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In “Exploring Canada’s Wilderness,” columnist Michael MacDonald offers Public Service Announcements on region-specific survival skills. The following is satire, and should not be taken too seriously.


A world of adventure awaits. Robert Ciavarro

A world of adventure awaits.
Robert Ciavarro


In a down economy like this one, few people have the luxury of picking and choosing a job, or even an unpaid internship. So if you’re offered the chance to work as a ‘rent boy’ on a Newfoundland fishing trawler, plying the icy North Atlantic for cod, your first inclination is probably to jump at the chance. But there are some aspects to mopping the decks of a crew of hardened Newfie seamen that you need to consider first.

Take Newfoundland (and its bastard cousin, Labrador) itself: although you’ll be spending most of your time doing it aft-backwards with men who haven’t washed for weeks and are most likely hopped up on Newfie Screech, at some point you’ll have to have to come back down and return to everyday life. Do you really want to be living in St. John’s, or worse, Gander?

And although it may seem glamorous at first being the only man on board in an evening gown and pumps, keeping your mascara free from the ravages of the sea and making sure you always have fresh unmentionables in case the Captain pays you an unexpected visit, can become a real chore.

But there are upsides to cleaning off the dinghies of a group of guys who’ve been gutting fish all day: a lot of Newfie rent boys will tell you that some of the most meaningful and lasting friendships they’ve made are because of seamen: the guys who’ve buggered them senseless. The men working on the trawlers are a tight-knit bunch: you’ll always find a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on—and even someone who will just listen to you.

So weigh the pros and cons carefully and remember: if you do decide to take the job, just have fun with it!