While sailing near the coast of Brittany, Victorien Erussard, Jérôme Delafosse and Energy Observer crew shared the daily life of the only four inhabitants of Quéménès for three days, a small island of 26 hectares. David Cuisnier, Soizic Cuisnier and their children have been living here cut off from the mainland, drawing solely on the resources of the land and sea.
A sustainable development laboratory
9 kilometers off the coast of Conquet, the island of Quéménès was acquired in 2003 by the Coastal Conservatory in order to preserve its natural resources and cultural heritage. Surrounded by many public and private partners, the Conservatory decided to develop a sustainable development laboratory by providing for the restoration of buildings, installation of an energy production system from renewable sources, responsible water management, repair of the docks, and the guarantee of ecosystems maintenance.
In 2006, following a call for applications, Soizic and David were selected to live in the island, farm and cultivate potatoes, while maintaining the site.
10 years later, the family still lives in the island and describes their daily life on their blog : “ One island, four humans, six geese, a pig, ten chickens, fifty sheep… And thousands of (delicious) potatoes! ”
A self-sufficient farm
Equipped with solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, David, Soizic and their two children live completely energy self-sufficient lives, cut off from the traditional power grid. In 2015, the panels were replaced with newer models. “ It is life-changing ! We are producing almost too much energy now… ” says Soizic Cuisnier. Thanks to a hybrid photovoltaic and wind solution, the family produces their own electricity, and also uses a solar thermal system for the production of domestic hot water.
Without access to the continental water management system, the island had to develop its own water treatment system, rainwater harvesting, sanitation and wastewater management.
Fresh water comes from a well, already used by the island's previous occupants, and rainwater collected from cisterns, including one built in 1926. It is all filtered with a special device: three paper filters, each finer than the last, then an activated carbon filter, and lastly, a UV lamp… The resulting water output is drinkable.
Live life in rhythm with nature
Whether to provide its food or energy, the Soizic family has thus learned to function in rhythm with nature:
We are obliged to adapt our way of life to the weather. When foggy for example, when there is neither wind nor daylight, it is not possible to use the washing machine or do the ironing.
The family grows what it needs to feed itself in the vegetable garden and what it gets from animals. A way of life quite close to that of the crew.
“Our energy systems closely resemble one another as they are both based on mixed production from wind turbines and photoelectric cells.” they explain on their blog. Their surplus energy is lost, but the idea of hydrogen is gaining ground.
At the end of 2017, David and Soizic finished their 10-year adventure on the island, leaving it for new adventurers who were chosen in November but whose identities have not yet been announced… When it is their turn, they will take over the cultivation and maintenance of the island, completely independent.
Watch the meeting with David and Soizic in the documentary series The Odyssey for the Future in Spring 2018.