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Sunday, April 08, 2012

“Icebergs Of Newfoundland and Labrador"

Oh they’re back all right, sneaking in it seems one at a time. Hard to say really if one is one or if one is two. These things may appear to be separate entities from above but more times than not they are connected underwater and when you come back the next day one may indeed be two.

These little delectables are in St. John’s Bay just outside Quidi Vidi Gut, about a km or so from there actually. They are always in motion and you never quite know where they will be the next time you look for them. That distant headland is Cape Spear in the distance. Sure would be nice to paddle upon these guys.

Low and behold,  a paddler. The guys got it together to go paddling yesterday morning to catch up to these monoliths and pay them a visit. There were seven paddlers and of course I had to be on call so I decided to shoot the guys from land, it was tough….watching and not playin’. 

Tony here is rounding this one, it is the bigger vertically than the others and perhaps they were once all connected, six degrees of separation maybe. The weather was fine the winds were low so you should be on the water. I plan to go sometime this week in the evening if we can get some decent weather. The guys mulled around for a fair bit then some went on to paddle farther up the coast and others beat it back to landlubber stuff.

Me, I just hooked with another photog we talked and then hiked back to our cars planning another visit before they are destroyed by melt and the elements.

If I were a wave I would love to crash into those things. Just splatter myself all over it and taste that thousands of  years old perspiration leaching from their sides and get totally inebriated on the imprisoned air released, finally, from the heat of our time. Perhaps the air the last of the Dinosaurs breathed maybe a Dinosaur fart for all I would know, but whatever it would be, probably a heck of a lot more cleaner than what we have today.

They are a good size and dangerous of course and like everything we hear said every year there is an associated risk. The rest is up to you.

How close you want to get has to be a judgement call if you plan to kayak near them. If you never have you may never understand the allure to do so, but if you have, you will go back every time!

The last ice age occurred during the last years of the Pleistocene some 110,000 to 10,000 years ago. The maximum extent was reached about 18,000 years ago. So some of this ice has been around for quite some time. Icebergs are made entirely of fresh water and Greenland icebergs are thought to be about 15,000 years old which is probably where the ones we see now are coming from.

They say that typically about 1/5 to 1/7th of the iceberg is seen above water so even though these wildly shaped and frozen beasts are entrancing to gaze upon they are probably even more so beneath the surface.

If they are going to be photographed you might as well have a kayaker out there catching the moment, playing it safe or at least as safe as they have chosen.

And make no mistake, they are as dangerous to small craft as they were and are to big. I guess as we draw near to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic that went down at 2:20 am on April 15th during her maiden voyage, we are ever more able to make ourselves acutely aware of the significance of such a tragedy. Who would have thought as she left Southampton England on April 10 th that she would be at rest 5 days later after she set out ,not more than 375 miles off the coast of Newfoundland some 46,328 tons of steel on that cold, cold bottom of the Atlantic.

Belfast has just recently opened a new museum in the shape of part of the hull of the Titanic and hope to educate the world on the significance of, and pride that went into her building. I watch an interesting documentary on the shipyard that built her and the museum is at this very location.

Paddle Hard, Paddle Safe!

Glad you guys all made it out to enjoy the bergs and perhaps I will see some of you one evening this week. 


Tobias Längle said...

Absolutely fantastic shot of Gerard coming through the iceberg. A grainy video of the action from the water perspective is here on youtube:

BaffinPaddler said...

Awesome pics and incredible shot of the kayaker punching through the iceberg. I couldn't believe it when I first saw it. But you did a great job of balancing the story on the history and dangers of icebergs. A great Easter weekend read. Thanks!

Maurizio Cristaldi said...

something spectacular ...... congratulations!

With the kayak you change the point of view and you can appreciate more the beauty!

Brian Newhook said...

Outstanding photos Stan. Amazing!

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Thanks all for the comments.