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Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Dave Glasheen again!


And when Dave swung the dinghy wide around the cape, his customer at last caught sight of the island, a shark’s tooth of sand and grass jutting from a small mountain of impenetrable bush. Heaven! Dave said to himself.

Heavy seas shouldered the tin boat sideways. Up front, mate! Dave shouted over the bee-loud motor. His customer clambered forward and sat himself backward on the bow, twisting at the waist to keep his eyes on the islet. The evening sky behind it was striped orange to purple.

The customer was thinking about how a guy can’t get himself shipwrecked anymore. Can’t one day discover that his storm-tossed ass has been beached upon a refuge, where he’s free to wile away life, alone with the Alone. It’s impossible now. All the deserted but potentially habitable islands are privately owned, or secret naval bases, or satellite tracking stations. Among other reasons.

Head on a swivel! Crocs! Dave sang out, his hair a white pennant behind him. Soon to be 70, Dave Glasheen was the smooth sienna of well-oiled and -kept things. He had been living on this outlying island for more than 15 years. We wouldn’t want to swim this at night, no we wouldn’t, he said. The water leaking into the bow rose above his customer’s ankles.

Hours earlier, Dave had picked him up from a World War II–era airstrip many miles distant in the mainland’s thick jungle. This intra- Australian airfare, as well as all sea transport, had been included in the $3,100 Dave charged for his two-week desert-island experience. The customer had wired the money directly into Dave’s bank account, as instructed. Also as instructed, he’d brought salamis, two loaves of good bread, coffee, and little else.

This was like a vacation but not. The impulse was the same, maybe. Long had the customer been shopping around for a space that was remote from the world. A spot where, he hoped, everything had been got rid of except for whatever couldn’t be lived without. What the smart set’s always wanted from their getaways." Continue here

I've written before about Dave Glasheen on Restoration Island but he now seems to have hit the big time with this report in the The New Republic which offers some interesting insights into the sort of bloke he was before he became a beachcomber:

"Dave first set foot on the island in November 1993, having been wrecked financially six years earlier by the Australian securities crash. A marketer by trade, he’d tried to dabble in mineral exploration in Papua New Guinea. He lost all of his wealth, about $10 million, when his private venture went tits up. He thought the episode absurd—on paper he’s worth big bickies, then suddenly he’s not. But getting whacked was also the best thing that ever happened to him. A great release, it was.

He’d been a corporate bloke. He’d consulted on marketing strategies for British Tobacco, for the sport of cricket and the drink of milk. He’d been in the ice-cream game; he sold Drumsticks to Australia but failed to get TCBY into Asia. He foresaw the bottled-water craze and helped reinvent the juice box. Packaging was a very real concern for him.

Until his house was foreclosed upon, he’d lived in the most exclusive beachside neighborhood in Sydney. He’d owned two yachts, Black Erik and Erik the Red, the latter the namesake of his newly late daughter, poor ginger-headed Erika. He adored everything about skiing, especially the exclusive lodges at his favorite American slopes. (He expected to need his skis again one day soon and so kept them on the island.) He came to despise banks, big financial institutions—any of the parties he deemed responsible for making him feel right miniscule and tossed about for the first time. Wasn’t his fault the market crashed, he knew. Prior to the money poofing, he and his family had never rented a thing in their lives.

Naturally, the crash led to them having some pretty heavy ding-dongs, but Dave and his wife never formally divorced. Rather, he took up with a new woman, a white Zimbabwean named Denise. Dave talked her into changing her name to Denika—she ran a small business that sold jerky made from African game, and Dave explained to her that no one wanted to buy Denise’s African jerky. After that, he helped her manage a spa—managed the bloody thing himself—until one day she decided she wanted to get away. An island, she told him in bed, in a fit of post-coital quixotism. Our own. So, Dave called up a friend in real estate and said, I got this new bird, and I need an island. "

And that's how Dave came to Restoration Island. Once he’d gotten set up, Denika visited for a rip-roaring couple of weeks. Certainly no family planning going on then! They conceived a son, Kye, who would spend six of his earliest months on the island. Talk about a Garden of Eden. It was a fantastic time. But Denika quickly tired of island life. Couldn’t hack it, if Dave was being perfectly honest. It got rather nasty.

Dave hopes to raise $500,000 to be able to stay on Restoration Island - click here. Last time I looked he had collected $2,675. Do you have a lazy $497,325 to kick in?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Or rather, of the article. Read it for yourself here.