July 7, 2011

Cold, Wet Iceberg Hunt In St. Anthony

Newfoundland is huge. It’s rugged. It’s cold, it’s windy and always wet. We’ve said it before, but it needs to be re-mentioned, here and surely again in the future. A local fisherman told us this has been the worst June on record since 1981. Only two days has the sun shown its smiling face in all of June, and since then, I’ve only seen the sun once or twice more. Thank goodness we have the wind generator – because the solar panels have been just decoration so far!

Did I mention it’s been wet ALL the time? Dish towels are like sponges; clothes go on heavy and damp; foulweather gear is always cold and clammy. The cabin sole is permanently wet from condensation. With water temperatures in the 30’s, the condensation inside the hull has been a real issue. But on the plus side, if we ever run out of water, we can just lick the cabin sole.

We rounded the northern tip of Newfoundland and spent some time in St. Anthony, the big town of the great northern peninsula. In town, the hot topic at the coffee shop was the massive iceberg flowing south. It’s part of the Peterman Glacier that has broken off. One piece is reported to be 3km wide! Pretty exciting stuff. We spoke to Capt. Paul aboard Gaffer III of Northland Discovery Tours, he told us this has been a poor season for icebergs, but this massive ‘berg coming down would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We decided to wait for the big one. And wait. Still waiting. Maybe it grounded out somewhere? Being that 90% of an icebergs mass is underwater, a 3 km wide berg could potentially be extremely deep, and therefore touch bottom and get stuck very easily.

While waiting, we took a hike up the Santana Trail at Fishing Point. This is a climb of 476 narrow and sometimes precarious stairs up a steep little mountain that overlooks the ocean and harbor. We flew our kite, and enjoyed the view…in the clouds of course.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Curtis
    Jul 20 2011

    Can you not get a fix on the ice berg and then sail towards it? It could take weeks for it to come down that far.
    Also you dont need to sail there . If it is not too far away you can charter a fast speed boat and get to the ice berg that way. Even a helicopter or float plane. What if it melts by the time it gets to you? lol Globle Warming remember or is it Climate Change now?

  2. Oct 23 2011

    Great to read your report and see your photos. I’m still here on my own sailboat “Kuan Yin” in St. Anthony awaiting a new transmission )hopefully it will arrive and can be fitted before the harbour freezes over.

    Yes, the icebergs were truly amzing – even local people have been saying they’ve never seen anything like it. I remember going out one day in August and seeing – literally – 200 or 300 icebergs.

    Of course, the beautiful sight is from the breakup of the Ptermann glacier – and that does not bode well for any of us.

    Fair winds – with or without Daphne.



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