A Roark Guide to Bartering
"I COME BEARING GIFTS"
"THE FORGOTTEN ARCHIPELAGO"
By Nate Zoller
On the way home we stop at the Victory bar, a local watering hole where Prince William once drank until 3am. We walk in to see British flags lining the ceiling and the weekly dart tournament in full swing. All the best players from the various pubs converge here every Monday for battle. It appears that bar sports (darts, pool, and drinking) are the biggest activities here. Leaning against the bar next to us was the local radio DJ, Nick, who stands out with long hair, tight jeans and a leather jacket. “We have fuck-all trees, and they all have a bad combover from the wind.” Looking around the bar we notice everyone is drinking cans of Budweiser. “Why is everyone drinking Bud?” asks Dylan. “A can of Coke is more expensive than a can of beer. Because import tax is so high, there is not much tax on alcohol,” laughs Nick. Turns out it’s less than a dollar a can and the beer out of the tap was flat and room temperature. The vibe in the pub feels like a house party because everyone has known each other since childhood. The ratio is 5 women to 50 men.
Ben had been in communication with a guy named Chris Poole that supposedly owned his own island with his dad just off the coast. When asking people at the local pub about Chris one guy chirps, “Chris Poole? He doesn’t even have a boat!” From the way that these guys regarded Chris, I had a feeling he was more like us than like them. He’s not the status quo. He’s an outlier. Maybe that’s why he bought an island with 4,600 sheep and eight miles of raw coastline. When asking Chris what kind of compensation he wanted in exchange for guiding us to his island he responded, “Bring a couple slabs (24 pack) of Bud and a drum of oil and we're all set. Fuel for the fire and fuel for the men.” In the six years that he has owned the island he has never brought guests outside of family, especially not a group of surfers from California. As we pack up the RIB boat with our food and beer at the makeshift harbor off to the side of the British Navy base, we prod Chris again about compensation. “The only thing I ask when you leave off into the world, is just to remember us.” His currency is the experience and that hits home. Chris brings along his dad, Big Steve, a sheep farmer who has a total of three teeth, and his brother-in-law Stevie, who has his own boat and constantly has a lolly-pop in his mouth and enthusiasm on par with Parker when he sees a good wave.
We'd found pretty much nothing anywhere on the Internet about Lively Island. All we know is that it sits right in the swell path. A half-hour boat ride through inlets and past small islands takes us there and it’s dark and creepy when we arrive around 4pm. The ocean is calm in the inlet, and you can see the bottom it’s so clear. Sheep skulls line the shore. The four dogs jump out of the RIB, grab a bone and chase each other rabidly around the farm house. “All I see is shotgun shells, shit and bones. This is fucked up,”notes Parker as we take the gear from the boat to the house. We walk into the old 19th century farm house and it’s full of smoke from the freshly lit wood furnace. The inside of the house feels oddly Russian with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-vibe.
"All I see is shotgun shells, shit and bones. This is f--ked up,' notes Parker as we take the gear from the boat to the house."