A Maple Ridge man is taking part in one of the largest international maritime exercises involving countries from around the Pacific Rim.
Ordinary seaman Eric Maciuk, a 2010 grad from Samuel Robertson Technical, enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 2011 looking for great travelling experiences, leadership building, and life experience.
"After graduation there were plenty of great opportunities to gain life experience, but the Royal Canadian Navy offered everything I was looking for," Maciuk said.
In addition to being a naval communicator, Maciuk is also part of the team that launches targets for firing exercises, one of the many ways in which he contributes to the defence of the ship.
Maciuk is aboard Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Algonquin, one of several Canadian warships taking part in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world's largest international maritime exercise.
The crew will be joined in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands by 25,000 military personnel from 22 nations including Australia, the United States, Russia, Japan, and South Korea for six weeks of intensive naval training.
The exercise aims to foster and sustain the cooperative relationship critical to ensuring the security of the world's oceans.
Maciuk plans to stay in the navy as a career as it offers "courses and opportunities that I plan on taking advantage of to improve my overall experience as a sailor, and to better myself on a personal level," he said.
When Maciuk joined the navy, he had no sea experience and everything was new for him.
"I had no idea what to expect," he said.
Maciuk has been wanting to take part in the RIMPAC exercise ever since he heard about it.
"I thought it would be a great training opportunity to sail in consort with ships from around the world, all operating together," Maciuk said. As a naval communicator, he hopes on the trip to improve his circuitry skills and radio procedures.
"RIMPAC is a great opportunity to further those skills by adapting to other nations capabilities and equipment, and practising the skills I have learned," Maciuk said.
So far, Maciuk said travelling with the navy has been "nothing but good times and great memories."
"Every time I come home after a sail I always have a story to tell my friends back home," Maciuk said.