Newfoundland: Icebergs & Diving

Today I joined Johnny Olivero and Rebecca Feldman on a dive in South Conception Bay where three whaling ships have run aground. One sits upright out of the water and is a rusty, brown color from years of decay. We geared up and waded into the water, then swam along the side of the upright ship and peered into the hull. It was covered with invertebrates and so much kelp that it was difficult to discern where the actual wreck was! We went to about thirty feet and looped around the back of the ship before surfacing. On our second dive we saw the other two ships, which lay on the bottom behind the beached one. What a rare sight to see!

This afternoon back at Ocean Quest, we got ready to attend an Ice Berg tour! I was overjoyed with excitement because I’ve always wanted to see one in person! Everyone headed down to the dock and boarded the Ocean Quest Mermaid for the tour. I joined the National Geographic team from the Netherlands that was chronicling the effects of climate change the on Arctic. We headed out into the Bay and around Bell Island where we saw the “bell” and the “clapper” which are the two distinctive rock structures that are the namesakes of the island. In the distance we could see the Ice Bergs, which congregate off Newfoundland and Labrador in a region known as Ice Berg Alley. As the glaciers in Greenland and Labrador clave, large chunks of ice float down the Labrador Current and end up in Newfoundland. The frequency and intensity of these calving events has dramatically increased over the last century as the glaciers of the region continue to rapidly melt due to anthropogenic climate change.

The iceberg we found was enormous. And that’s only what we could see from the surface. The blinding white ice protruding out of the water had veins of blue refrozen water cutting through it. I was in awe with these icebergs and Bill pointed out a defined brown streak in the ice. These brown streaks are indicative of air pollution at the time when the ice was laid down. He explained that it was either Europe’s industrial revolution or a relatively recent (within last few hundred years) volcanic event. While fascinating to see, it was sobering to know that many of these icebergs drifting south are a symptom of a warming world.

I joined James Humby for an evening dive just in Holyrod. We completed a simple beach dive and entered the water to see large Jonah crabs scuttling along the bottom. There were also many Winter Flounder in the area and more metridium anemones along the wall. What a great shore dive and a phenomenal day!

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