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Photo of Southport iceberg (Newfoundland) published by Reader’s Digest

(Version française de ce texte)

Happy New Year everyone!

For my first post of 2013, I thought I’d share one of the great excitement I had during the holidays: seeing one of my photos in a Reader’s Digest publication.

The book A Country for All Seasons was released in November 2012. It is a collection of 280 photographs taken by Canadians all across the country and in all seasons. Most, if not all of these photos, were published at one point in the Our Canada magazine.

Here is my photo which was featured in the book:

Iceberg and the community of Southport, Random Sound, Newfoundland

Iceberg and the community of Southport, Random Sound, Newfoundland

Here is page 47 where it appears. Not sure why they decided to put it in the spring section as the photo was taken in July but, it doesn’t really matter, it’s there!

Southport Iceberg appearing in the "A country for all seasons" book

Southport Iceberg appearing in the “A country for all seasons” book

Hard to believe it will be 10 years this July 8 that the photo was taken. Good thing I had written down the story behind it when it was fresh in my memory:

In July 2003, with a couple of friends, I traveled throughout Newfoundland and Labrador hoping to have a glimpse of some icebergs along the way. On our first day on the road, we stopped at the tourist office in Goobies and asked if, by any chance, there were any icebergs in the area. “Yes! A big one arrived last night in Southport”, the young lady answered. Obviously, the word “big” caught our attention. We checked on the map and Southport was just 16 kilometres away from the Trans-Canada highway. We unanimously decided that we should not miss this opportunity.

As we were driving along route 204 we saw in the distance a little white dot floating in Random Sound. Our first impression was that the lady had overestimated the size of the iceberg but just in case, we thought we’d check it out anyway. Good thing we did as what we were seeing was just one side of it and it happened to be the narrowest. When we arrived in Southport, the sight was astonishing! We were amazed and so were the locals who, even though they were accustomed to icebergs, had never seen any this size before. One of the fishermen present evaluated its length to at least ¼ mile (400m) and, its depth underwater to at least 18 fathoms (33m). The iceberg had been sitting at the other end of the bay for about a month when, the night before, it decided it was time to move and came to place itself right in front of the little village. When people woke up that morning, they had this giant in their backyard. What an amazing view!! Some fishermen explained that on the other side, there were six waterfalls, a sight that could only be seen from a boat.

Tourists and locals admiring the view

Tourists and locals admiring the view

For the next two weeks, we invited every tourist we encountered to make the detour by Southport. We sighted a few more icebergs during the remainder of our stay but, in comparison, they looked like a small ice cream scoop.

On our way back to St. John’s, we couldn’t resist stopping by to see what had become of the iceberg. To our disbelief, all that was left were four much smaller pieces. One of the local men we had chatted with during our first stop recognized us and explained that, the day after our visit, the iceberg broke up into two sections. And, just the night before our return, at about 8PM, a thunderous noise that lasted for about 3-4 minutes was heard before one of the sections of the iceberg further broke up into three sections causing huge waves that swept the beach.

What was left of the iceberg two weeks later.

What was left of the iceberg two weeks later.

Our trip to Newfoundland was filled with awe-inspiring vistas but the Southport iceberg was definitely the highlight of the trip. Unfortunately, it has now vanished. We still can’t believe how lucky we were to be driving by just at the right time. A day earlier, the iceberg would not have arrived. A day later, it would have already been diminished. We had the privilege to be part of the few people who immortalized this sight.

Another nice surprise awaited me as I flipped through the book. A photograph taken in Churchill, Manitoba by my friend Bruce Raby from Perth, Ontario was included in the book and made it on the back of the jacket! I recognized the photo right away as Bruce sent it to me a few weeks ago in an email describing his upcoming photo exhibit at the Studio Theater in Perth. Wouldn’t you agree that this is a photograph deserved to make the book’s jacket?

Bruce Raby's photograph of two polar bears taken in Churchill in November 2010.

Bruce Raby’s photograph of two polar bears taken in Churchill in November 2010.

So, if you’re in the Ottawa area, stay tuned for more information on Bruce’s exhibit that will be held in February. As well as polar bears, Bruce will be exhibiting, among other subjects, photographs taken along the Newfoundland coast as well as in Northern Labrador.

Have a great day! Talk again soon!
France Rivet

3 comments to Photo of Southport iceberg (Newfoundland) published by Reader’s Digest

  • deannie S Fraser

    Hello Doug
    Lovely photo, no wonder Reader’s Digest had the good sense to publish it! Do you recall if there was a polar bear cub reported to be on the ice at this time? I was in NFL with an artist friend that same year and trying to track down this story. Your help would be appreciated. With thanks,

  • France

    Hello Deannie,

    Thanks for taking the time to put a comment about the Southport Iceberg. Glad you like the image. Unfortunately, I do not recall anything about a polar bear cub back in 2003. I remember reading about a polar bear drifting on an iceberg and making its way down to Twillingate but I think it was less than 10 years ago.

    Hope someone who will read this post will eventually have the answer for you. Good luck with you research.

  • Is the photo of the iceberg in Southport for sale? I am from SOuthport and would like to have a copy of it.

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