Refuge Cove

Free Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce

Book: Refuge Cove by Lesley Choyce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lesley Choyce
Tags: JUV000000
Chapter One
    Our house was half on, half off the land. It was jammed into the side of a rocky hill and part of the house was standing on stilts, stuck out over the water. It was the weirdest house I’d ever seen. Alongside was parked the car. And on the roof rack was my thirteen-foot Laser sailboat.
    I can usually get the little boat off the roof of the car by myself. But when I heardthe voice I was flat on the ground, pinned by my boat.
    â€œFunny way to sail a boat,” he said, not offering to help. “Around here, a fella usually puts the boat in the water and then gets in. Don’t think she’ll work upside down like that on dry land.”
    The guy must have been at least seventy years old. I don’t think he’d shaved a day in his life. He had that foreign-sounding accent that all the people around here have.
    â€œI nearly broke my back. How about a hand?” I hated it when adults tried to be cute. This guy thought he was funny.
    â€œAll you had to do was ask,” he said, sounding a little hurt. “Mainlanders do funny things. How was I to know that this wasn’t your idea of a good time?”
    He didn’t say another word. He lifted the boat and helped me carry it down to the water of the cove. Then he sat down and watched as I got the rest of the gear, slipped in the centerboard, fitted the rudder and rigged the sail.
    â€œSome toy,” he finally said.
    â€œNo toy,” I countered. “This is a precision machine. And you’re looking at a sailing champion.” It’s true, I had won races on Lake Ontario, lots of races. I was one of the best.
    â€œBut that’s no boat for the North Atlantic. This here’s an ocean, lad, not some inland lake.”
    â€œRight,” I said, feeling the sting of his insult like a slap in the face. “Thanks for the advice.” This was my first big chance to get in the water and rip. All I had to do was get out of the cove and into the sea beyond. I could see from the whitecaps that there would be a good wind.
    My mother and I had only been in Newfoundland for four days. It wasn’t anything like Toronto at all. But that was why we had moved here.
    It was the dream they both had—my mom and dad—back before my father died. We would sell everything, pack up and move to a little outport like this on the coast a million miles from anywhere.
    Now we had made the big move, just the two of us. Deep Cove was home. But it wasn’t like a dream come true at all. It was pretty weird. My mom was really upset about every little thing. I was still trying to hold things together. My trick was this: I didn’t think about my father. Instead, I’d concentrate on sailing, on the races I’d won back in Ontario and what it felt like to keep pushing my little Laser to the absolute limit.
    Today was the day I’d finally get my sailboat into the Atlantic. Today was the day I’d see just how far I could push.
    Looking towards the cove entrance, I started to push off but I was snagged. I turned back around to see that the old guy had grabbed the back of the boat. He had a stern look on his face. I think I had left a bad impression. “Don’t go out too far. I’m serious. I’ll be out after I get some tea. That’s my boat over there.” He pointed to an old beat-up fishing boat with a small cabin. “By the way, I’m Harold.”
    Looks like a pile of junk, I almost said. “I’m Greg,” I said.
    â€œA couple of boats of refugees came in down the shore. Dropped off by a big ship, left to float around in a little lifeboat not much bigger than your toy here, Greggie. Some folks say there might be more coming ashore. That’s why I’m going out for a look later. You keep your eyes open too.”
    â€œSure,” I said, wanting to get under way. Refugees in lifeboats weren’t my problem. “And don’t worry about me, man,” I said,

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