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Monday, February 25, 2008

"Iceberg Alley"

Berg watchers come in many forms. The Iceberg season has begun according to the International Ice Patrol and US Coast Gaurd , which monitors and continues its annual hunt for ocean going glaciers, through Iceberg Alley off Newfoundland. This all started 95 years ago with the sinking of the Titanic in April of 1912, about 500 miles south of St. John's. Navy ships originally started the patrolling and then it was switched to air reconnaisance in 1946. More than 15 countries contribute to the cost of this endeavour including Canada, US, UK, and France. Over 500,000 square miles of the North Atlantic are patrolled , looking for icebergs in shipping lanes that may pose a threat to navigation.

In 1993, 1700 icebergs were tracked. The Patrols Mission is to track and chart icebergs drifting between the northern lattitude of48 degrees and 40 degrees. On average, the ice patrol expects 250 icebergs to cross the 48th, parrallel each season.

In both 2003 and 2004, the patrol tracked an average of 900 icebergs. The following two years, a combined total of just 11 icebergs were spotted south of the 48th parrallel.

Icebergs can take two to three years to drift south, once they calve off the West Greenland ice sheet. From Baffin Bay gradually heading south in the Labrador Current. From here to the Grand Banks or grounding in shallow waters off Newfoundland, and when they do, photgraphers will be ready, and there will likely be more shutters shuttering than at any other time of the year.

Please note that these are personal views and that my desires to paddle near or around icebergs is of my own undertaking , accepting the responsibilities and associated risks, I do not however recommend this for novice paddlers or for any paddler not versed in kayaking or boating safety, which may not be of any help if thousands of tons of ice should land on you during an iceberg calving or rolling. I would also like to stipulate that though I am a member of kayak NFLD Club and on its board this blog is in no way associated with Kayak Newfoundland Kayaking Club and is for my own enjoyment and for those who wish to visit my site. I take kayak safety seriously and on every kayaking journey evaluate the risks I am willing to take.

Bottom photo and data NL Telegram. The Photo at the top I took of Coukold's Cove, NL. Last Year.

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