Dave Glasheen has lived alone on Restoration Island for more than 20 years, since he lost his fortune in the stock market crash of 1987 and opted out of the rat-race for good. But what does it take to find happiness on a deserted island? Dave shares the five things he always keeps stock of on Resto.
Good books. I’m an avid reader. I love adventure stories like Shantaram. Believe it or not I haven’t read Robinson Crusoe; it sounds mundane to me!
Fish hooks and home brew beer. I put these hand-in-hand because sometimes beer replaces my fishing line. I normally eat reef fish and saltwater trout that I catch off the island but sometimes I feel like mixing it up with fresh prawn or calamari, so I ‘gift’ (because I can’t legally barter) home brew to fishermen passing by, and in return they give me all the seafood delicacies I can’t catch myself.
My boat. Checking that the boat is in working order is the one routine I have each morning. It can be my lifeline if something goes wrong on the island. A US fighter jet went past during the US/AUS war games 18 months ago, causing extreme winds that knocked my boat straight onto the reef and damaged it beyond repair (the accident would have killed me if I was in the boat). It took days to flag down a passing fishing vessel for a ride to the mainland to source a new one. So Donald Trump owes me a new boat!
Living company (my doggy). I can always talk to the dog, although I might not get much conversation back. I’ve had a few dogs over the years but now I’ll only get dingos – town dogs are just too soft and not wily enough to survive the wildlife on the island. I found that out the hard way when my beautiful kelpie cross, Lockey (a townie from Lockhart River), got taken by my grumpy neighbour, Boxhead the saltwater croc. It was devastating to see it happen and not be able to do anything. Lockey was a lovely dog.
Patience. You gotta have patience. Everything will test your patience when you can only rely on yourself for survival, especially when things go wrong. When a cyclone comes through and knocks the roof off my shack or my boat needs fixing, I can’t give up and pay a professional to fix it. I have to get it done myself and that can take months.