Michael Dicks was born in 1934 in a small community called Rushoon, which is settled in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. At the young age of 13 he fished on Oderin Island. From there he worked on a boat in Burin, Newfoundland alongside his uncle whom he called “Captain Dicks”.
But, it was in 1958 that he became a (Seaman) in the Canadian Arctic working on gasoline tankers. Mr. Dicks worked on the Chestatee, Pinnebog and Wacissa, all boats that supplied oil to the Canadian Arctic making deliveries to places such as Cambridge Bay and Sheppards Bay. Michael would leave Rushoon for work and be gone for 6 months at a time. While being away in the late 50s and 60s there wasn’t much communication to your loved ones left behind. Once a month they would get to make that phone call to home to let their loved ones know they were doing okay, and most times the call was late in the morning around 3am. His wife recalls those phone calls. “I wouldn’t be long jumping out of bed when the phone rang, because if I missed the call it would probably be another few weeks before he would get to call again”, she says.
He wasn’t the only man from Rushoon that worked in the Arctic. Gordon Miller, Ambrose Miller, Edward Barry, Jim Lake and John Dicks all worked on the tankers. Michael said every year they went away it would always be a different crew for that season. All have passed — Michael says, “I am the only one left out of us all now.”
On May 15, 1968 Michael Dicks was given a bronze token of appreciation for his service with the company “Northern Transportation Limited”. While telling me about this token, he spoke so proudly.
Mr. Dicks worked for 16 years in the Canadian Arctic with Northern Transportation Limited and his last year working in the Arctic was in 1974. He then came back to his hometown Rushoon to finish his work life as a fisherman around the bay.
At the age of 81, as he tells this story to me, he is sitting in his kitchen looking out the window at what he describes as a great view. When I asked him what he does in his spare time now he laughed and said “go to bingo”.
Credits: Michael Dicks