound, it was too deep to anchor, but there were a dozen spots to dock. Because this is the only place around to get water, fuel and propane, these fill up quickly.

Ashore, the community looks like a life-size Lincoln Log village, with wooden walkways connecting the small buildings. One houses laundry and shower facilities; another sells locally produced sweaters, art and honey; a third offers provisions; a fourth contains a bookstore where books can be purchased on the honor system. 

 Dave invites cruisers to dump their trash at his home.

Dave invites cruisers to dump their trash at his home.

From June to September, the Cove is open to the public, and twenty families live and work there together. In the off-season, the number decreases to 12 residents and fuel and water are only available three days a week. In the words of another local, “Refuge Cove is for the sort of people who max out after three months of socializing.” 

Across the cove, we found Dave on a small barge with a dinghy dock, a house and a pile of garbage. Refuge Cove didn’t accept garbage, but Dave did. As we dinghied up, he greeted us warmly and accepted our trash for five bucks. The man’s nasal glands must have dried up years ago; he seemed blissfully unaware of the stench as he trotted around in his stocking feet. When his barge fills up, he told, us, he drives to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, dumps the trash and donates the money from the recycling to the local schools.

There on his garbage barge, Dave practiced what he preached: “It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something.”

Top Photo by Andrew Prince

Bottom Photo by Terry Kotas

Related

USCGReadyForRescue_Identifier_FullColor

USCG Ready for Rescue Challenge

The U.S. Coast Guard is now collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on something it calls the “Ready for Rescue,” a $255,000 prize competition that is looking for ways that will make it easier to locate people, MOB victims in particular, in the water.The ...read more

04-CLR1718md1085-jpg

A Historic Win for Wendy Tuck

This past summer Australian sailor, Wendy Tuck (inset), became the first woman to win a round-the-world yacht race when she and her crew aboard Sanya Serenity Coast claimed the overall victory in the 2017-18 Clipper Race. “I am just so happy,” Tuck said at the finish in ...read more

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more