Rare bergs? Hampden residents say White Bay icebergs not usually so large and flat

Paul Hutchings phutchings@thewesternstar.com
Published on September 8, 2011

HAMPDEN — Icebergs are nothing new in this part of the world, but this year’s batch that floated down from the Labrador coast are bigger and flatter than those from previous years.

That seems to be the consensus of Hampden residents. Two days ago residents saw ’bergs offshore but when they woke up Wednesday morning residents found the tide and high winds had driven the floating white structures directly in front of their homes. Some icebergs were no more than 30 feet off the White Bay shore Wednesday morning.

“We’ve seen the taller (icebergs), the ones that are rounder and smaller, but we haven’t seen these kinds that I can recall,” said Hampden resident Stan Davis, who was fishing off the pier while tourists were ogling the icebergs. “We just woke up this morning and there they were, it’s really nice.”

Hampden resident Shirley Parsons said the icebergs make her appreciate where she lives.

“They’re absolutely beautiful,” she said. “My soon-to-be son-in-law saw them, he’s from Fort McMurray and it was his first time seeing icebergs,s and he was amazed.”

Robert and Georgina Cooper just got married in Corner Brook and drove to Hampden to view the icebergs. Georgina is from Newfoundland but Robert is from Ontario, and he said it was a pleasant surprise to see the floating structures.

“It’s truly a natural phenomenon and I’m just so happy I was able to see it,” he said. “There’s certainly nothing that can compare to this back in Ontario.”

Hampden Mayor Gerry Martin said he hopes the icebergs can go a long way towards providing some economic stimulus to the area as the summer tourism season winds down.

“The icebergs are already starting to bring tourists here, I’ve probably seen about 30 or 40 visitors just today (Wednesday),” he said.

“We certainly don’t expect the icebergs to stay around so we hope to get as many up here as we can in the next few days.”

Icebergs usually stay in White Bay for a week or a little more according to residents. When the winds die down the natural current in the bay usually takes them away.

Experts say it’s possible that the different types of icebergs in the bay could be the result of piece of ice breaking away from the Peterman Glacier in Greenland, which was off the Labrador coast last month.