Adventures Outdoors: Camaraderie

By Gord Follett


The Canadian Oxford dictionary defines camaraderie as “mutual trust and sociability among friends,” though in the outdoors of Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s simply “a time with the b’ys.”

The people of this province love seeing friends getting along, exchanging friendly banter, laughing, having a drink together, singing songs, pulling pranks, frightening one another…

There’s no jealousy or animosity, we are just genuinely happy to see others enjoying life.

Believe me, I know. After 30-plus years of writing articles for the Newfoundland Sportsman magazine about our fishing and hunting trips throughout the province, 15 years of co-hosting a television show and a dozen years of posting photos and video clips on social media, I’ve learned beyond any doubt that displays of camaraderie give people a wonderful, warm feeling.

I guess it’s just one of many beautiful things that make the people of this province a bit different than others. And I’m both proud and fortunate to have had great times with friends all over Newfoundland and Labrador, from Randy Edmunds in Makkovik, Northern Labrador, to Cliff Doran in Trepassey, Southern Newfoundland and a hundred stops in between.

Some of the best times of my life have been salmon fishing excursions on the Torrent River, rabbit hunting trips in Northwest Gander and relaxing overnighters at Salmonier Line with some of the best friends anyone could be blessed with.

There’s never been serious “competition” among us. If one member of our party doesn’t have much luck on a salmon river, for example, you can bet your bottom dollar the others will do whatever they can to make sure he hooks up.

For one reason or another, it had been more than two years since Tony Vinnicombe, Sean Kearsey, John Dyke and I had gotten together, and to be honest, I was missing those ‘times.’ Then on the afternoon of January 30 of this year, I was pleasantly surprised to notice activity from J.D. on our old text group chat.

“You guys interested in going up to the cabin (off Salmonier Line) Saturday for the night?” asks Johnny.

He didn’t have to wait long for our replies.

“Love to!! I’m in,” says Sean. “Sounds good to me bud,” I add, while Tony responds with an enthusiastic “Heck yeah!”

With all hands on deck, Johnny continues: “I got a drill ice auger at the cabin. Also, bring your poker coins. Should be fun. Oh yes, I will bring the Boombox (so we can listen to our favourite road trip tune)

‘All Summer Long.’”

Offering to take his truck, Sean jokes, “I can’t friggin’ wait to see your withered, dried-up old faces and take your money. It’s long overdue that we get together.”

Long story short, we didn’t catch many fish. The heavy canvas tarp which formed the top half of our ice fishing shack caught fire because it was too close to the small wood stove we had going. But boy, did we have a fabulous 24 hours! Not only were there no injuries in the small fire on the pond, but the boys had a great laugh about it and were making up their own ‘news’ reports about firefighters ‘knocking it down’ pretty fast.

“It’ll be on NTV tonight, fellas,” Johnny said with a chuckle. “Investigators were on site and I gave my statement. No insurance carried on the property; might be a GoFundMe.”

After telling the boys early Saturday afternoon that I was considering writing my next Downhome column about special friendships – particularly those stemming from the great outdoors – I mentioned how much the people of this province enjoyed seeing their fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians “getting along.”

Sean happened to post a picture of the four of us on Facebook and briefly mentioned how good it was to get together again. Within seconds, our phones began to “light up,” as one of the boys referred to it, with thumbs-up likes and comments throughout the day and night. Virtually everyone was along the lines of, “This is so great to see, fellas,” and “Nice to see you guys enjoying yourselves,” or “You fellas always know how to have fun; enjoy and keep the pics coming.”

Often, without even realizing it, outdoor buddies regularly demonstrate the true meaning of friendship. It’s not only our small troop, of course. We are no different than thousands of other buddy groups – male and female – across the province.

I’ve witnessed numerous examples of camaraderie among other fishing and hunting parties over the years and it does the ol’ ticker good.

We’ve also met up and run into countless fellow outdoorsmen and women in our travels and we always seem to “hit it off.” Again, that’s just how people from this province are: friendly, helpful and of course, wonderful storytellers.

I read this somewhere recently and it seems fitting: “Good friends are among the rare jewels of life – difficult to find and impossible to replace.”


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Downhome Magazine

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