Ship's Log
Friday, August 4, 2000
Von Donop Inlet to Refuge Cove

Refuge's Royal Treatment

    We woke and made coffee. We exchanged information and waved goodbye to our new friends.August701.jpg (45225 bytes)

We pulled up the crab trap to find it empty as usual, then headed south toward Refuge Cove. At the entrance to the little cove we found a garbage man of the most novel variety. August704.jpg (64239 bytes)For years garbage disposal has been a problem in these islands. They have few inhabitants and virtually no infrastructure. So when tourists come from Seattle and Vancouver with their supermarket packaging there is really nowhere to put all the garbage. Well in refuge cove there is a man on a converted fishing boat sitting next to his garbage barge. So, for $5 per bag you can get rid of your trash. I respect his entrepreneurial spirit in a place that really needs it. I would have really loved to talk to him, but Debbie and I have only accumulated one little white plastic shopping bag of garbage in the last 10 days. So, we just waved as we sailed by. The marina in Refuge Cove is a Co-op. There are a number of families that own the land, docks, store and homes together and share in the work and the profits. We easily found a space on the dock and moored the boat with the help of the on older Canadian fellow in the sailboat next to us. He was very friendly—asking us where we were from and where we were going, what we do, why we were here, why we use that gadget instead of the other one, etc. etc. etc. It became apparent to me pretty early on, that this guy wanted to chat. So I asked him about the garbage guy saying that he is solving a real problem that is facing these islands. And he answered in his British accent, "Yes, he is a bit queer. Sitting amongst his garbage happy as a clam. All the boats swarm around and give him garbage and he gets to sit with it which I am sure makes him very happy and he gets to make money too. Very strange bird indeed." I shrugged and set my sights on the store at the head of the dock. The sun was blazing and I was having a serious ice cream jones.

Debbie and I headed for shore and found a virtual plethora of land-lubber delights. Clean, hot showers for as long as you want for only $3. Laundry, a coffee shop with fresh baked goods and a book exchange. I was eager to exchange the "Marilyn Files" book Marty gave me for something I could learn from. It’s funny that I don’t really enjoy reading. I would rather write. I like reading manuals or good short story fables or poetry. Debbie plows through these relatively giant novels with complex stories about the trials and tribulations of some fictitious heroin. I just can’t get into it. I would love to write one someday though… that’s how I operate, I learn by doing rather than reading. Makes for a lot of trial and error, but I sure retain what I learn that way.

So, armed with a banana fudge ice cream cone, we set out for a walk on this beautiful island. We went to one end of the marina and there was a sign saying, "Residents Only. Please Respect Our Privacy." So we went to the other end of the marina only to find the same signs. We asked someone in the store if there was somewhere we could take a walk, and she said, "Nope, this is all privately owned." Feeling a bit confined we went back to the boat. August703.jpg (91432 bytes)

I came below and began working on the website. Debbie went on deck and dove into her 380-page hardcover. As I typed away feeling a bit overwhelmed with the chore of the chore of this website. Our pseudo Canadian friend walked up and began talking to Deb. He asked what she did. Then asked why. Then asked if she felt that mental health issues were an individual problem or a societal problem. I was thanking God that I was not up there. Deb is super smart and holding her own, but I knew where this was going. Then he launched into statistics of how the United Nations voted Canada as having the best healthcare and education and standard of living and quality of life for the past however many years in a row. And how in the states the crime rate is blah, blah, ba-blah. I knew Deb just wanted to sit and read her book in the sunshine on this beautiful day in this tranquil bay before she has to go back to work in just a few short days. But I also know that she couldn’t resist talking about this stuff, because it interests here and one of the things I love about her is that she is a curious person. So she mentioned that just last night, we had an in-depth conversation with a middle-class Canadian couple about the health care here. And they had serious concerns about getting immediate attention if there was a serious problem. They had a 5-month old and were worried that if he needed a MRI, they would have to come to the U.S. and pay thousands of U.S. dollars to get him treated. Well, our new Canadian friend, turns out to be a retired hospital administrator and preacher of the great Canadian healthcare system. August702.jpg (75670 bytes) And he also happened to be moored with his cockpit facing ours with nothing to do but practice his chops. So he launched into his speech complete with statistics and research data about how their concerns are ridiculous and how that is exactly what the American Medical Association wants us to believe so we keep buying into the pharmaceutical corporations blah, double blah, 54% of blah do blah and etc. And for some reason, I just became enraged at this guy. I guess because he was treating here like an idiot. If anyone is skeptical of the AMA, it’s me. I know all those things. I don’t need the numbers to know that our system wants people sick, so they can do more operations and have us all on 15 pills by age 55. I don’t need the numbers to know that the Canadian way is to keep people well and if you get a scrape, you go to the hospital without thinking twice and get it treated correctly so there is no infection or serious repercussions. And I don’t need the numbers to know that this guy is just a pompous ass that needed to do a little America-bashing to make his meaningless existence seem a bit less pitiful. Like we really need this guy telling us on our little 28-foot boat, that the materialistic Americans are ruining life for everyone. After weeks of meeting nothing but friendly people, I wondered if this British accented pompous fool was Canadian at all. Finally, we fled to the coffee bar and got some Starbucks. There, the owner (from Australia) finding out we were from Washington (where "interstate 5 is our mantra") began saying something about our horrible civil war and all the needless lives that were lost. Deb and I looked at each other and laughed. Is he really lecturing the evil Americans about our civil war? Needless to say, we took our American money, and plotted a course the hell away from Refuge Cove and it’s pretentious Canadian-transplant, know-it-all attitude.

It's a small world after all. It's a small small world.

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