July 28, 2007
Location: Strait of Belle Isle
I've been in the bridge chatting with the 3rd Officer, David, he was explaining a few of the many instruments in there, actually telling me how to drive the ship. He did not actually let me, of course. We were watching the radar and GPS screens which show the coast of Newfoundland off the starboard side, and the base of Labrador off to Port, on either side of the Strait of Belle Isle, when David noticed an object near the middle of the strait, quite a distance away. After watching it for 10 or 15 minutes, taking note of how far from land it is, he pronounced, "I think we have a winner!" In other words, an ICEBERG!! For David and many other people on board this is fairly routine and they've seen icebergs numerous times. For me though, this is a first! I am so thrilled!!! David assured me that no matter how hard or for how long I looked out the window, I would not be able to see it for close to an hour. There are likely to be many on this voyage North, and possibly I will view them as normal by the end of the trip, but somehow I doubt it. The idea of a huge chunk of ice crashing off from Greenland, and floating down the Labrador Sea from the far North is incredible! More later as I'm off now to see if the iceberg is visible yet.
Back again. The iceberg was quite beautiful, glowing ghostly white in the darkness of sky and sea. Not as large as many they see, according to David. We passed about 1 nautical mile from it on the port side. Icebergs are quite amazing to see, but also in the fact that the vast majority of it is underwater. Nine-tenths of an iceberg is underwater and generally invisible to us on the ship. George turned on a strong spotlight and directed it toward the iceberg, so everyone watching got a better view of the iceberg as it was quite dark and misty out. The coast of Labrador was not visible, shrouded in mist off to port. One of the Canada Fisheries and Oceans scientists laughed at me when I told her about the iceberg and she called me, "an iceberg virgin", I guess that's true. I am awed by this experience and look forward to seeing more 'bergs even closer!