Seafarer Story: Calvin Chaulk

Calvin Chaulk grew up on the shores of Burnt Islands, Newfoundland with the stories of his father and grandfathers’ sailing trips. In 2006, Calvin Chaulk walked onto a ship for the first time as a sailor, ready to start an adventure and his career.


Over the twelve seasons working on water, Calvin has worked multiple jobs. He started off as porter and then moved on to steering the ships as an AB. After eight years, he decided to become a Seaman again, coming back to work on the deck of the ships.


“The hardest part of the job is being away from home but we get paid well, and the crew on board is like family.” After several years on board, Calvin is used to being away from home. He says, “I spend more time with the crew than I do with my family,” and while that creates an unbreakable bond, he still misses his family. “The time off helps. I’m off for one-month at a time.” This provides for quality time for him to spend with his daughter and his wife, and to do the things he enjoys, like fishing.


Even though sailors are often away from their communities, they keep up-to-date with events taking place on shore. This is how Calvin and his crew heard about the Humboldt Broncos’ devastating bus crash on April 6, 2018.


“Here on the ship, we have a few people that are big hockey fans. So, it was kind of sad when we heard on Facebook the news of what happened to those young kids.”


The crew decided to honour the memories of the young people who were lost that day, as the rest of Canada was doing, by finding some wood on board, cutting it to look like hockey sticks, and putting them up on the ship. As the ship cruised by, people on shore recognized their gesture.


“It was pretty cool, and going through the Welland canal, people would point it out and say it was a nice thing to do. And a couple of times it came over the radio from others around that it was a nice gesture. It was pretty cool.”


Being a sailor can be difficult, but it is a rewarding career that offers lifelong friendships, stable pay and new experiences every day.

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