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The Globe and Mail

Iceberg diving in Newfoundland isn't for the faint of heart



Get up close and personal with a colossal ice cube.

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Each year, about 40,000 icebergs calve off the glaciers of Greenland, but only a few hundred make it as far as Newfoundland. The best time to see them is in the summer, when the ghost-like figures drift offshore. An average Newfoundland berg is about the size of a 15-storey building, with much of it below the surface. For adventurous scuba divers, that's the most interesting part.

Book on a dive with Ocean Quest Adventures, a Newfoundland operator specializing in icebergs. This is not an activity you want to try on your own. If you've ever noticed the ice cubes in your drink fizzing, popping or cracking, imagine the same thing on the scale of a skyscraper. They're incredibly unstable, and can roll, crack or break in half without warning. For that reason, divers must submerge at a safe distance and swim toward the iceberg. As you get close, you'll see a shimmering and dizzying glow; that's the meltwater zone, where seawater mixes with freshwater from the berg. There you will truly appreciate the magnitude, as a giant wall of ice plummets into the abyss. You'll see shades of blue, feel the smooth surface and realize you're touching a 10,000-year-old glacier.


Those with advanced diving skills who aren't content with seeing only the tip of the iceberg. A dive with Ocean Quest Adventures ( costs from $200 to $300 depending on the location and travel time required.

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