My draw to the water started at the age of 17. My stepfather owned a tugboat company just outside Victoria, and he introduced me to the wild uncharted lives of those who live and work on the water. A few months after we met, he and his son narrowly escaped into a life raft when his tugboat sank. A few days later, he used his diving gear to recover the tug with floats. It was the beginning of my deep respect for mariners.
Decades later, I took on the coordination of the marine safety programs at North Island College (NIC), and my stepfather patiently explained marine lingo to me. In this role, I met mariners from across Canada—all in different fields of work like fishing, aquaculture, transportation, whale watching, environmental stewardship, and more. Until that time, I had not fully comprehended how much mariners contribute to coastal communities. I loved the characters who came into our classes to share their stories.
I had been writing professionally for decades, but it was creating social media videos for NIC that helped me realize I could create a film myself. So, in December 2021, I pitched the idea of Where the Wind Meets the Tide to Telus Storyhive. Storyhive provides grants to new filmmakers to create docuseries that feature local stories relevant to the community. A filmmaker friend, Vesta Giles, helped me put together my grant proposal.
Once I had the funding, I needed a crew. Thankfully a friend referred me to Stan Novotny, a Campbell River-based wildlife photographer with experience as a whale-watching skipper who had recently transitioned into cinematography. I also convinced another friend and former colleague from the University of Victoria, Jeff Baxter, to join us.
OPENING PHOTO: KING PACIFIC LODGE BEING TOWED THROUGH SEYMOUR NARROWS FROM CAMPBELL RIVER TO BELLA BELLA. ABOVE LEFT: CAPTAIN ESTHER ALLEN ABOARD THE POWELL RIVER QUEEN. ABOVE RIGHT: GEORGE CUTHBERT, OWNER OF KING PACIFIC LODGE.
The series title refers to a time when waves get choppier and higher on the ocean—making for rough seas. When we received our grant in January 2022, the world felt like rough seas two years into the pandemic. As a result, I decided to focus our stories on resilience and hope.
Where the Wind Meets the Tide buoyed me. Everyone involved, from crew to cast, helped me believe that we could navigate the tough currents of those difficult times. From our first episode (featuring Captain Allen, BC Ferries’ first female captain) to our last episode (featuring George Cuthbert, owner/operator of King Pacific Lodge) and all the amazing characters in between, you see how much we value connection and the navigation of changing tides. We spent time in beautiful coastal locations from Bella Bella to Campbell River, while we learned about fishing for prawns, halibut, and salmon, tagging wild coho, cleaning up the Campbell River estuary, making nets, and writing songs. We began to really appreciate wildlife and wild places, along with family legacies and Indigenous traditions.
I did not realize how immersed I would become in people’s lives. The series has become a gift for generations beyond to look back at how their ancestors worked on the water. All six episodes in the first season are available on Telus Optik TV and YouTube, and have also been featured on Shaw Spotlight in Campbell River.
The second season premiered at Campbell River’s first Ocean Week in June and will be released on Telus Optik TV in September. Filmed from October 2022 to May 2023, we had an expanded crew that included Dominic Bakota, a wonderful junior editor and camera operator from Quadra Island. Seven episodes explore intriguing characters. Follow members of the Campbell River Coast Guard, watch Frank Assu fish by hand with a gillnet, learn about freight delivery and sightseeing with Marine Link Tours, dive with sea lions with Abyssal Diving, and explore lighthouse keeping with Jim Abram.
Thank you to everyone riding the waves with me. Here’s to making many more films that help create a more hopeful and resilient world.