Iceberg (season) right ahead! N.L. tours start May 1

Iceberg (season) right ahead! N.L. tours start May 1

They are majestic, best seen up close, offer a unique way of chilling beverages — and the iceberg tourism season gets underway in less than three weeks. 

"It's 18 more days. I'm counting them down now," said skipper Barry Rogers, who owns Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours, which has departures out of St. John's and Twillingate.

Business is already booming, he said on Wednesday. 

"We do a tremendous amount of online bookings and they're coming in by the dozens every day. So we're pretty happy about that."

Iceberg 'sweet spot'

Rogers said it looks to be a promising start to the season as "there are tons of bergs out there."

He hopes they stick around — specifically, in the sweet spot.

"When they come in along the shoreline, and go grounded, we are very happy about that," he told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show. 

Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours offers two-to-three-hour tours that can accommodate up to 100 people. Rogers said the time and maximum distance of each excursion are important calculations because the Atlantic Ocean is anything but predictable. 

'Bucket list destination'

Rogers said seeing an iceberg up close is truly a once-in-a-lifetime aspiration for a lot of people who come from across the world to visit the province.

"There are folks who have saved a half a lifetime to make this trip here to Newfoundland and Labrador. It's truly a bucket list destination."

Rogers said simply viewing an iceberg is a wondrous experience in itself, but some get the rare opportunity to hear a berg "talk."

"When the icebergs collapse, there's a lot of debris ice around the vessel and in the ice itself there are air bubbles that are pure oxygen ... And [the ice] of course begins to melt [in the water] and that hissing noise, like a bunch of cats hissing all the time," he said. 

Rogers said there is another added benefit to seeing icebergs while out to sea instead of from the shore. 

"I mean, a splash of Demerara rum or Newfoundland Screech over 12,000-year old-iceberg ice, it's medicinal, I tell ya," he said.

"Folks love it."