Posts Tagged ‘ice’

Six years ago, Karen and I headed up the Hudson River (by car) to find ice. Three years ago we had to go farther north, to Québec City, to find ice. This year the ice came to us.

Today, with the temperature around 16 degrees Fahrenheit and the windchill somewhere south of zero, we took a tour with the New York City Audubon Society and New York Water Taxi to look for birds and harbor seals. We found wind (30–35 knots, with gusts much higher), waves, and lots of ice.

Icy harbor

Water taxi in the ice

The tug Chesapeake Coast enters the Buttermilk Channel between Governors Island and Brooklyn:

Chesapeake Coast

At least the ice helped calm the water:

Frozen buoy

Here’s a close-up of the ice at the entrance to Erie Basin:

Frozen harbor

And here’s the buoy marking the entrance:

Ice-covered buoy

After poking around in Erie Basin, we headed through the Narrows to Hoffman and Swinburne islands to see if we could find harbor seals. This is the crumbling pier at Hoffman Island (no seals):

Frozen pier

Then on to Swinburne Island. Still no seals (although the Audubon Society naturalist leading the tour claimed to have seen one poke its head up behind us), but plenty of birds:

Birds at Swinburne Island

This is what the boat looked like when we got back to the South Street Seaport:


Frozen boat

All in all a fun trip (the free hot chocolate helped a lot), and we did get to see some arctic birds that are only here in the winter.

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Three years ago Karen and I headed north up the Hudson River to check out the ice. This winter has been so mild, I doubt there’s much ice to look at on the Hudson. So to find ice we had to go farther—to Québec City and the St. Lawrence River.

The evening we arrived we climbed up to the Plains of Abraham for a big-picture view of the river. I don’t think you can see how cold it was, but you can see the wind on the water:

The next day we decided to get a close-up view of the ice, and we took the ferry across to Lévis. You can see the ferry at the bottom of the picture above. The ice was pretty thick, and the ferry had to push through the floes.

Some of them were big enough that the boat would shudder as it crashed into them:

Approaching Lévis:

Looking back toward Québec:

Looking at this view, I pretended I was on the deck of an Arctic icebreaker:

Québec and the Château Frontenac:

Back on the Québec side, we looked across to Lévis. Here you can see both ferries cutting paths through the ice:

A few miles to the east the St. Lawrence splits around the Île d’Orléans. The shipping channel runs to the south of the island, and the north side is allowed to ice over completely:

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