A good one

by Guest Blogger

December 14, 2005

One of the many good days I’ve had out here so far was when we put the Billy Greene in the water for the first time since both the boat and I took a beating. It was a splendid day: the water and wind were mostly calm, and we were in a field of icebergs of all shapes and sizes. For a guy who likes to describe things, I gotta say it’s hard to figure how to describe the icebergs – someone on the bridge said it was like drifting through a modern sculpture exhibit, except these are constantly-changing, naturally forming structures that are not made with permanence and fame in mind.

Their forms and shapes vary wildly, from smooth, soft, Henry Moore-like creations to sharply angulated monoliths recalling the mesas and superstructures in northern Arizona. Countless cracks, facets, planes, holes, peaks, fissures, formations… a thorough lesson in variations in geometry and grace.

They were lit by different light all day, as down here the weather changes rapidly: within two hours we went from snowing, blustery conditions, to clear blue sky, to fog, back to a light snow, then broken clouds with beams of penetrating light at ‘sunset’, which this time of year lasts a couple of hours. When the sun lights up an iceberg directly, and there’s darkness in the background, it’s just breathtaking… Driving among these giants is a real treat – I just can’t stop grinning all day, though ya gotta look out for the ‘small’ ones – it wouldn’t be wise to smack into even the smallest chunk in the water with the RIB [rigid-(hulled) inflatable boat] – they may as well be rock as far as we’re concerned. The Arctic Sunrise kept fairly close to the Esperanza as we weaved in and out of the icebergs, sometimes passing on either side of one, in tandem. We were close enough to wave to each other on deck and figure out who was who…

We put the boat in without a hitch, easily took on two more folks from the pilot door, and after training hauled her onboard with no problems at all.

At the end of the day, most of us were on the bridge, gawking at icebergs. This crew tends to keep their noses down in their work, but the show we got in the ice field captured all of our attention and most of us were like little kids up on the bridge, pointing here and there and running around, taking snapshots and shaking our heads in wonder…

Perhaps even better, however, was that we spotted our first whales of the trip that morning, and my first whales ever! I ran alongside the bow as it rubbed and rolled and eventually dove under. The cherry on the cake of a perfect day already.

– Nathan

(photos ©Greenpeace/Davison)

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