BONAVISTA BAY, N.L.
After discovering there were still remote, isolated, lighthouse keepers off our shores, I knew I had to write about it.
I had assumed, as did many, these remote locations had long ago been automated. What was it like living in such a small space and being away from family for weeks at a time? I needed to know, and I needed to see it for myself.
But it took some time to line up, and I’m extremely glad I was given the deadline leeway to make it come together the way I had envisioned.
DFO was working to arrange an interview and a site visit wasn’t ruled out. Weeks after the initial call, and completely out of the blue, a crew change was happening, and I was booked for the helicopter flight to Puffin Island, off of Greenspond, in Bonavista Bay.
What happened next was a visually spectacular scene, a helicopter descending onto a tiny island with a lighthouse. And it got even better when principal light keeper Craig Burry was waiting for me with his dog Molly, who always makes the trip. It was feature-writing gold.
I often start the writing process by describing a single moment in time as a jumping off point, but there was so much to work with this time around, and the injection of Burry and Molly’s movements throughout the entire trip allowed me to create what I consider – from beginning to end – my most memorable story from 2018.
As for Burry and Molly, both have received their fair share of attention since the story ran. While it’s not something Burry prefers, he is willing to accept it, as the article shone a light on a profession that can often be overlooked.