Photo of the week: the giants of iceberg alley

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Icebergs are one of the true wonders of the natural world. Spawned by giant glaciers, travelling for years across the northern and southern oceans, they’re huge works of art, carved by time and the elements. And if you’re in North America, one of the best places to see them is iceberg alley, off the north coast of Newfoundland.

On my recent trip up Newfoundland’s northern peninsula, I wound up in St. Anthony, a prime viewing spot on the alley. And the first night there, having dinner at a restaurant beside the town lighthouse, I could look out and see these white floating castles in the distance. In fact, a small one had found its way right into the little bay beside the restaurant, a perfect photo op.

But the next day, steaming out of the harbour on a whale watching expedition, I saw the masterpiece — the iceberg you see at the top of this post. Like most icebergs, it was a shape shifter, with a different look from every different angle. And it wasn’t until we cruised past and viewed it from the ocean side that it spread its wings and took on the elegant shape you see here.

The bergs on iceberg alley come from the Greenland ice fields. And while these behemoths move slowly, we were lucky to get a good look at it: by the time they reach iceberg alley, their days are usually numbered. According to our captain, the iceberg in this photo would likely not survive more than three or four weeks; pieces would begin to break off, making it smaller and smaller until it finally melted.

So the next time you see an iceberg, treasure the moment; you never know where it’s bound, or whether it will survive long enough to get there. However, you can take a photo to remember the experience. Or, if you’re an enterprising Newfoundlander, you can cruise out and harvest the ancient water in order to make Iceberg Beer. Even though I had my iceberg photo, I decided I should try the beer too. And just to prove it, I took a photo of that too.

iceberg beer

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About Author

Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.

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