This year the Easter bunny is bringing more than chocolate eggs to the people of Eastern Newfoundland. For the past few weeks the horizon has taken on a new and unusual shape as the shores have filled with icebergs.
Icebergs are a beautiful spectacle to behold, and so far this year they have not disappointed. These cathedral-sized ice sculptures gently float down the coast, often becoming lodged on a shallow beach where they will spend several weeks slowly dissolving into the sea.
In addition to adding more fresh water to the local bay, these icebergs have other effects on the oceans in which they reside. Icebergs are a great source of nutrients due to the many thousands of years of condensed microorganisms that are released as the bergs melt.
This rich melt-water creates micro-climates that create not only beautiful bright blue water that pools in and around the iceberg, but that also provide a source of nutrients to local sea life. Krill and other small animals take advantage of the rich meal provided by the melt water and feast on these microorganisms.
The condensed ice is not only enjoyed by local wildlife, but is also a source of income for many Newfoundland businesses. Companies such as the Quidi Vidi Brewery harvest large quantities of the frozen water to use in their iconic Iceberg Beer.
Icebergs are unpredictable in nature, which is what makes them so alluring. The extent to which the glaciers will shift varies every year, furthermore the direction of the winds affects where the bergs will float. Some summers Eastern Newfoundland may see many icebergs, whereas in other years, we will see none.
Based on the year so far though, I think it’s safe to say, it’ll be a good year for iceberg watching, and an even better year for cold beer.
The Skerwinkles xox