Epic icebergs marched down Iceberg Alley on the north east side of Newfoundland in 2014. They shed off the glaciers in Greenland two years earlier, froze in the unusually thick sea ice in the Labrador Sea, and arrived by the hundreds in July. This was generational, and so we dropped everything and went to have a look.
Its a 4 hour direct flight on Sun Wing from Toronto to Gander, Newfoundland, and then a 100 kilometres drive north to our base village of Twillingate . Stop by one of the lobster pounds on the way for a fresh lobster sandwich lunch and beer. We took two boat trips out to the larger groupings of icebergs. Off Crowhead Point we saw a cathedral grouping of 12 bergs. And directly off Twillingate harbor, we boated very cautiously around a mega berger about 1000 meters long and standing 100 meters tall out of the ocean.
It was as much fun hiking along the shore to look at the icebergs that had grounded in the shallow waters in the coves and out at sea. On one hike, we stopped counting after 100 icebergs. Instead of water bottles, we carried chunks of 10,000 year old ice scooped from the sea around the grounded bergs.
A pleasant surprise was the night life. One evening, we got ‘screeched in’ at the Anchor Inn . This is a ceremony performed on non-Newfoundlanders (known to Newfoundlanders as a “come from away” or “mainlander”) involving a shot of screech (a local rum), a short recitation and the kissing of a cod, Yes we kissed the cod. Passing this ritual makes us honorary citizens of Newfoundland. Another evening, we were invited to a ‘kitchen party’ where we learned to play and dance with the Ugly Stick , and sing some local folk songs.
We were lucky and opportunistic. In the 3 years prior to our trip, folks saw a total of 5 icebergs. So if you read or hear about lots of icebergs off Newfoundland, follow your impulsive nature and check it out. You will not be disappointed.