A town in Newfoundland received a high-profile visitor this month: a massive iceberg that has turned the little community of Ferryland into a tourist hotspot.
While the region is known for icebergs during this time of year, Canadian Press reported that this one drew hundreds of people over the weekend.
“It’s a huge iceberg and it’s in so close that people can get a good photograph of it,” Ferryland Mayor Adrian Kavanagh told the news agency. “It’s the biggest one I ever seen around here.”
Although the iceberg is about 15 stories high, that’s just 10 percent of its mass.
“Most folks can’t wrap their heads around how big it is,” Barry Rogers, the owner of Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours, told The New York Times.
The iceberg was just as impressive from above as it was from land:
“Iceberg season,” which generally starts in April, has been especially busy this year, CTV reported. More than 615 icebergs have already been spotted in North Atlantic shipping lanes. Last year, there were 687 icebergs the entire season, which ends in September.
“There are certainly a significant amount of icebergs out there. When you look at the iceberg chart it’s truly incredible,” Rebecca Acton-Bond, acting superintendent of ice operations with the Canadian Coast Guard, told the CBC.
“Usually you don’t see these numbers until the end of May or June,” she said. “So the amount of icebergs that we’re seeing right now, it really is quite something.”
Experts attribute “uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds” pulling icebergs south from Greenland, where they break from the ice sheet, for the rise in activity. The CBC said global warming may also be playing a role.
According to Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, Ferryland was one of the homes of the Beothuk, a now-extinct indigenous people. Ferryland was also the site of a 17th-century colony called Avalon, the remains of which are currently being excavated. Today, it’s a popular spot for viewing birds, whales and ― of course ― icebergs.
“We love welcoming visitors to our province,” the agency wrote on its Facebook page. “Especially those of the glacial variety.”