We’ve mentioned glaciers in previous posts, and we’ve mentioned icebergs. But I have a little confession: my picture taking finger is a bit trigger happy when it comes to bergs. I have taken over a thousand pictures of icebergs. Why? Because each one is unique, and I don’t want to pass one by that might just be “the picture” of the best berg. So, I keep snapping away, even though the pictures fail to capture the depth and beauty of my subject.
If I had to categorize icebergs, I’d probably sort them by color. But you could certainly sort them by size or shape, if sorting is your thing. The deadliest color for boaters is no color. Clear icebergs don’t show up well in the water, just as the ice in your soft drink lies submerged and reflects the color of your beverage. Even though we both kept a sharp lookout while navigating, we managed to run over a couple of clear icebergs. Thankfully, they were small ones, and we just heard them clunk-clunking down the length of our hull. We were doubly thankful that they managed to miss the propeller as they passed the stern. We have a healthy respect for icebergs when boating!
Since the ice comes from the calving of glaciers, the ice is older than your average ice cube. This ice may be hundreds of years old. We felt privileged to harvest some to put in our sparkling water.
As glaciers slowly move downhill, scraping along granite mountains, they can pick up sediment and dirt. Some bergs are quite dirty looking, and may even carry small boulders frozen into their mass.
Some bergs are snowy white, which is how I imagined they would all be.
The loveliest icebergs, in my opinion, are the ones with aqua colored hues. It was explained to me that the more compressed the ice is, the less oxygen it contains, and the darker the color. The color can range from faint aqua to a dramatic deep teal. They appear to be illuminated from within, and they have an entrancing, almost magical quality. It’s a difficult characteristic to capture on film, but here are a few examples:
Everything in creation can have a practical aspect, and icebergs are no exception. They provide a relatively safe place for seals to climb out of the water and birth their pups. The new pups can float on the ice while mom hunts for food. Birds regularly rest their wings and take a break while they float by berg. Even eagles take advantage of the ride as they keep a sharp eye out for fish to catch.
The human mind loves to make sense of the shapes seen in nature. Much like gazing at clouds, or seeing a rock that reminds you of an elephant head, the shapes of icebergs can be endlessly entertaining. Do you see what I see?
My favorite iceberg fantasy occurred when we were anchored near a glacier, surrounded by a variety of icebergs. Since Voyager looks a little like a child’s bathtub tugboat toy, it was easy to imagine that we were participants in a giant’s bubble bath, on a very large scale. Fanciful, I know. But as we return to our “real” lives, it’s good to carry home a bit of the magic in our imagination and memories.