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Meet the 'iceberg hunter': Man has been selling glacier water for 20 years.


King's Point, Canada — Canadian Edward Kean is known as the "iceberg hunter": for 20 years he has been taking advantage of the trade in this glacial water, brought about by the melting of glaciers.

Every morning, with the first light of dawn, the 60-year-old captain of the fishing vessel Green Waters throws himself overboard with his three sailors to harvest his "white gold", the ice, in the so-called corridor of icebergs of the Great North.

The high iceberg season is coming to an end this year as temperatures soar. "When you get here, icebergs melt very quickly," says the captain.

Kean extracts water from these frozen blocks and sells them to local merchants who bottle them, mix them with alcohol, or use them to make cosmetics.

"They will melt in a few weeks and return to nature anyway, so we don't harm the environment, we just use the purest water we can find", he explains.

Accelerating global warming in the Arctic accentuates the melting of the ice floes — ice banks formed by the freezing of seawater — increasing the formation of icebergs. With this phenomenon, business is doing well, but, from the iceberg to the establishments, the days are long and the work is hard.

In one day, mariners can travel more than 20 kilometers to reach an iceberg recorded on the satellite. Once at the foot of the colossal white wall, Kean pulls out his rifle, aims and fires several times so that a chunk of iceberg comes out. The shots don't always work the first time.

After that, sailors sail with a motorboat to find chunks of ice that have broken off. Then, with the help of a pole and a net, they tie the pieces to the hook of a crane attached to the main vessel.

The pieces of icebergs, which can weigh up to two tons, are placed on deck, where they are hit with an ax to turn them into smaller fragments that are stored in 1,000 liter tanks, where they melt.

Market niche

In total, they collect around 800,000 liters of water between May and July, the peak season for icebergs. Local buyers pay a dollar a liter to buy the precious water.

Iceberg water, supposedly pure because it was frozen long before the air pollution brought by the Industrial Revolution, is now coveted by brands that want to seduce a specific industry with high-quality products.

"We are trying to reach the niche market of healthy foods and products," explains Captain Kean.

Dyna-Pro, the captain's customer, fills carefully designed glass bottles with iceberg water and sells them for about $12 each.

"Today, with glacial water, we have probably grown more than ever. We export our bottles to Europe, Singapore, Dubai, and we have just signed with clients in the Middle East," says Kerry Chaulk, the company's manager.

Auk Island Winery, in the tourist town of Twillingate, makes a berry liqueur with iceberg water that costs between $8 and $70 a bottle.

"We use iceberg water because it's the cleanest and most translucent available on the planet, and it gives a very pure flavor to everything related to it," says Elizabeth Gleason, an employee at the brand's small store.

Consequences of Warming

Melissa Axtman, an American tourist whose family is from Newfoundland, sees nothing wrong with locals taking advantage of natural phenomena as a source of income.

"Thirty years ago, I hadn't seen a single iceberg, but times have changed," says Melissa.

The growth of icebergs in Canada is one of the symptoms of accelerating climate change in the Arctic, which warms three times faster than the rest of the world.

Despite the excellent reception of water from the iceberg, the Green Waters crew remains small and the collection tools remain virtually the same since the end of the last century.

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