The Modern Day Lighthouse Keeper
The landscape surrounding Tofino is one that has always captivated my interest since the first time I laid eyes on it. Intrigued to discover more about the small islands dotting the surrounding ocean, I recently flew a drone North West from Chesterman beach and snapped a few photos of an island with a lighthouse perched amid the rocks. The first aerial glimpse of this island captured my curiosity with only a few scattered buildings, a beautiful garden, a well-kept grassy yard and a cable car for the transfer of goods. Who operates this beacon of hope?
Lennard Island shown above was built in 1904 for ships approaching Clayoquot Sound. Lennard Island Lighthouse is only one of many on Vancouver Island, with a total of 27 full-staffed lighthouses on the shores of British Columbia. It has a bright white beacon which flashes every 11 seconds for oncoming ships and a fog horn in cases of low visibility.
With further research I’ve learned that Caroline Woodward and her husband Jeff George currently reside on Lennard Island. They stepped into the position as lighthouse keepers 7 years ago and have been living in solitude ever since. In addition to her role as lighthouse keeper Caroline is also a writer and author of a book entitled "Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper". Given the opportunity I would love to visit this monument of Canada’s maritime heritage for a day or two to interview the couple and document the day-to-day of a ‘modern lighthouse keeper’. Included in this short segment would be topics such as how to keep busy on a secluded island, how provisioning is accomplished, how to live off-grid and to portray the important role that Caroline and Jeff play as navigational aid to local mariners. I've contacted Caroline and they are willing to host me to share their story and the work they do at the lighthouse.
I would travel alone by water or air to Lennard island to seek answers about the seemingly simple life of a modern day lighthouse keeper. The story would be captured on the RED Epic, aerials on the DJi Inspire 2, the interviews would be of similar style as the Gabriola Island Clinic episode. The style would match that of our previous Telus stories, with a focus on the importance of protecting our shores, time spent alone and the ability to reflect and to write. Highlighting details of this unfamiliar lifestyle such as the inability to walk to the grocery store, not having a mailbox, and the importance of the role of a lighthouse keeper in a digital age are all components I would like to capture. The Telus element for this story is the LTE coverage to the island and a segment from the couple being able to communicate via "FaceTime, Skype, etc.. with family and friends while on the island. The previously known stereotypical lonesome light-keeper to a modern day light-keeper in a connected life.
Thank you for taking the time to read my idea to document Lennard Island and its current residents.
- Robin Léveillé