March 13, 13 | Fumiko Magota

Monbetsu Drift Ice Adventure 6 – Drift Ice Cruise “Garinko No. 2”

 

( Photo provided by Garinko 2)
 
Until March, the ice breaker Garinko 2 offers incredible drift ice cruises across the pure white, ice-covered waters of the Okhotsk sea.    
 
▲ The red boat looks so beautiful on the white ice.   You can enjoy the view of the ice from the comfort of a warm cabin, or from out on the deck.  
 
The difference between this ship and a normal ship is in the bow – on both the left and right sides, the ship is equipped with Archimedean screws.  If the boat becomes stuck on the ice, the six-meter long drills will rotate to break the ice to free the ship.
 
▲ The screws sound strong just by name!  They can break even very thick ice.  You can see the ice being broken very well from the windows of the first floor cabin. 
 
Garinko 2 captain, Shigeru Yamai explained that when the ship runs through the ice, it will tilt up but as the ice is broken, it will sink back float much lower on the water.  The power behind this movement always elicits some cheers or surprised yells from the guests. Captain Yamai also explained to me about the drift ice a bit.  
 
“Depending on when you see the ice, it will always have a different look to it.  Early in the season there is “lotus leaf ice” where thin sheets of ice seem to resemble lotus leaves floating on the water.  Then, as the ice begins to freeze together, it gets much thicker.    Though winter storms, the ice becomes more three dimensional.  It never looks the same, so I never tire of seeing mother nature’s beautiful art.”
 
▲ Thank you, Captain Yamai!  He answered all my questions as he did maintenance to the ship.
 
Hokkaido Likers recommends the Sunrise Cruise (see departure time list below).  Through the crystal clear, albeit painfully cold, air you can see the sun rise over the drift ice! 
 
▲ Breathtakingly beautiful. 
( Photo provided by Garinko 2 )
 
There is also a beautiful Sunset Cruise where you can watch the sun set over the ice, painted red by the sun.  Some people go out for both the Sunrise and Sunset cruises.
 
 
You might even get a chance to see seals, or even the protected Stellar’s sea eagles and white-tailed eagles resting on the ice. 
 
( Photo provided by Garinko 2 )
 
Be sure to try this cruise for yourself!
 
[ Garinko 2 ]
Phone / 0158・24・8000
Address / 紋別市海洋公園1番地
Open / Winter Season 1/20 – 3/31(For the Spring Season, check the homepage)
Garinko 2 Schedule / Departure times 6:00, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:10. 
Cruises last about one hour.  Reservation required.
Fee / Adult 3,000 Yen
Access / About 10 minutes by car from Monbetsu Bus Terminal
 
[ Model Course ]
〈Day 1〉
14:00 / Hokkaido Okhotsk Drift Ice Science Center - Giza http://eng.mg/33edf
or Mari san no ki http://eng.mg/69d38
15:00 / Okhotsk Tokkari Center
16:00 / Okhotsk Observation Tower
Dinner / Seafood at Rin http://eng.mg/23b5b
 
〈Day 2〉
06:00 / Garinko 2
From here you could also go to the Science Center
10:00 /  Dezuka Fisheries http://eng.mg/d24b0
11:15 / Okhotsk Monbetsu White Curry (Kitchen Shima or Hotel Okhotsk Palace)
 
※ Flights from Haneda to Monbetsu take about 1 hour 40 minutes.
※ Bus ride from Monbetsu Airport to Monbetsu Bus Terminal takes about 15 minutes. 
( Research, Photography, Composition by Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer – Fukko )
  • Monbetsu Drift Ice Adventure 6 – Drift Ice Cruise “Garinko No. 2”
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Fumiko Magota

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