‘How ya gettin’ on?’

That is just one of the many Newfie sayings the cadets from the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Fort Frances learned during their amazing Inter-provincial Cadet Exchange to Newfoundland on Nov. 3-7.
The Fort Frances cadets were hosted by the officers and cadets of RCSCC Baccalieu, from the small fishing village of Old Perlican on the Avalon Peninsula.
The local cadets had three full days with their Baccalieu counterparts, visiting historical and tourist sites. As well, they had plenty of opportunity to experience firsthand the “saltwater” joys and unique culture of the warm and friendly Newfoundland people.
The informative and entertaining tour guide, Lt. Cdr Cliff Morgan, had joked “a typical Newfoundlander has the instincts of a goat.”
The corps realized there was some truth in his teasing after they spent Friday hiking to and around the trails at Cape Spear (the most eastern point of land in North America) and the historically significant Signal Hill.
“The view is breathtaking,” said PO1 Shane Ikert.
“I feel so small,” said QPO1 Kyle Jewett as the two stood mesmerized watching the massive waves of the North Atlantic roll and crash onto the rocky shore below.
After lunch at CFS St. John, the cadets visited the Johnson Geo Centre, where they learned about the geological make-up of the region. AC Kyle Caul, who has a keen interest in geology, said he felt “like a kid in a candy store” at the centre.
Prior to heading to the town of Carbonear, where the local cadets stayed for two nights, they had a chance to visit the shops and sites along Water Street in St. John’s, including the spot in St. John’s harbour where Terry Fox began his “Marathon of Hope.”
The cadets spent Saturday visiting the neighbouring communities in and around Old Perlican.
In Grates Cove, a site where explorer John Cabot is alleged to have landed, the corps took a scenic hike up, down, and all around before visiting a life-size replica of a “stage”—a building fishermen used to process the fish they would catch.
For lunch, they enjoyed a typical meal of Fish ’n Brewis served by the local heritage association.
In the town of Bay de Verde, we visited the Bay de Verde Heritage Home, where we learned more about the early fisherman’s way of life. Afterwards, we headed to the Bay of Verde Fire Hall for more Newfoundland cuisine.
The cadets sampled a variety of local seafood, such as shrimp, cod, snowcrab, and squid, as well as delicious homemade desserts, before spending the evening at a teen dance at the Baccalieu Collegiate—the area high school.
Saturday also was referred to as Guy Fawkes Night (Guy Fawkes is an Englishman who tried to blow up the British Parliament in the early 1600s). Still today, Nov. 5 is marked in Newfoundland with the building and burning of huge bonfires to remember how his plan was thwarted.
Nearing midnight, on the way home after the dance, the cadets stopped for a short visit at one of the many fires burning that night.
The corps may have arrived as curious tourists, but by Sunday they were made “Honorary Newfies” after attending a “kitchen party” in the town of Red Head Cove.
The “kitchen party” was hosted by the residents there, who entertained the group with traditional songs and rousing music.
Between foot-stomping, hand-clapping, and dancing to jigs and reels, the cadets were “Screeched In.”
This comical ceremony required each member of the corps to demonstrate their linguistic proficiency with “Newfinese” by reciting a Newfie saying, then to kiss a cod, and down a shooter of “Newfie elixir” (traditionally Newfoundland Screech but, in this case, sweet juice).
Commenting on the dance moves demonstrated by the cadets (most notably PO2 Hannah Firth and AC Zachary Sopotiuck), the Newfie hosts said they’d seen moves they “didn’t knows was possible with a jig!”
After the “kitchen party,” the cadets moved on to Old Perlican, where the local Lions Club had prepared a “Jiggs Dinner,” which is a traditional boiled dinner of salt beef, potatoes, turnips, carrots, and cabbage, accompanied by roast beef, pease pudding, and all the fixin’s.
After an afternoon of sports activities in the Baccalieu Collegiate gymnasium, the Fort Frances cadets were paired off with Baccalieu ones for the purpose of visiting the hosts in their homes—and once again enjoying some down home Newfie hospitality.
The visiting part of the Inter-provincial Cadet Exchange officially wrapped up on Sunday night with a formal ceremony, where the two cadet corps paraded together, marching to the beat of the Baccalieu band.
Gifts and good-byes were exchanged, then the Fort Frances corps headed out for St. John’s and an early-morning flight back home.
The exchange was considered a success by all who attended. They learned a lot, had fun, and made friends and memories that will last forever.
“Long may your big jib draw!”