St. Anthony is on the iceberg alley; an ocean current brings icebergs here from Greenland after they have calved off the glacial faces. The trip can take two years. Although the season for bergs is supposedly over, there are still some around. Perhaps its the cold summer, perhaps it’s climate change where many “supposed to’s” are no long the case. Today’s whale watching boat tour took a major detour to get up close and personal with an ice berg floating just outside French Bay. It glowed in the sun shine and the freeze and thaw lines that appear as deep blue stripes were dramatic. As we sailed 360º around the berg its appearance changed dramatically. No sculpture could have been more moving. This time of year the ice is quite brittle and if the berg hits bottom, it can shatter. Many sea birds were using the berg as a ferry and along the way whales and dolphins also appeared.
The naturalist on the boat tour talked about the behaviors of the bergs and the sea creatures as well as the polar bears that come ashore every so often. Once the whales have fattened up straining tons of capelins and other small creatures through their baleen, they will cruise south to the Dominican Republic to give birth and live off their fat all winter. He explained that the reason we haven’t seen moose is that they have fattened up as well and only go out for a nibble at dawn and dusk when we aren’t driving around. While moose are not indigenous, two pairs that were brought in have done so well, hunting licenses are granted through a lottery to keep the population at a sustainable size. He was a wonderful ambassador for his country and talked enthusiastically about how much he looks forward to winter, which last six months. If you love snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, and hockey, this is the place for you. Tolerating temperatures that are -40º is also required.