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Iceberg season expected to be a good one off Newfoundland

A tour boat approaches an iceberg off the Northern Peninsula in 2018. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with tourists, will be delighted to know 2019 is expected to be a busy iceberg season.
A tour boat approaches an iceberg off the Northern Peninsula in 2018. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with tourists, will be delighted to know 2019 is expected to be a busy iceberg season. - Contributed

When David Boyd was a younger lad, he hated to see the ice roll in around Tizzard's Harbour.

The icebergs floating in the bay and farther out the Atlantic meant more hassle than profits, especially during crab season.

When they came into view, there was a chance they could cut the trap lines leaving their catch at the bottom of the ocean.

"An iceberg was the last thing we wanted to see," said Boyd.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and his thought around icebergs has changed somewhat. There is still the fear of having his gear damaged by the bergs – Boyd said some crab fishermen currently have their gear trapped in the water – but now he sees those large chunks of arctic ice differently.

From May to whenever the icebergs go away, Boyd operates Captain Dave's Boat and Whale Watching Tours out of Twillingate.

He offers iceberg tours of waters in his area and he figures this season could go a bit longer than the last one. In 2018, he offered his last iceberg tour in late July.

"It is early to have so many icebergs in the area," said Boyd. "There is always icebergs around but it is unusual to see so many."

Mike Roberts is seeing similar things in Triton and Notre Dame Bay. He operates Badger Bay Boat Tours.

He hasn't had his first tour yet, that won't happen until tourism season really gets underway, but he believes he is going to be busy when it does get here.

Many icebergs are in his area now and looking at the ice flow charts, he figures there are still plenty of more bergs to make their way down to the lower part of Iceberg Alley.

"They can only come down here," said Roberts. "They aren't going back up north."

When it comes to the bergs themselves, people tend to want to see the big ones. Just think of the attention the mammoth iceberg that towered over Ferryland on the east coast garnered in 2017.

Or, how about the massive berg near Twillingate in the same year?

It dominated the news cycle for weeks.

Boyd remembers a giant berg he took a picture of in the 1970s. It was of one such iceberg.

He snapped the photo one day and the next it had dissipated.

"I like seeing a mixture (of icebergs). You really love to have a spectacular one," he said. "That spectacular one can become an unspectacular one very quickly."

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