The massive size of a Newfoundland iceberg above water belies the enormity of what lies below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, as this photo clearly demonstrates. We can see only the “tip of the iceberg” above water, which is only possible because these gigantic pieces of “freshwater” ice are not as dense as salt water. Up to nine-tenths of a Newfoundland iceberg remains hidden below the ocean’s surface.
How Many Icebergs?
Over 40,000 icebergs annually break away from the edges of glaciers in Greenland and from glaciers in Canada’s North Atlantic Ocean. These icebergs are made up of freshwater that has been frozen for over 10,000 years. Up to 800 of these majestic icebergs annually reach the Bonavista area along the eastern coast of Newfoundland, having traveled a distance of over 1800 nautical miles.
Newfoundland icebergs are carried south by the cold Labrador Current, which follows along “Iceberg Alley”, a stretch of Atlantic coastline that runs from the north eastern shores of Labrador down into the eastern shores of Newfoundland. It is a journey that can take up to two to three years bringing some of the world’s largest and most beautiful icebergs into our inshore coastal Newfoundland waters. Pushed along at approximately 10 miles a day, these huge blocks of ice are at the mercy of the current, the tides and the wind. They arrive in all manner of breathtaking shapes and sizes but in time, they move south of Newfoundland into the warm Gulf Stream waters where they eventually melt. Many Newfoundland icebergs that come down along “Iceberg Alley” make their way to our inshore waters near Bonavista and can be viewed from the safety of our luxury Newfoundland Cottages.
Post Titanic Icebergs
During its maiden voyage, the Titanic (the world’s largest ocean liner at the time) struck a massive iceberg and sank off the coast of Newfoundland in April of 1912. The following year the International Ice Patrol was established to observe and track icebergs in order to improve marine safety.
Newfoundland Iceberg Pictures
Iceberg Watching Tour Companies
We are very fortunate here in Bonavista to have some very excellent, highly respected local Newfoundland tour companies that we highly recommend. They offer similar, yet very different boat tours for whale watching and/or viewing Newfoundland icebergs up close. The Newfoundland tour companies based locally include;