Iceberg Alley

On this, the last day of Iceberg Week, and the last nice day I can find in the foreseeable forecast, enjoy a couple more photos of the big beauties. 20160616-img_0472

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The iceberg above was my favorite of all. Very blue and smooth due to the unrelenting antagonizing by the Atlantic Ocean.

If you're looking for more beautiful photographs of Newfoundland icebergs, look no further. I have links for you!

A good friend of mine, and fellow biologist, takes exquisite photos of Newfoundland. Please drop by Chelsey's website and have a look. I promise, you won't regret it! http://www.chelseylawrence.com/

Also, if you want an iceberg tracker for the behemoths paying rent in Iceberg Alley (a large stretch of coast along the province of Newfoundland and Labrador), please check this out. http://www.icebergfinder.com/ is an incredible resource for locating and keeping tabs on icebergs detected by both humans and satellites. Have a look now to see how it works and then be ready to track icebergs in real-time during the next peak season (April-August).

I hope you enjoyed seeing icebergs and learning a little something about why we care for big random pieces of ice this week. There will be a couple more iceberg cameos in the weeks to come because I'm not even close to finished showing you Newfoundland.

For now, we'll head back to the world of birds where I have dozens of feathered dinosaurs waiting for the limelight.

Beware of a foundering iceberg

Like a stick of dynamite going off. Or a gunshot. That's how I've heard folks describe the sound of a cracking iceberg. 20160615-img_0426

Most of the time, the bulk of an iceberg will founder relatively quickly. Pieces break off here and there but the actual foundering part, when the iceberg has run its course, happens in succession.

To see it happen is a right-place-right-time type of situation. But it can easily be a wrong-place-wrong-time situation. It is advisable never to go too close to an iceberg because if it was to founder in range of a little human--I don't think I need to tell you how much of the iceberg is underwater--the physical consequences (sheer size of the 'berg + undertow) could be catastrophic.

So we get as close to them as we [safely] can, take our million photographs, taste the little pieces ("bergy bits") and then respect them as they die a magnificent and dramatic death.

I call this iceberg "The Ferrari"

Just when you think an iceberg is white, it plays the same trick on you as the clouds. Instead, you'll find samples from every fraction of space taken up on the color wheel by cool hues. 20160616-img_0470

Can we leave blue icebergs posing as white icebergs alone, each one a poetic vessel slowly running itself aground? No. Let's science the hell out of it.

Icebergs are pieces of glaciers, really old glaciers. They are virtually impurity-free and have very little internal air. Because of this, there are also minimal reflective surfaces inside. When a long-wavelength light hits the iceberg--red light for example--it is absorbed rather than reflected. The light that is refracted is blue (or somewhere between blue and green).

So once again, our eyes are the most limiting factor to our beautiful world. Even when we see something, really see it, we're still only able to play ball in the visible light spectrum. I don't know about you but I'm overwhelmed by just one spectrum. Imagine the world that birds see!

Iceberg, right ahead!

The movie got it wrong. British people say "right ahead". Americans say "dead ahead". Just a quick bit of Titanic trivia. Which I'm obsessed with, by the way. Did you know that it was a Newfoundland-bound iceberg that sunk the Titanic? And that the great ship foundered only 400 miles south of Newfoundland? 20160615-img_0428

According to reports, the iceberg that sunk the Titanic would've been about double the size of the iceberg pictured above. Say like, 400 feet long and 100 feet high. At the largest. It's hard to say really because the Titanic struck the iceberg in the total darkness of a moonless night.

Icebergs break up slowly as they reach shallower water. Most of the icebergs seen around Newfoundland coasts will have been much larger at the time that they originally broke free.

This iceberg was a June resident of the waters just off Twillingate, NL--roughly 280 miles (444 km) from the capital city, St. John's, where I live.

Come back tomorrow for another glorious 'berg. And don't forget to click on the pictures each day to enlarge them and have a better look!

Welcome to Iceberg Week

For the next week I will be making short posts every day featuring a different Newfoundland iceberg from this summer. I thought a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak, would be to start in one of the most prolific Newfoundland iceberg towns, Twillingate. First, have a look at Twillingate. This little town is pretty easy on the eyes.

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Twillingate was first discovered by French fisherman in the 1600's. They landed on its shores to cut wood and stock up on fresh water. Though its name would later be misinterpreted by English settlers as "Twillingate", the Frenchmen originally named it "Toulinquet".

Archaeological exploration in the area has turned up primitive tools and weapons--evidence that the indigenous Newfoundland first people, the now-extinct Beothuks, once called Twillingate home.

Though the days of being a merchant hotspot are over, Twillingate remains a popular destination for tourism. Mostly because of its quaint fishing village look and ICEBERGS!

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Come back tomorrow for Monday's iceberg!