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St. Anthony is iceberg heaven!

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Who would have guessed that an event in Greenland a little over a year ago would bring tourists flooding to the St. Anthony area this summer? On August 5, 2010, a large piece of the Petermann Glacier broke off and became an “ice island” measuring 280 square km in size.  A year later it has worked its way south and is now off of St. Anthony at the tip of the Northern Peninsula. Over the past couple of weeks the “ice island” has been breaking up,  producing dozens of icebergs at a time of year when usually there would be NO icebergs! And the quantity of icebergs is mind boggling... no local people we spoke to have ever seen anything like it. This is likely a once in a life time event. Spectacular beyond words.

We drove up to St. Anthony on Saturday, August 13, 2011 from our home in Corner Brook and pulled into the newly refurbished Hotel North (http://hotelnorth.ca/three/ ) where we were staying that night. We asked the front desk clerk where the best place was to see icebergs. “I would head to Goose Cove and down to the Fishing Point area for starters” she told us.  

In nearby Goose Cove we walked the 1 km Pumley Cove Trail and saw many icebergs that had been pushed to shore by the easterly winds. The trail is easy to find but the coordinates are at: 51. 18.337 N and 55 38.275 W for those people with a GPS. The lighting was perfect and the scene was surreal – here we were, in shirt sleeves, and yet here there were tons of icebergs just off shore!

The icebergs at Goose Cove were lit up by the afternoon sun under a stormy sky

Then we headed for Fishing Point. Here,  there were several large bergs that again had been pushed right up against the shore by the east winds. Some enterprising folks were even picking up iceberg chunks as they washed up. There is a fine trail system here that allows you to walk along several sections of the coastline. For a great view of the entire area, I recommend a hike up the set of stairs (the trail head is by a cemetery at 51.21.368 N and 55 33.607 W). This hike is just over 500 meters long but has almost 500 steps so it will still give you a work out. When I did this hike my timing was off since just as I arrived at the top, the fog rolled in obscuring my view of the icebergs and the lighthouse.

We ended the day by heading over to the Viking Feast which is right next door to the Fishing Point restaurant. This apparently is the only place you can eat in a sod covered building in North America and besides a filling buffet of moose stew, jiggs dinner and other Newfoundland fare, you can settle any domestic disputes with a “hearing in a Viking court of law”. Each case is “settled” by whoever can provoke the most vigorous thumping of the tables by the audience. It is a fun evening and is worth checking out (for more information see: http://www.fishingpoint.ca/feast.html) . To see where the icebergs are now, be sure to check out this web page: http://www.icebergfinder.com/.

The icebergs at Fishing Point attracted a large crowd