Go stand on a cliff somewhere near the Atlantic.
No, just kidding.
It took me many years to appreciate the beauty and significance of an iceberg, and now that I’ve done a bit of travel, coming home to these mountains of ice is always a joy. Some years aren’t so busy; others, like this year, promise tons of bergs.
Which probably means we’re gonna have a cool summer. Damned it.
Anyway, here’s how you can find icebergs in Newfoundland!
Choose your starting point
Typically, most areas on the North Atlantic receive a large number of icebergs, with Twillingate receiving the most action. Situating yourself in St. John’s, the Bonavista Peninsula, the Bay de Verde Peninsula, or especially Twillingate is a sure bet.
But sometimes the bergs will pop up in other places too. Usually they’re not found on the western side of the Northern Peninsula, but this year they’re showing up in Gros Morne National Park.
They’ll usually start rolling in around May or June, but sometimes they’ll come earlier. This year, the monstrous Ferryland iceberg arrived in April. It’s a little unpredictable, sure.
Use online resources
The Iceberg Finder website is an excellent resource for finding what’s happening around the coast. The informations is precise, and easy to use — the site uses geotags and logs information describing what kind of bergs there are, and their sizes.
I love this site because it’s incredibly thorough, and if you’re interested in learning a little more about icebergs and their shapes and sizes, there’s a whole section on that, too.
Plus if you look at the site now, almost all of Newfoundland is surrounded by icebergs. It’s a little overwhelming. Kind of like me being surrounded by men in every club I go to. Except really not at all.
There’s also the Newfoundland Iceberg Reports Facebook group, which is incredibly active. Often people will post iceberg reports there before Iceberg Finder even picks them up. People share photos and discuss the best methods for seeing the bergs, and it’s kinda like one big happy family of iceberg geeks.
If you’re travelling in the area without a car, you can also post a message to the group saying you’re looking for a ride/partner in crime to see the iceberg. Chances are, someone will have an empty seat in their car for you.
Take a boat tour
I’ve boat toured with Iceberg Quest about three times now, and I’ve always loved the experience. On my most recent trip out with them, the weather was glorious and we came across several bergs. We got up close enough to one berg in Freshwater Bay that we could see its flowing rivulets and its gorgeous hues of blue. On my trip with Iceberg Quest in 2014, I scored a piece of bergy ice to put in my drinks.
A boat tour is the best way to get up close to the icebergs, in my opinion. Plus the viewpoints of St. John’s and the surrounding headlands from the water is something that really pulls at my heartstrings, no matter how long I’ve lived here. Seriously, I live in a beautiful place.
I’ve only ever been on Iceberg Quest’s larger boat, along with a few dozen other tourists. That’s my only qualm with the experience — sometimes you’re really jockeying for space, especially for photos. On the other hand, there’s a lively Screech-In, some fiddle music, and booze on board. They also have Zodiac for a quieter trip, too.
I’ve also used Iceberg Quest in Twillingate, the iceberg capital of the world. Here, I also went out on the water for a fishing trip with Captain Dave — an exuberant, hilarious fisherman with a knack for poetry and storytelling. On my trip with him, I caught a massive 20-pound cod and got close enough to an iceberg to touch it. The cod also jizzed all over me. So, there’s that.
Check out some hiking trails
Being on the ocean and all, sometimes the icebergs come close enough to shore that you can take advantage of the stellar viewpoints on the East Coast Trail — an insanely long network of trails stretching around the Avalon Peninsula, including St. John’s.
Again, your best bet is to follow along with the Facebook group. If there’s a vantage point on the trail, someone’s bound to tell you about it. And I promise it’s worth the hike.