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World-famous 'big and sexy' iceberg drifting from Newfoundland town, mayor says

A large iceberg is visible from the shore in Ferryland, an hour south of St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday, April 10, 2017. A towering iceberg stationed off Newfoundland's east coast is drawing dozens of people to the small shoreline community sitting in its shadow. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
A large iceberg is visible from the shore in Ferryland, an hour south of St. John's, Newfoundland on Monday, April 10, 2017. A towering iceberg stationed off Newfoundland's east coast is drawing dozens of people to the small shoreline community sitting in its shadow. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

FERRYLAND, N.L. — The world's most famous intact iceberg appears to be on the move.

Ocean currents appear to be sweeping the colossal iceberg away from tiny Ferryland, N.L., where it squatted this month and put the town of about 500 on the world's radar.

Mayor Adrian Kavanagh said onlookers started flooding into the town over Easter weekend, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic jams in pursuit of the perfect camera angle.

News of the frozen spectacle rippled through global media including The New York Times, CNN, BBC, Time, The Guardian and Russia's state-backed news channel, as well as outlets based in Australia, Japan, Germany.

One headline in the U.K.-based Independent made clear its fame: "How to Visit the Ferryland Iceberg."

Diane Davis, who runs the Newfoundland Iceberg Reports Facebook group, says she has seen hundreds of frozen slabs in her years as an amateur berg-hunter, but the Ferryland gem appeared to be a special find.

Based on photos, she admired the natural ice sculpture's ornate features — concave scoops and pinnacles protruding in different directions like a malformed crown. The peaks lurch towards the sky like a crystallized tsunami, and at the right time of day, Davis said, the sunlight refracts to give the berg a glassy-blue hue.

<Related: Visitors fill the web with photos of Ferryland iceberg>

"Every one (iceberg) has a got a shape and personality to it," Davis said. "It's so big and sexy ? and against the ocean, it's so photogenic, and that's why it's getting so much attention."

Davis had hoped to soon make the roughly four-hour trip from her home in Gander, N.L., to behold the frigid beauty sculpture in Ferryland, but she said multiple sources among her Facebook group's 4,500 members reported Sunday that the berg had drifted several kilometres southwest towards Aquaforte, N.L.

Kavanagh confirmed the iceberg had drifted, but said two more icebergs appear to be headed in Ferryland's direction — and if not, there's always next season.

"It's a great year for ice up along this way ... (but) you just continue on as you were," Kavanagh said in an interview. "It just happens to be there. It just dropped in, and it will float away."

Kavanagh said the berg's novelty may be somewhat lost on residents who live along the stretch of sea known as "Iceberg Alley."

He said Ferryland has recently received hundreds of visitors from across Canada, but most are from about an hour's drive away in St. John's. While photos of the iceberg have pervaded social media — including one of a helicopter looking insect-sized next to the imposing mass of ice — for Ferryland residents, he said, it has faded into a panoramic backdrop.

As temperatures rise, the icy monuments will soon wash into waves, but Kavanagh said he's confident that the town's terrestrial attractions —
such as picnics at the lighthouse, an archaeological dig site and dinner-theatre entertainment — will continue to lure a steady stream of visitors.

For those who favour ice, Davis said the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador are littered with hidden glacial colonies. Her Facebook group's photo gallery features dozens of icebergs of all shapes, sizes and surroundings.

By Adina Bresge in Halifax

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