In 2013-2014, I worked as a relief lighthouse keeper for a year on the coast of British Columbia. I traveled by boat and helicopter into these stations and stayed for a length of time. Each station is different. There was always one principal keeper and I would be there to do the duties of the assistant keeper. We each had our own house. As romantic as it sounds, we did not live in the light;) This blog chronicles some of my adventures and the history of these remote locations.
My Yoga Challenge
I can’t speak for everyone, but after injuring myself, I was afraid to do much of anything, especially movement that might cause more pain. When I slipped a month ago, I bruised my ribs; then I picked up a piece of plywood that invoked an intense muscle spasm just left of my spine, and angered a hiatus hernia. Just eating or sleeping or shifting would set off the pain.
Now, I know the only way back from bruised ribs is rest and so I’ve been resting and protecting my sore spots. Most of my reading says from 4-6 weeks and this is week 5. The acute pain has lessened to a widespread ache, especially in the afternoon when the muscles tire in my upper back. So today I’m being my new yoga practice.
I discovered a great video series on youtube called “Namaste Yoga” with instruction by Dr. Melissa West. This morning I did her beginner’s practice--Yoga 101. This is cool because she has over 100 different yoga sessions free on youtube. Because I live in an isolated location, there’s just Melissa and me and my new travelling yoga mat. (The mat works well over a rug, but I’m still trying to get the smell of the rubber to dissipate--I’ve washed it and hung it outside for several days but it’s still strong. If anyone has any ideas, please comment.) Anyway, I’m challenging myself to keep up this practice. The cool thing about using the youtube series is that I don’t have to zip out into traffic afterwards and so I can keep my magical yoga glow. It helps on a grey day like today.
When I say, I am a lighthouse keeper, most people are surprised. Unknowingly they smile. Do they still exist? How did you even think of doing that? Is there training? How did you get the job? I understand this fascination; asked many of the same questions myself, when my friend became a keeper a few years ago. Romantic. Captivating. The Lighthouse. That fiery beacon by the misty sea is ingrained in our ancestral memory. If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a tower, stirring up a cauldron of chowder, or sipping tea as you scan the horizon for floundering ships, you know what I mean. But be forewarned. As merry as it seems, lighthouse life is not a dream. In my late fifties, I wanted a new career, something different from my stressful, chaotic, sedentary high school teaching job, something that would allow me to think and write and create.
When the online job posting appeared at last, I applied and waited, interviewed and waited; and finally, was informed that if I passed the medical, I wou…
The steep cracked cement steps are caked with moss. A mottled brass plaque inside the wooden doors reads: This church, dedicated to Pope St Pius X, erected 1956 to the Glory of God and in memory of Padre Magin Catala, OFM, first missionary to Friendly Cove, 1793 and in memory of the historic meeting of Capt. George Vancouver, RN and Commander Bodega Y Quadra of the Spanish Navy in Friendly Cove, 1792, and the Nootka Convention Treaty, was sponsored by His Excellency, Bishop James M. Hill of Victoria, directed by the Rev. F. Miller OMI Parish Priest, assisted by Rev. T. Lobsinger OMI with the approval and assistance of Chief Ambrose Maquinna and his band at Friendly Cove. So many to acknowledge, and yet the actual people, who have lived here since time immemorial, and on whose territory the church stands, barely make it to the last line. In the vestibule are stained glass windows sent by Spain, framed yellowing photographs, and a model of a longhouse. The hall itself, I am pleased to say…
Four years ago at this time, I was working as a relief lighthouse keeper for the Canadian Coast Guard. I'd taken a year off teaching to explore and destress and try something new. Between March 27 and May 23, I stayed at Nootka and recorded my adventures, and misadventures, in a journal and a blog. This was my house for eight weeks.
I've been thinking about that time a lot lately. This summer, I am planning to take the Uchuck III day cruise from Gold River to Friendly Cove, so I can walk those beaches and trails once again. This is a photo of the Uchuck III docked at Friendly Cove. This will be a brillliant way to experience the sound and the cove where so many historic events occurred. Plus, you get three hours to hike and explore the beaches, trails, graveyards, lake, and the lighthouse.
I had hoped to visit with Mark, the lighthouse keeper I worked with at that time, but apparently Mark and Joanne retired last September. So, all I can say is "Congratulations!" fr…