Here is something I’ve never had to contend with before – bergy bits. They might sound cute, but these mini-icebergs, calved from larger icebergs further north, are causing no small amount of consternation in the OAR camp.

A bergy bit - small by local standards - lurks in Quidi Vidi cove in St John's

The last few years have been relatively ice-free in Newfoundland, but this year is making up for lost time. Ice has been reported as far south as 44 degrees north, adding an extra hazard to the Grand Banks, which already included messy wave patterns and persistent fog.

Not for the first time, I am ruing the fact that rowers face backwards. This is going to make it hard to spot ice hazards ahead. Fishing boats going out at this time of year keep a spotter on watch at all times to avoid collision with bergy bits. We won’t have that option.

We have been putting the word out locally, and as I write, Naomi our project manager is down at the harbour searching for a vessel willing to escort us for the first 150-200 miles of our voyage. Loitering around docks is no way for a nice girl to be spending her afternoon. She says she has gathered a lot of phone numbers. Maybe some of them even relate to chartering a boat! 😉


Roz with Harry Spurrell, our host here in St John's



  • I wonder if a car mirror mounted high above the cabin would help you see icebergs – on the other hand it might get so splashed that it wouldn’t work. 

  • You might consider a small rear view mirror similar to those worn by some cyclist.  It clips onto the helmet — or a baseball hat.  They’re fairly effective once you get used to them. 

  • I’m sure a mirror similar to what has been suggested would be “somewhat” helpful, but it still does not provide the same visual field or acuity with which to spot the bergy bits far enough in advance to alter course.

    It seems having an escort is most probably the best option.

    ~ Cynthia (on the road again out in the Jemez Mtns of New Mexico)

  • Recommend a large rubber bumper… Maybe fashioned like an elephant seal 🙂

    Or a stick, tent pole.. Similar to a narwhal..

    Yes, I am being serious.. Cold water immersion is no joke. Carbon fiber hulls don’t like blunt force trauma…

    Row Roz Row!

  • Wow, Roz! Just a few months ago you were sharing your discoveries about pirates in the Indian Ocean. Then you found a workaround. Now, icebergs. Of course, it does not help to think we just witnessed the 100th year observance of the Titanic.

    You have very strong intuition and are sure footed to meet your goals. With your mind’s eye and nerves free of fear, project your path all the way to London and see if it is clear. If it is clear, then you know this expedition is meant to be.

    If it is not, then perhaps the expedition has become a greater inner journey.

    Praying for you both…


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