GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST WILDERNESS RETREAT HISTORY

Drifter’s Cove is a privately owned, hand crafted, wilderness retreat on Denny Island, British Columbia, Canada. We are in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world. The property is currently “off-the-grid” with a large garden and rich local seafood sources making a self-sustaining green community possible.

 

Drifter’s History

Born in Langley British Columbia, owner and entrepreneur Kevin Heneghan has worked in siviculture, marine mechanics, construction and more recently tourism.

As a young man Kevin began his career in silviculture within the BC forestry industry. He first worked in Vancouver and later Bella Coola. Much of his work involved studying the impact of logging on the forest, marine environment and local wildlife.

With the downturn in the forestry industry Kevin underwent a career shift and became a marine mechanic specializing in outboard motors. He moved to Shearwater on Denny Island in 2000 where he ran the local mechanics shop. Within two years he acquired 70 acres of land on Denny Island which is now known as Drifter’s Cove.

At the time of purchase the land was untouched. Kevin logged parts of the back of the property and developed a road which could be used for future development.

The more time Kevin spent on the property the more he fell in love with it. He began to envision a  retreat designed to educate others about a self-sustaining lifestyle. Over the years he has been working to turn that dream into a reality.

The Early Years

During his early years at the cove Kevin lived in a 12-man logging float camp. He had no generator, no electricity and no infrastructure. Every time the Queen of the North passed by a wave of water flowed through his living room. By his second year onboard the float camp began to sink forcing Kevin to clear a part of the property and move to pioneer tent where he spent that winter.

Kevin spent the next summer hand-building a 12 x 12 foot trappers cabin with a loft using his chainsaw mill. He lived in that cabin for the next two years in fairly rough conditions with no running water, no toilet and shower. He showered outside using a long copper coil which he would run water through and heat with a fire near on the beach. When he was able, he built a laundry/shower shed.

Next on his list was a one bedroom cabin with a loft near the front of the property. Digging the foundation by hand, and built mainly from beach combed wood, Kevin was able to erect the cabin with the help of friends. Three-years after starting, as soon as there was a roof, Kevin was able to relocate to the new cabin.

The Docks

After completing the first cabin Kevin was able to focus his attention on building the main dock. The local community came out for a work party and they were able erect the dock’s main posts within a day. The 80-foot-long float and 50-foot-long ramp took 2-3 years to complete. The project would not have been possible without the help of friends, in particular, Rob Flemmings.

One day, while building his wind generator shed, Kevin looked toward the water and a humpback-whale breached in front of him. He decided at that moment that it would be a great place for a deck and immediately started work on the project. The whale deck overlooking Lama Pass has made it possible for family members and guests to enjoy the many sights Kevin has seen from over his years from the property.

In 2008, soon after the whale-deck was in place a second dock was built closer to the front of the property. The main structure was completed that year but not put into use until it recently became a heli-pad.

Cabin #3   

With 2 cabins now under his belt Kevin was able to forge forward with his own plan and build cabin number 3. ­­­ Before he was able to complete the cabin he was diagnosed with cancer. Travel to and from the city for chemotherapy and surgery became part of his regular routine. Whenever he returned to the cove he resumed construction on the cabin as it helped keep his mind of cancer. The cabin was completed just after Kevin turned 45 years old.

The Future

In May, 2017 Kevin resigned from his mechanics job in Shearwater to pursue his personal goals. He is now working fulltime at building the wilderness retreat in his cove.