Hunting for Icebergs in the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

Blog Post created by guidedog613 on Jun 7, 2017


Iceberg Alley, lies off the Eastern Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and so far this has become a banner year for icebergs making their way from Greenland.  With a business meeting scheduled in St. John's, we decided to add a few days to our stay and go hunting for icebergs.  With weather being unpredictable in this province, one must be prepared for anything from a warm spring day to a raging snowstorm....even though it is Victoria Day Weekend (May 22).  Since our time was short we settled on a route called The Irish Loop, which took us to the southern shores of The Avalon and we also did the Baccalieu Trail and neither disappointed in our iceberg quest.

Winding our way down the Eastern Coast and visiting every cove and nook to satisfy our need to see as much as possible.

Newfoundland has 3 Marriotts (Delta, Courtyard and Fairfield) of which the Delta(it is in the process of a major overhaul)played host for our stay, while in the St. John's area. 

The weather was rainy, windy and cold at the start of our trip then the rain stopped but the cold and wind lingered. We had snow through the night on May 20 and the Newfoundlanders that we saw out the following morning at various camp/rv sites were enjoying the great outdoors...a little snow and cold did not deter these hardy folk from enjoying their long weekend.

This part of Newfoundland is home to a variety of landscapes, from rugged coastlines, to evergreen forests to barren land with only mosses and lichen and the odd tumble bush surviving( almost like the arctic tundra). The small coastal towns and villages are built up the hillsides and have amazing views but are mercilessly pounded by whatever the sea throws their way.

We stayed in a lovely B&B in St. Mary's(pop. 439), the hosts (a retired military couple)have made this tiny village home and the love of their new surroundings is echoed throughout the historic building that houses the B&B.

Fresh fish and chips, at the Celtic Knot along with a bottle of Iceberg Beer rounded out our stay in this lovely town.

After a good nights sleep (noise polution is zero) we were ready to tackle the Baccalieu Trail to add to our collection of amazing iceberg photos. Once again this day did not disappoint with numerous iceberg sightings and drives along the  peninsula that took our breath away with its raw beauty.

Another B&B was in the cards for this evening's stop, in the small town of Carbonear(pop. 4838). Dinner at The Stone Jug(built in 1860) was a treat for all the senses with the amazing food and beautifully restored historic stone building with tin ceilings and lovely woodwork.

After a night in this town we were off to Cape  Spear, which is the farthest point east in North America.  Our last night in St. John's found us once again at the Delta with an amazing upgrade to a sprawling 1 bedroom suite.

The locals have talked of this being a record year for icebergs and from the groups that post photos it looks like they will continue well into the summer.  With the warmer weather hopefully around the corner for this province, the tour boats are starting to take people out for visits to see the "Bergs" up close and personal, as well as whales and a whole array of birds. There are also numerous hiking trails throughout this province, one being 'The East Coast Trail' which has 540 km (336 miles) in the Avalon Peninsula.



Only 10% of the iceberg is visible above the water, the other 90% lurks beneath the surface, so these are truly giants of the sea.



Beautiful lighthouse in Ferryland, the summer months you can purchase a picnic lunch and eat it on the hillside overlooking the ocean while icebergs sail by and whales do acrobatics.IMG_3401.JPG

The Atlantic Ocean, as it pounds the coastline at Cape Spear.



Some icebergs look as if an artist was hard at work carving and painting, giving each individual iceberg its own characteristics.




Some colours found in these chunks (sometimes referred to as growlers or bergie bits) of ice rival the turquoise and jade hues found in the glacier melt lakes of the Canadian Rockies...simply stunning.



Cavendish, NL....waiting for the warmth and sunshine to bring the crowds in to the beach.IMG_3026.JPG




Phytoplankton adhering to an iceberg allows the berg to glow green beneath the surface of the ocean. If there is enough Phytoplankton then you can see quite a lot of the iceberg outlined underwater.





The Stone Jug, in Carbonear...lovingly restored building from 1860.






Cape Spear, furthest point east in North America...the wind was so bad we had to hold on to each other or get blown out to sea!