July 23rd – Moving Into the Sunlight

Beautifully sculpted by the sea, this berg likely began its journey when it broke off a glacier in Greenland.

Beautifully sculpted by the sea, this berg likely began its journey when it broke off a glacier in Greenland.


I was going to say that the dust has settled but I guess it would be more appropriate to say that the salt spray has settled and the ship, which arrived in St. Anthony in far northern Newfoundland yesterday at noon, is riding peacefully at the quay.
Bright "blips" show icebergs - both individual bergs and rows of them. Our ship is at the centre and the line running from the centre to the SE is our course....between 3 bergs (radius is 6 miles).

Bright “blips” show icebergs – both individual bergs and rows of them. Our ship is at the centre and the line running from the centre to the SE is our course….between 3 bergs (radius is 6 miles).


I’ve had an eventful couple of days but the 21st was truly memorable. It started off in fog, fog that reduced visibility to only 100 meters. It was like watching for birds in a fluffy narrow tunnel…and I saw very few. But there was more to it than that – we were in the midst of a large collection of icebergs, huge masses of ice that we couldn’t see and, given the lack of manoeuverability of a big ship, would have trouble avoiding in the space of 100 meters. Thank goodness for radar!! We could pinpoint their whereabouts and set a course accordingly. But it was still an eerie thing to see them loom” out of the fog – so beautiful….but so dangerous.
A "growler", riding low in the water below the recognisance of the radar, can be quite a danger to a boat.

A “growler”, riding low in the water below the recognisance of the radar, can be quite a danger to a boat.

The thing that radar doesn’t show you is the smaller pieces of ice: “bergy-bits” and “growlers”. Both are the remnants of much larger bergs as they’ve disintegrated through the workings of wind and, especially, water. Bergy-bits are larger and may show up on radar but growlers are smaller and tend to sit lower in the water and get lost in the “clutter” showing on radar (the reflection off waves in the vicinity of the boat). We would notice hitting one of these smaller pieces but would not likely be damaged but the smaller 65-foot fishing boats might have a real problem if they collided with one.

A "bergy-bit", quickly breaking down into "growlers" - this piece of ice, once a mighty iceberg, is large enough and sitting high enough to be picked up on the radar.....hopefully..

A “bergy-bit”, quickly breaking down into “growlers” – this piece of ice, once a mighty iceberg, is large enough and sitting high enough to be picked up on the radar…..hopefully..


Sometimes you “ease” into or out of the fog and sometimes it’s a sudden transition – like leaving a dark room and entering a bright one. And so it was on this day. One moment I was peering through thick fog and the next I was staring at miles of blue seas and skies dotted with glistening white icebergs. Amazing! And birds were all around, and whales, and the rugged beauty of the Labrador coast. You could feel spirits throughout the ship lift. For the rest of the day we were all simply enjoying the beauty around us.
Moonrise over the Labrador Sea.

Moonrise over the Labrador Sea.


The falling sun plays on a distant shower.

The falling sun plays on a distant shower.


And as the night came on we were treated to a gorgeous sunset astern and, out front, a rainbow competing with the full moon for the sky.
The sun brushes the clouds with colour just before sinking.

The sun brushes the clouds with colour just before sinking.


Foggy shots:
Look carefully and you'll see 4 bergs......the job of the lookout to find.

Look carefully and you’ll see 4 bergs……the job of the lookout to find.


Cracks and fissures indicate that this berg is well on the way to breaking up.

Cracks and fissures indicate that this berg is well on the way to breaking up.


Ice sculpturres looming out of the fog.

Ice sculpturres looming out of the fog.

Sunny shots:

In sunlight even distant bergs are easily seen.

In sunlight even distant bergs are easily seen.

Black-legged Kittiwakes hitching a ride.

Black-legged Kittiwakes hitching a ride.


The smooth lines show the sculpting power of the sea.

The smooth lines show the sculpting power of the sea.


You can never tire of looking at these things.....and think of Iceberg Beer made by the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company from water gleaned from these very bergs.

You can never tire of looking at these things…..and think of Iceberg Beer made by the Quidi Vidi Brewing Company from water gleaned from these very bergs.


"Grounded" icebergs were a common sight along the rugged Labrador coast.

“Grounded” icebergs were a common sight along the rugged Labrador coast.


Sunset signalling the end of a marvellous day.

Sunset signalling the end of a marvellous day.

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