Sunday, June 8, 2014

What? More icebergs?

News reports from the Bonavista area indicated there were record numbers of icebergs in the area.  I suggested a run up there to check them out on Saturday and an overnight campout before returning home Sunday.  There was no uptake so I hit the road by myself.

Three hours driving later I arrived near Keels at Backside Cove and was rewarded with a sea full of icebergs.

At Keels Cove a kilometer away I could see the field of icebergs extended some considerable distance.

Keels is a very old settlement on the northeast coast of Newfoundland with roads that wound between knobby outcrops of shallow marine sediments with unsepararated volcanic rocks.  The volcanics being harder than the sediments formed the knobby parts.

Keels is the end of the road along this shore.  The put-in at Backside Cove looked a better option so that's where I started my tour of this segment of iceberg alley.

As I emerged from the cove I did a quick survey and count.  There were in excess of 25 large bergs an score of smaller ones.  I headed west planning to pick through the field from west to east.  The sea and sun were busy eating away at this huge berg.  Waves nibbled away at the waterline.  The sun made the berg sweat as water dripped off in a steady flow.

Bergs dotted the horizon.  I thought where next?  I decided the huge one to the right and as I departed the first berg I heard a loud crack an splash behind me.  I turned to watch ice being sliced off and crashing into the sea.  Mental note, stay well clear.

The sun came out really highlighting the icy mountain as I got closer.  Luckily there was a little breeze to keep things comfortable.

Bits of ice that had broken off the bergs floated about this monster.

One with two spires.  As I passed at a safe distance I heard a thunderous crack come from the berg.  My heart skipped a beat.  It was only a warning shot.

A small berg with a drydock.  Nope no way was I taking a chance out here by myself.  Not thirty seconds after I turned my back I heard a crack, turned to watch the thing roll in slow motion and thought that was a wise decision.

This one looked like it had recently turned.  The top band being where the sea had eaten away at an earlier water line.  Interesting mushroom appendage at the right end too.

By this time the sun was really beating down and the wind dropped off completely.  The water flowing off the berg sparkled like diamonds.

I had pretty much picked my way trough the field.  I saw this blocky berg that I estimated lay 2 - 3 kms away in Broad Cove.  I looked at my GPS.  It read 14 kms paddled to that point.  I said, ah why not.  Imagine how much ice this one contained considering 90% of it is below the surface.  The clear blue sky and sunshine made for a more stark contrast with the blue as opposed a cloudy sky.

Looking back from where I had come.  It was hard to believe I had visited so many bergs.  Yet, there were a couple more to it on the way back to Backside Cove.

It was almost predestined that the best would be saved for last.  Paddling past the bergs further out to sea I had planned to stop by this berg on the return.  It was only when I paddled towards it head on that I watched a hole open up as I got closer.

Impossible not to take a selfie!

It was the most bergs I'd paddled around since September 2011 in White Bay among pieces of the Peterman Ice island.  But this takes the cake.

I called it a day to paddle back to Backside Cove.  It was a large, large day.  My only regret was that I had no other kayakers along to put in the pictures.  Nonetheless, it was a day I soon won't forget.


  1. Amazing pics Tony. Back in 2007 we paddled from Keels in similar iceberg conditions. Awesome stuff. Looks like you had a great little trip....I'm jealous. Diapers and housework for me for now, haha.

  2. Thanks Brian. Don't be jealous though, I've done the diapers and housework thing. Those days go by so quick so enjoy them now. The kayak will always be there. You're young and there's lots of time to paddle later.

    Tony :-)