Epic river journey the subject of new audio series

Category: arts 191

Revisitation: The Dock Theft explores one man’s journey down the Wolastoq/Saint John River on a stolen dock with little more than a bag of weed and a few cases of beer. 

Matt Carter 

Every city has its quirks. Those colourful characters and unusual happenings that help break the monotony of everyday life and keep us all grounded in the reality of our surroundings. Just when we think we have our community figured out, something or someone can easily flip our perspective and capture our imagination with the simplest of actions. Whether or not we choose to admit it, these are the things we live for. The moments we hold dear. 

In his latest audio series, Fredericton writer and podcaster Brendan MaGee goes deep into one of the city’s most unusual events of the past decade. It’s a story of freedom and adventure that lands somewhere between Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, with a little of Chappelle’s Half Baked thrown in for good measure. It’s the story of David Hachey, a self-described man-child who, on a fine June evening in 2013, untied the Fredericton Rowing Club’s dock, climbed aboard and set off on a journey down the Wolastoq/Saint John River with little more than a bag of weed and a few cases of beer.  

“I remember hearing about the dock theft earlier that week. It was early summer and I was heading out of town with some friends to spend the weekend at a cottage in Juniper,” said MaGee. “We stopped at the store, someone grabbed a copy of the paper and there was this story right on the front page. We were fixated on it.

Hachey, outside the courts in Fredericton. (Photo: Global News)

“Mr. Hachey’s story was big news for a few days and then it was over,” he said. “I’ve thought about it pretty consistently since then and always wondered what happened to him. Always kind of wondering, never really knowing and just always wanting to find out. Part of me wanted to let him know the impact of his story. It was really touching.”

Over five days, Hachey idled down the river before eventually being discovered by the Fredericton Police marine unit and later arrested. At the time of his arrest he told police he planned to float his way to Saint John.

Outside the court a few days later, Hachey described his adventure to reporters. 

“It was wonderful. I really enjoyed it. Just like a child. A man child. It’s in the scriptures. The bible. It was great.”

MaGee’s new audio series, Revisitation: The Dock Theft, takes a four-part look into this story combining interviews with friends who remember the events as they unfolded, the journalists who reported on it, academics and scholars, and songs inspired by the Wolastoq/Saint John River.

“At first I wondered whether or not this would be a story people would remember, but as I started doing interviews I was surprised at how many people still remember it all very vividly,” said MaGee. “Everybody had their own personal connection to the story, which is awesome, I think. It really captured people’s imaginations.”

MaGee debuted his Revisitation series in 2019 as an audio diary built around his journal entries written while on tour in Ontario with his band Brookside Mall. Each vignette in the series was supported by a selection of music. His latest series takes a similar approach, blending personal memories with investigative reporting.   

“My first series was all based around my own experiences with motion and self discovery and I really didn’t want to do that again,” said MaGee. “But I thought the theme fit perfectly with David Hachey’s story. And the music I used, all inspired by the river, ties together this whole story which is part Forensic Files and part Scooby Doo.”

Revisitation: The Dock Theft is out today, marking the eight year anniversary of Hachey’s arrest and the end of one of New Brunswick’s most unusual and enduring true crime tales.

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