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:
Updated on
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

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Check the waypoint  Most errors with GPS and paper chart navigation are caused by the operator punching in the wrong numbers or plotting the lat/long incorrectly. The surest way to double-check a ...read more

Furlex-Electric

Gear: Seldén’s Furlex Electric

Furl Power Seldén’s Furlex Electric offers an easy path into the world of sweat-free headsail furling. The compact unit can be retrofitted to an existing manual Furlex unit or installed as a replacement for whatever you’ve got now. Its DC-DC converter accepts your boat’s 12V or ...read more

11_DSC8423Tom-Zydler

Cruising: Nova Scotia

There’s a unique cruising ground that combines access to urban locations with easy escapes to wilderness and nature. Its native people may be the friendliest on the east coast of North America. Its coastline runs 250 nautical miles in a straight line, but that should be ...read more

01-LEAD-shutterstock_727849660

Boat Monitoring System

Boat Oversight In a world where you can track your friends’ locations in real time and stream yourself live on the internet, it should come as no surprise that you can also keep a close eye on your boat from the comfort of home. In fact, not only is there a plethora of options ...read more

pilot_saloon_42-_en_navigation_11

Boat Review: Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 42

Old salts grouse about modern aesthetics. It’s just what they do, and the hard lines and spartan interiors of today’s production boats give them many reasons to complain. French builder Wauquiez, however, seems to consistently be able to marry contemporary elements with ...read more

JuneWaterlines

Sights and Stories Cruising the Caribbean

Though I hate to think of myself as a “disaster tourist,” I can’t deny one of the things I was most curious about as I sailed south last fall to visit St. Martin, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico was how much hurricane damage I would see. I’m sure no one needs reminding that ...read more