There's money in icebergs


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Dave Gittins

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I've just been watching a remarkable little documentary about some chaps from Newfoundland who are onto a new money-making scheme.

In the spring, they send out a plane to find icebergs that are drifting along their coast on the Labrador Current. They are looking for fairly small bergs, maybe only 20 - 30 feet high. When they find a suitable berg, a small tug tows out a barge. The barge carries a large earthmoving machine, equipped with a big grab, in the form of a claw.

The tug and the barge are secured to the berg, after a check on its stability. The grab then picks up ice from the berg, taking about half a ton at a time. The ice is stored in tanks in the barge.

Back in St Johns, the water from the bergs is sent ashore and after testing for safety it it bottled and sold in stores. The sellers trade on the great age of the water, its purity and the general mystique that surrounds bergs.

From a Titanic fan's point of view, the interesting thing was the fragility of the bergs. Even a minor bump sends ice falling off them. When one overturned, the sight was spectacular, because the berg largely fell apart and bit went all ways.

I wonder if there's a web site.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I wonder just how pure some of that iceberg water really is? Anything trapped inside would include anything that went up in smoke into the atmosphere as well as any rocks picked up along the journey and anything that died on the spot and was entombed in increasing layers of ice over the centuries.

But what the hell...if they're making an honest buck off of it, more power to them.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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Honest buck? It's a con!
I don't know what the deal is with bottled water. Might be handy when the road's being dug up and your tap water turns to brown sludge, but just because it comes from some valley in Scotland (or iceberg in this case) that you've never heard of it doesn't necessarily make it any better than what comes out of your water filter at home.

I think I'd be questioning the purity of Iceberg water, too. Think of all the penguin poo and stuff. Urgh!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>I don't know what the deal is with bottled water.<<

Status and a lot of damned slick marketing. That's not to say it doesn't have some use, but you would do as well or better with a gallon jug of generic bought at the supermarket as you would with a horrendously expensive bottle of Evian. When you get down to it, it's the same stuff.
 

Jack Devine

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There was a major brand of bottled water in the US that actually said on the label, in exceedingly fine print, "Source: City of Miami Municipal Water Supply." Sure, it was purified, double-reverse-osmosified and dechlorified, but nonetheless they were being paid a ransom for something that is priced by the acre-foot. It just proves that if you put a fancy Chateau des Cretins label on something, people will overpay for it.

I have to confess there's an appeal to iceberg water. The ice sheet on Greenland, where these bergs most likely would originate, is up to 110,000 years old. Assuming that they remove the gravel and occasional walrus, it would be tempting to try a bottle. Once the novelty wears off, back to the tap.
 
Aug 15, 2005
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I have to confess there's an appeal to iceberg water.

I absolutely agree. Very similar to the French appeal to British Beef.
Just kiddin'. If the opportunity arose, I'd try it. Just once, though - water's water.

In fact, icebergs would be a brilliant way to douse the droughts in African countries, wouldn't it?
 
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During one of the expeditions to the Titanic wrecksite that I participated in last year, I berthed aboard the Sikuk, an old fishing trawler that had been converted to harvest iceberg ice for the so-called "iceberg" vodkas. The name "Sikuk" means "iceberg" in one of the Scandanavian languages...I forget which one.

Regardless, the crew made their living clawing ice off icebergs that pass through the Grand Banks, so there must be people willing to pay for the specialty; otherwise, who would have made the effort to convert the boat and sustain the crew?

You may question the wisdom of paying extra for iceberg water in your drinks, but if you are wondering if "iceberg water" actually comes from icebergs, then I can assure you that there are people who make their living chasing after icebergs just to get their ice. If the company is reputable, then chances are good that the water is what they claim.

Myself, I haven't had any of the drinks made with water from icebergs, as far as I know. We drank sodas, beer and wine aboard the Sikuk.

Parks
 

Kammy Tribus

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This is for Ryan whose comment about penguin poo in icebergs had me in stitches. So Ryan, here's how you can make some money off this latest bottled water craze.

First, start a wild internet rumour that there is some recently discovered element in penguin poop which reverses the aging process, whether by ingestion or by washing your face in it. Point out that iceberg water can be loaded with the stuff. Then buy stock in any of these companies, particularly if they happen to have the word "penguin" (or a picture of one) as part of their label. Now, sit back, watch the financial pages, and let the money roll in! By the time Happy Feet comes out on DVD, maybe you will have the money for a brand new home theatre system.
happy.gif


Cheers!

Kammy
 

Kammy Tribus

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One more thing, I went ahead and googled both "iceberg water" and "bottled iceberg water". The former produced the best results but I admit I didn't look beyond the first page. There is a company in Canada that makes both iceberg water and iceberg vodka. They have a flashy website and I didn't spend too much time looking at it. I'll go back later. I also found an article about a plan for part of an Inuit tribe in Canada to try building a business out of iceberg water. It was interesting.

Now the very best stuff, IMO, that I found in my search are those paid ads that come up on the right side of your google search. Like the one about finding iceberg water on ebay or at Target. Huh? I did not find it on ebay and was too lazy to look at Target. Buy hey, you folks have given me a perfectly fine and fun obsession for the next few days. Ahhh, it's always nice to hang out with creative souls. Especially ones with a rich sense of humor!

Cheers!

Kammy
 

Jack Devine

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I hate to dash a bucket of cold icemelt on anyone's gilded vision of penguin poo wealth, but it may be helpful to remember that penguins tend to live in Antarctica. Around Greenland, where the icebergs come from, there's a whole lot of penguins not there.
Not that this should stand in the way of a good marketing plan. This ice can be thousands of years old, so clearly it has "defied the ages." Tremendous riches are just a few good lies away.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Not that this should stand in the way of a good marketing plan.<<

Trust me...it won't. The nature of marketing is to play up something in such a fashion that people will desperately want something that would make no logical sense otherwise, and get them to pay top dollar for something they could easily pick up themselves for practically nothing.

Don't believe me?

Two words for you; "Pet Rocks"

"Nuff said!
 
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