the website of Greg Stamer

Newfoundland on the rocks…

Posted by Greg on March 29, 2008

Greg Stamer and Freya Hoffmeister among Icebergs in Newfoundland, 2007. Photograph by Neil Burgess (click on image to view enlargement)

As a bit of a teaser for my upcoming Newfoundland trip I have created a photo album of my trip around the Avalon peninsula in 2007. This trip was undertaken after teaching Greenland-skills at the Kayak Newfoundland & Labrador (KNL) symposium. The trip served as a dry (wet?) run for Iceland, and to test and hone our gear choices.

Icebergs are a common sight from the east coast of Labrador to Newfoundland’s southern shore — “Iceberg Alley”. These are bergs from Greenland that have been transported south via the Labrador current. I should mention that paddling close to bergs, as in the image above is very risky business. Kayakers have died when the ice rolled suddenly, due to erosion of the immense ice mass underneath the surface. The ice is as beautiful as it is dangerous.

One local custom is to collect small “bergy bits” surrounding the iceberg and to cart it home via kayak. When added to scotch (or the drink of your choice) it fizzes loudly — literally a “Bergie Seltzer”. The effervescence comes from compressed air bubbles — Greenland air from centuries ago — trapped in the iceberg, that sizzle, fizzle and pop when thawed!

  1. Michael Said,

    You’re a lucky one, Greg to have had such fine conditions rounding Cape St Mary’s. I was there last July in wind and fog so thick you needed reflectors on your paddle tips to see where they were! Never made it past St Bride’s, although I did get to meet Hadas and Tomer who had just landed there, heading westwards once the weather cleared. Enjoyed the photo album tremendously, both pics and set-up. Thanks!

  2. Tom Sharp Said,

    Nice teaser – makes me want to go hunt down some caves.
    Checkout Jon Bowermaster’s Site – blog from Antarctic http://www.jonbowermaster.com/antarctica2008/index.html He has some nice elements for expedition blog…. I liked the “audio” broadcasts…made me feel like part of there link to the “world”

    Looking forward to being jealous of your trip around the ROCK

    Cheers Tom

  3. Stan Mac Kenzie Said,

    Nice shots Greg. There sure is some spectacular shores in NFLD. Look forward to seeing you back on the Island again. It will be interesting to follow your trip now that your site is established.

  4. Neil Burgess Said,

    It was a fantastic day last May paddling with Greg and Freya out of Salvage, Newfoundland & Labrador. The iceberg was strikingly beautiful, with veins of deep blue water ice and undulating curves. For more on this paddle and Kayak Newfoundland & Labrador’s Kayakers Retreat, check out my blog for June 2007.

  5. Richard Hayes Said,

    Lovely pix, Greg, especially the series of Cape St. Mary’s. We’ll look forward to following your trip this summer.
    Can’t believe the sea conditions you had rounding the Cape …I’ve seen rougher water in the harbour at Traytown…;->))

  6. Greg Said,

    Thanks for the comments.

    Yes we did have amazing weather at Cape St. Mary’s. We were told to expect fog and rough seas but had clear, beautiful weather instead. It was fantastic. There are extensive sea caves at the base of the bird cliffs and we explored them all. One incident deep in a narrow cave almost ended in disaster when a rogue breaking wave sent me surfing full speed ahead in complete blackness toward unseen dangers, with my paddle tips occasionally scraping against cold black rock … but that’s a story for another time….

    That said, we paid our dues early in the trip. Leaving Quidi Vidi Gut we had morning snow flurries, force 5-6 gusts, and we were basically just directing the kayaks as we were blown down the coast, headland hopping.

  7. francesco muntoni Said,

    Bellissimo monumento della natura…
    un saluto a voi.. dalla Sardegna
    Francesco Muntoni