Sunday, 24 May 2015

St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!

2013_NL_F18_0402I first started seriously thinking about icebergs way back in 1983, when I worked at the Center for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering (C-CORE), researching iceberg scours. At the time, there were only exploratory drilling rigs offshore Newfoundland, and how icebergs were going to factor into regular oil production was a big question. It was then that I realized that the "tiny" bergs of my youth were actually massive structures, big enough to reach down through the depths of the ocean and dig trenches tens of metres deep.

The berg we were visiting, after we left the whale show, had almost certainly been calved on the western side of Greenland. It was also almost certainly made of ancient water, dating back some 10,000 years.

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As we got closer, I could see one end had cracked off. It would have been some time ago, as the ragged wound was softening due to the heat.

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It was quite a large iceberg. For reference, look for the seagull in the upper left corner, and remember that 7/8 of this iceberg is below the waterline.

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The berg was large enough to not be homogenous in its structure. Parts of it were like corrugated steel.

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Other parts were quite smooth.

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In one spot, we had all three surfaces: the jagged break, the smooth surfaces, and the corrugation.

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Depending on the air bubble content, the ice can be very white or very blue. The colour can also change depending on whether the sun is out or hiding behind a cloud, and on how close the ice is to the waterline.

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When taking a photograph of an iceberg, it is almost impossible to show how big it is. In this photo, there is nothing to give you a sense of scale.

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It's only when I include some birds, or another boat, that you can see how big it really was.

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There were a number of birds chilling on the berg, no doubt taking a break from their capelin feed-fest.

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After a couple of laps around the berg, it was time to head back to port. Slowly, the iceberg shrank from our view.

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May and June are the best months of the year to see icebergs along the north and east coast of the island. To help people find out where the bergs are, the provincial government has created a great resource in the Iceberg Map, which will not only tell you where icebergs have been sighted, but also has photographs of bergs and some great trip planning tools.


Here is a list of links to posts about my trip to St. Anthony:
St. Anthony: Grenfell House and Big Boats
St. Anthony: A Whale of a Tale!
St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!


Here is a list of links to all of the blog posts from my 2013 tour around Newfoundland:
Cuckolds Cove to Carbonear
Signal Hill
Boat Tour!
Bird Watching!
Whale Watching!
Fogo Part 1: Getting There
Fogo Part 2: Walking Around
Fogo Part 3: The Fishery
Fogo Part 4: The Fogo Island Inn
Twillingate Part 1: Getting There
Twillingate Part 2: Wine, Music, and Whine
Twillingate Part 3: An Iceberg and a Lighthouse
Twillingate Part 4: Down to the Sea in Boats
Trout River and Gros Morne National Park
St. Anthony: Grenfell House and Big Boats
St. Anthony: A Whale of a Tale!
St. Anthony: Ice, Ice, Baby!
Red Bay: A World Heritage Site
Mary's Harbour



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