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Lassoing the first iceberg of the season

by Blogger Tony

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Lassoing the first iceberg of the season


This past week we have had constant northerly winds.  They are cold but have now born fruit.  The wind has blown a good number of icebergs close to the coast.

Iceberg Finder reported two icebergs in the bottom of Conception Bay.  Today Brian, Clyde, Dean, Hazen, Neville and I went in search of our first icebergs for the year.  We drove to Lance Cove Pond and put in on the sweeping cobble beach.

Iceberg Finder reported a berg between Lance Cove Pond and Indian Pond.  We were disappointed to find the berg had disappeared or was just a hoax.  We paddled on southerly in search of the second berg.

Joy and elation as we neared Lance Cove Head and saw our target in the distance.  We decided to cross first to ...

Harbour Main where we showed a considerable amount of restraint to stop first for ...

... a short stretch and lunch break.  There would be no opportunities to get out of our kayaks for the rest of the day.

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The plan at the outset was to paddle up to ...

... Salmon Cove Point before crossing over to get a closer look at the interesting looking iceberg.

At Salmon Cove Point the swell that was really negligible on open water reared its destructive side.  It wasn't anything to treat without respect but Dean and I couldn't resist having a go at passing through the slot.  Timing was everything.  No time to lolly-gag once committed.  Things looked good, I went.  On the other side the swell reared up but I got over it and surfed right on through to the other side (Thanks The Doors!).

From Salmon Cove point we set our sights on the berg which was 2.6 kms away, a mere blip on the horizon.

We paddled and with each paddle stroke we got closer and ...

... and closer and bigger until ...

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... we arrived under its towering pinnacle.  Icebergs are in themselves awesome because they travel so far to reach us.  Even blocky bergs are a gift but when something like this comes along it is just WOW!  Nature can be an amazing sculptor.

We circled the berg marveling at the different features taking our time to savour the moment.


We bobbed about and stared for about 30 minutes before we beaded back across the bay to return to the cars.  I have oodles of other shots that I will post later but I must get on with the trip.  Every put-in hopefully ends with a safe take-out.

So we made our way back to the Lance Cove Pond side basking in the afterglow of our first berg for the season.

We hit the shore a short 1.7 kms away (it looked further) at Indian Pond and paddled the non-descript shoreline back to Lance Cove Pond.  Non-descript but ironic in a way.  The shore along here is composed of glacial till deposited here some 12,000 years ago by melting glaciers.  Not the same glacier that gave us today's iceberg but a glacier nonetheless.

While I bobbed around the iceberg I picked up a bergy bit and stashed it in my cockpit.  Its in my freezer now waiting to be pounded into ice cubes far a swally.


Casing the iceberg


We arrived at the berg from the west side.

And paddled around it clockwise.  It was only one iceberg but I made sure I shot lots of pictures.  This one on the north side with the pinnacle towering over the rest of the ice.

Icebergs can be unstable and flip over or break apart unannounced.  On the east side Dean and Brian discuss the potential for the pinnacle to collapse leftwards along the diagonal lines of refrozen water.  I don't know how many times we said we'd like to be there, at a safe distance, when the pinnacle did collapse.

Neville and I checking out the south side.

Back around on the west side, it featured a small alcove.  Darker blue lines highlight fractures in the glacier where melt water refroze.  The berg itself is white because of the air bubbles in the ice whereas the refrozen water doesn't contain the same amount of air so it froze darker unable to scatter the light the same way.

Here's the track of our paddle.  The circle is where the berg was located, 2.6 kms from the left (west) side and 1.7 from the right (east) side.

We live next door to iceberg alley but aren't always graced with icebergs that drift close to shore.  There were none last year so when they do present themselves we got to get out there.