My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
What do you call a multitude of icebergs? A school of icebergs? A gathering? (Enjoy the photos and see my suggestion further down the story.) Last week I was privileged to travel with friend Nelson Pilgrim among one of the most impressive parades of icebergs every seen outside the Arctic or Antarctic when the break-away Petermann Glacier reached the north-east coast of Newfoundland. About 100 square miles (260 sq. kms) of the glacier broke off in August last year and has been gradually drifting south.
The largest island off the Canadian coast is said to be the size of Manhattan, or Bermuda, a whopping 58 square kilometres. There are hundreds of huge chunks and literally thousands of ice shards jostling along the coast line.
Every day there have been plenty of opportunities to observe an extraordinary number of icebergs. One berg looking like a Spanish galleon with its decks awash came within 20 FEET of the shore and I spent hours watching it one morning as the berg turned with the wind and pieces fell off with the sound of rifle shots.
Behind the majesty of the icebergs – the floating cubes, tabular bergs, dry-docks, pinnacles, towers, bergy bits and growlers – – it’s important, I think, to remember that this colossal loss of ice from Greenland is yet more evidence of our changing climate. Whatever the causes, this extraordinary phenomena is occurring at the end of the earth as we have known her.
Future generations of human beings, as well as countless species of other creatures on this planet will not live in a world as climatically benign as we have experienced it.
Change is happening. And this, I suggest is not good news. Industrial civilization, agriculture and our ability to feed, house and provide for the 6 billion people alive today (and 9 billion by 2050) is predicated on existing climates, ocean acidity and sea levels. Any changes are likely to be catastrophic for people around the world. It’s already happening in slow motion. Just ask the starving families in Somalia.
By the way, my suggestions for “multitudes of icebergs” include:
a majestic of icebergs – for truly they are a sight to behold.
a peril of icebergs – all too true for anyone out in the seas around icebergs, especially in the fog prone waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.