Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ice Ice Ice Ice (and a little heat)

One of the things I love about living here is how the sea-scape changes every day (and during every day). The ice looks subtly different every time you see it in winter. Now in the summer, the open ocean in the bay looks different every day.

And what is different the last couple days is the amount of ice in the harbour - big chunks of icebergs, often stranded on the tidal flats. It is an amazing sight.

Ice ice ice ice. In July. And right on the heels of record-breaking hot arctic weather (see Iqaluit Sizzles Through Hottest Day on Record )

A month ago, around July 1, the ice finally all broke up and left the bay in June. And the annual sea lift ships slowly began to arrive.

But channels that should have opened up more further down the bay remained full of ice. A lot of that ice is multi-year ice coming down the Cumberland Sound (apparently) and even from the Davis Strait, and being blown (by changing wind patterns) into Frobisher Bay. Sometimes winds and tides will bring the iceberg chunks all the way into town. Nice big chunks of ancient glacial green ice.

Last weekend, this is what one iceberg in the harbour looked like (this picture was taken by my friend Danielle Lepage):

Two weeks ago, friends of our were part of a group that was supposed to travel to Greenland on the Aurora Magnetica (see, a french research ship that overwintered in the ice in the harbour here, testing its special hull built to withstand arctic ice. They couldn't make it through the band of ice across the top of Frobisher Bay. Things even got a little scary when their boat was pushed out of the water by the ice. Here are pictures taken by my friend Andre Samson, who was on the boat:

Apparently the Aurora Magnetica has now safely made it to Greenland, though. And though some of the sea lift ships are coming into port with heavy ice damage (those ancient pieces of glacial ice are like rocks), they're still getting through with ice breakers.

I'm finding the ice fascinating (and a little sobering, knowing that soon winter will back ...)