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Iceberg watching in Twillingate, Newfoundland

Updated on June 11, 2012

Copyright @ novascotiamiss

So close you could almost touch them.
So close you could almost touch them. | Source
Tourist boat approaching huge iceberg.
Tourist boat approaching huge iceberg. | Source
You only see approx. 10% of an iceberg, the bulk lurks down below.
You only see approx. 10% of an iceberg, the bulk lurks down below. | Source
Icebergs come in different shapes and sizes.
Icebergs come in different shapes and sizes. | Source

When a huge block of ice melts your heart

I will never forget our first iceberg sighting in July 2009. The berg was huge! Far bigger than we had ever imagined in our wildest dreams. It was twice as long as an aircraft carrier and weighed approx. 250 tons. It was the largest they had seen in Iceberg Alley in over 50 years. The tip was looming 12 metres out the water and only made up 10% of the whole colossus. The remaining bulk was lurking down below. One of these big monsters had been responsible for the sinking of the Titanic, 100 years ago. The thought sent a cold shiver down my spine.

The little town of Twillingate, Newfoundland is the iceberg capital of the world and undoubtedly one of the best spots to see icebergs. The iceberg season is from mid May until mid July. Once the water warms up they start breaking up and disappear. We were lucky, as this natural phenomena is unpredictable. Winds and ocean currents bring the icebergs all the way from western Greenland and Canada’s Arctic. They are an average of 10’000 years old and take years to travel. Depending on the weather and the sea ice cover, they sometimes appear in huge numbers and other times are rarely seen. Since we were living far away, we had been tracking the iceberg activity on the internet to ensure that we didn’t come all the way for nothing.

But there it was - awesome! It seemed like we could almost touch it, it was so close. No need to catch a tourist boat. We just sat there on the cliff for hours and watched in awe. It was a pretty hot day and small waterfalls we pouring down the sides. The monstrous ice block was surrounded by “bergy bits” (smaller ice bergs) and “growlers” (small chunks of floating ice). A sign that the giant was busy breaking up. That night we were staying at a campsite several miles away. We were awakened by a thunderous roar. The iceberg was calving. When we visited again the next morning, it had broken into 3 huge bits.

The Quidi Vidi Brewery near St. John's uses growlers to brew the popular Iceberg Beer. Iceberg water is extremely pure and not at all salty. It also makes great cocktail ice cubes.

We stayed in iceberg alley for five glorious days and saw hundreds of icebergs. Each one was completely different. They all come in different shapes and sizes. Some float into the scenic bays, others are just floating past, far out at sea.

Ever since that first encounter, icebergs have been ingrained in our memory. One day we will go back to the picturesque bays of iceberg alley. We will visit the friendly people who proudly point the way to the nearest icebergs. Once an iceberg melts your heart, you’ll never forget.

Newfoundland Tourism Iceberg video

Travel guides Newfoundland & Labrador

Where is Twillingate, Newfoundland

A markertwillingate NL -
Twillingate, NL, Canada
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    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      jacobkuttyta 5 years ago from Delhi, India

      Very interesting hub with nice pictures.

      I really enjoyed this hub. Thanks

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      This is a fascinating hub and I would have sat for hours watching it also. I love your pictures. They are just beautiful. The villages in the video are also unique. Awesome hub!

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      sgbrown, Natashalh, Suzie HQ, mwilliams66, Availiasvision: Thanks for all your praise, I'm really flattered. You may have noticed that this hub came from the heart and Newfoundland is such an inspiring place. I saw a Newfoundland Tourism commercial on TV and I was hooked. Less than a month later we were there. If you liked the iceberg alley commercial then I recommend that you check out further Newfoundland Tourism ads on Youtube. They are the best ads I've ever seen. I love them so much I have to watch them every now and then to get my Newfoundland fix. And best of all, the place is exactly like in the commercials. Rough, natural and unspoilt. Full of quaint little fishing villages and incredibly friendly people who treat you like a friend and not a tourist. It hasn't become a tourist trap yet and I hope it never will. If you haven't seen the movie "The shipping news", you should watch it. Gives you a pretty good idea about the place and the people. It's not always as lovely as when we saw it, but it definitely grabs your senses. I have written another hub that came from the heart called "why Swiss cows wear bells" which people seem to love. If you have time you might want to go and check it out.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 5 years ago from California

      Newfoundland looks amazing. I love the villages that the video shows and all the greenery. What raw power you get to experience watching the icebergs break apart. I was given the opportunity to fly over the ice fields in Alaska as well as watch them calve into the ocean. So magnificent! Sounds very peaceful to watch them float by.

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 5 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Wow, what an extraordinary experience. I had no idea that iceberg watching was an activity. I learned so many things from your hub NOVASCOTIAMISS and would love to learn more. Beautiful pictures and use of video. Voted up, beautiful, interesting and awesome.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      WOW, great hub, so enjoyed reading about icberg alley, love the name!! Learnt so many intersting things from this hub, wud love to see this some day, as never seen one iceberg never mind hundreds!!!!! Excellent work will be voting up!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I've seen a lot of icebergs in Newfoundland. I was there in late June and was surprised - I didn't know that was the peak time to see them!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Wonderful hub! This would be amazing to see. Maybe some day I can travel there. Great hub, wonderful information and pictures. Voted up and interesting. Have a great day! :)

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 5 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      bdegiulio & point2make: Thank you very much. Glad that you liked it. Before you go, just make sure that you keep checking the iceberg tracker website. Friends of ours went in 2010 and there wasn't a single iceberg in Twillingate that year! Also don't leave it too late, due to global warming we might not see this phenomena that much longer. The great thing about Twillingate is that you can freely hike, cycle or drive around the area and there are always some helpful local people who point you to the best spots. In most cases you don't need to take a boat out and you can explore the area under your own steam. Accommodation is limited so you would have to book that in advance.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 5 years ago

      Wow what a great hub. I loved you photos too. Well done. Voted this hub up and can't wait to go to twillingate. Thanks for the information.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Novascotiamiss. I am thoroughly impressed with this Hub. Excellent writing, great pictures, very informative. I didn't know there was a place where one could go to watch icebergs. This is the type of thing that is going on my bucket list, to see the icebergs. Thank you for educating me. Voting up, sharing, and all the other good stuff.