Chantry Island attracts visitors world wide

Chantry Island had a special visitor this past week when James Southard of the University of Kentucky stopped by and was taken on a tour of the Island and its Imperial Lighthouse.

                                                        (all photos by Sandy Lindsay)

                                   Heading out to Chantry IslandWith a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA), Southard is a Professor of photography and visual arts at the University of Louisville, Kentucky School of Art and Carnegie Mellon University.

Southard is making a complete tour of the Great Lakes over the summer and Lake Huron was number three on his list.  “Chantry Island was definitely on my list of places to see,” said Southard.

Mike Sterling (R) shows James Southard a map of the many shipwrecks surrounding Chantry Island

The tour was captained by Rick Smith with crew Rob Campbell and guide Mike Sterling.

Sterling explained that the Chantry Island restoration over several years had been completed entirely by volunteers with no government funding.  “We started as a group of seniors and formed what we called the Propeller Club.  It was very informal.  When we began the Keeper’s Quarters the entire building had fallen in on itself since no-one had used it for years after the light in the lighthouse was automated.  Today, the Island is completely maintained by volunteers of the Marine Heritage Society in addition to operating the tours.  The funds raised go back into the Island’s maintenance.”

“I can hardly believe it,” said Southard.  “To complete a project of this size with no state funding in my country (USA) would be unheard of.  It’s quite incredible.”

From the top of the lighthouse to the Keeper’s Quarters, Southard was given the complete tour, that included the well that is being restored.

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(L) James Southard, Crew Rob Campbell and Guide Mike Sterling … Cpt. Rick Smith is aboard the Peerless as they prepare to leave the Island

                                                                          Leaving Chantry Island

Back at the Southampton Harbour dock – (L) Rob Campbell, Jame Southard, Cpt. Rick Smith and Mike Sterling

From Southampton, Southard was on his way to Toronto and Lake Ontario and then on to the last leg of his journey, Lake Erie.