Iceberg riding — there’s nothing cooler

Published on July 15, 2014
Mike Parsons, a Newfoundlander now living in Ontario, decided that a bergy bit grounded on the shore of Little Bay Islands looked rideable enough that he decided to climb aboard and have his wife take a photo.  Parsons said the fact his shorts froze to the ice surface helped him stay on. — Submitted photo

A man in Little Bay Islands decided to trade in his boat for a much more air-conditioned ride this weekend

Mike Parsons has a passion for salt water and amateur photography, so when he saw a small, grounded iceberg while on a boat ride with his wife, Georgina Parsons, he knew he simply had to mount it.

“I said it kind of looks like a horse or a Sea-Doo,” said Parsons.

“My youngest son is at the Calgary Stampede, so I said we should take a picture and send it to him of the Little Bay Islands stampede.”


Icebergs breaking up

“Usually the icebergs are big and dangerous, so you don’t want to be around them, but they’re breaking up and we were looking for a good photo opportunity. I was game for doing some bigger ones, but Georgina didn’t feel comfortable with that, so …”

According to Parsons, an iceberg is anything but a smooth ride.

“It was very slippery and very, very cold once I got up on top of it,” he said.

“It was very uncomfortable after about five seconds. Georgina was trying to get some good photos, and I was like, ‘hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!’”

Although the iceberg was extremely slippery and he had

nothing to hold onto, Parsons’ shorts managed to keep him in the saddle.

“My shorts actually stuck to the iceberg so that kind of grounded me to the iceberg and kept me there for a while.”

Parsons is no stranger to icebergs.

Growing up in Little Bay Islands, he and his friends used to go out to some of the larger icebergs in the bay and slide down them into the water.

“If you look at some of the icebergs, there are certain ones that you look at them and automatically think, wow that would make a great slide,” he said.

“I like to think I have a bit better sense now — but not all the time.”


Record year for bergs

Parsons says this has been a record year for icebergs near Little Bay Islands and he hopes to straddle a few more before summer ends.

“The first day we came there were 40 odd,” he said.

“There’s still a good 10 or 15 icebergs in the bay and they’re constantly breaking up. We’re out in the boat every day looking for photo opportunities, so no doubt I’ll be on another one before the icebergs leave the bay.”

His wife notes that in spite of their photo-ops, they are both truly mindful of the safety hazards icebergs can pose.  

“Both of us are all about safety and not going near the larger ones that might topple,” she said.

“I think it’s really important that people know about iceberg safety.”

Although they now work in Ontario, the Parsons come back to Little Bay Islands every year for the summer and hope to retire in the community.