Saturday, November 18, 2006

Iceberg for sale!

Kiwi iceberg. We've been having the worst weather recently. It's been a seemingly endless winter, cold and rainy and pretty unpleasant, but I think this spring is even worse. Torrential rain, howling gales, very little sun. Seems like it's never going to end.

In the midst of all this we're now apparently being invaded by a whole herd of icebergs.

A few weeks ago we heard that about 100 icebergs were heading this way from Antarctica, believed to have either broken off the Ronne ice shelf, or possibly from Ross Sea (on Antarctic's north coast). Most of them have now melted and broken up, but there are still a couple of huge ones sailing merrily towards Dunedin.

On Wednesday two icebergs - one about 500m long, 50m wide and 60m high, the other with a 100m-high peak and about 300m long - were reported only 43 nautical miles off the Otago Peninsula and heading towards the coast. By Thursday at least one was was visible from Dunedin.

Helicopter landing on our iceberg. Local kiwis - being natural entrepreneurs (and naturally curious) - have set up helicopter flights and sightseeing boat trips to take people to the icebergs for a closer look. The last time an iceberg was visible off the coast of NZ was in 1931.

A helicopter actually landed on one of the bergs, dropped off a few reporters and took samples for scientific analysis (see pic), but as the ice is melting and the icebergs are pretty unstable it's been decided that this stunt is now too dangerous to be repeated. Look, but don't touch!

The thing I like most about this interesting phenomenon is that another enterprising Kiwi by the name of mikeloder has jokingly put one of the icebergs up for sale on TradeMe. The current highest bid is $99,999,999.00 and there have been over 72,000 page views so far. It's listed under Antiques & Collectables/New Zealand & Maori (where else) and has attracted a huge number of hilarious questions to the seller, which Mike has been cheerfully answering with an equal level of hilarity.

Mike's initial description of the iceberg is brilliant:

In good condition. Some small stains - should come out.

About 100 by 300 metres. Could be bigger underneath. Most are.

Got from Ronne Ice shelf about six years ago.

Girlfriend doesn't like it and says it needs to go.

Buyer must collect.

These are some of my favourite questions and answers so far:

Q. If i purchased now, would you be able to hold it til next weekend? i have to borrow my brother in law's ute. posted by: mrchampionsound
A. Thats fine mate. I may not be home but I will leave it out for you.

Q. You said there may be more of it underneath. If it comes closer to shore and touches the sea bed will I still own it, or will the maori own it? posted by: ramsett_nz
A. Any shellfish on it are theirs, berg yours.

Q. Hi. do you have these in any other colours? Thanks. posted by: tash311
A. No sorry. Besides, you dont want the yellow icebergs.

Q. Hey there, from what i understand, the mileage on this thing is crazy... anything on the plus side for me to consider in light of that fact? posted by: akage
A. True - but not for its age. Had regular servicing.

Q. is it house trained my last iceberg left stains all over the floor and does it get on well with kids posted by: feelthelove
A. Yeah - burgs can be a handfull. We would leave kids with this one all the time. They slide for hours. Most come back.

Q. I was wondering if the iceberg qualifies in size to be considered sovereign soil, ie was I successful in winning this auction could I move onto it, declare my own republic and proceed to marry several wives, some of them my sisters? posted by: cavematty
A. Sorry mate. Key word here is 'Soil'.


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Anonymous said...

Dear Kiwi,

Ive been buying and selling icebergs for about 5 years now
and it seems like yours is overpriced? Please advise...

Jodi M.
Icebergs "R" Us

webweaver said...

Ah well you see Jodi it's a Kiwi iceberg, and consequently very rare indeed (last one seen in 1931), so it fetches a premium price, unlike the other common-or-garden "Titanic" varieties.

Anyway, you're a bit late - it's melted. However, we saved all the melt water (because we're enterprising Kiwis and that's what we do) and stored it in one of the Southern lakes, so next winter, keep your eyes peeled and you might just bag yourself a bargain.