This massive ice berg off the coast of Ferryland, Newfoundland has been the talk of Canada and other world news stations. What a natural way to enjoy the day..gazing at icebergs floating by.
Iceberg chasers flocked to the coast of this town with a population of only 465 to gaze out at “Iceberg Alley” as this area of the Atlantic is known. This daunting iceberg is 15 stories high above waterline. However this only accounts for 10 per cent of its mass with the other 90 per cent below the surface.
“Most folks can’t wrap their heads around how big it is,” Barry Rogers, the owner of Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours, a Newfoundland tour operator, said in an interview on Thursday.
Over 600 icebergs have drifted into the North Atlantic shipping lanes so far this April, which is widely known as the beginning of iceberg season. The normal count for this time of year is around 80. And, while this parade of sorts is great for watchers the fishing industry in St. Johns for one is being held hostage. The entrance to the harbor is blocked by the dangerous behemoths and the fishermen are waiting for the winds and currents to clear a safe channel.
Icebergs of this size have been 15,000 years in the making. Snow on Greenland turned eventually to glaciers which broke free within the last few years and slowly floated out of Baffin Bay. Eventually the bergs are caught in the Labrador current heading south and end up in Iceberg Alley.
People on Bell Island of Newfoundland and Labrador have united to rescue a pod of dolphins stuck in thick pack ice since Sunday. In all, the group of islanders successfully rescued four dolphins by Monday.
“It was amazing to see a community come together to help these animals out,” said Jim Bennett, who was one of several people trying to help the stranded mammals.
Dolphins trapped in ice off Bell Island. Christopher Kitchen photo.
The Whale Release and Stranding’s Group initiated their effort at daybreak and worked tirelessly throughout the day. However, as with many stranding’s of this sort, casualties are part of the deal. Five of the dolphins died due to the extreme conditions – four were crushed by the ice and one didn’t survive transport to the release site.
After resident Lisa Gear posted a picture of the dolphins on her Facebook page depicting the dolphins nearly frozen into the ice, rescuers responded and had to work out some logistics and methods for moving the dolphins to safe water. After first using a sled to try and move them, a tarpaulin sling was eventually used for transport of the fragile beings.
An extension ladder was used to save one of the dolphins out farther in the ice. Walking past a few of the already expired dolphins was “surreal” for Jim Bennett. Working their way out to the animal allowed them to get a rope around it and guide it in.
A dolphin gets love and attention from Bell Island rescuers. Christopher Kitchen photo.
“[The dolphin] looked like it was on its last legs and all the community were hanging on to the rope by the shore and they pulled it in,” recalled Bennett, who said he is from Ontario.
“I was completely impressed how people came together in crisis down by the water. This could only happen in Newfoundland. It was really great.”, stated Bennett.
The surviving dolphins were bleeding from their ice – scraped skin layer. While the injured dolphins were attended to some Bell Island citizens brought thawed capelin and herring to feed the animals.
“We were told that to just leave them alone but, as animals ourselves, it just didn’t make sense to just let them perish.” added Bennett. For now the survivors look good and energized.