Sunday, February 19, 2012

Drift Ice in Friesland

Last week, most of the canals and lakes around the Netherlands were frozen. This week, the ice was melting and disappointing nearly 20,000 natural ice marathon skaters. The melting ice was also breaking apart, making it easier for the wind and currents to shove the ice into the banks of bigger water masses.

The drift ice started a strange phenomenon around a lake in the northern part of the Netherlands. Currently, the free floating ice is being pushed into piles and stacks of broken ice mountains along the shores of the Ijsselmeer.

Father and son, Jaco and Jan Engelsma standing on top of the Hindeloopen drift ice.
Standing on a pile of drift ice in Hindeloopen, IJsselmeer, The Netherlands, I interviewed a local Frieslander, Jan Engelsma. Coming from Texas with our only ice floating in tea glasses, I did not know the translation for 'kruiend ijs.' Now I do.

Video: What is 'kruiend ijs' or drift ice? 

On a very sunny Sunday, February 19, after news stories about the ice piled up on the lakeshores, the Dutch people traveled by car, bike and on foot to the banks and dikes of the lake to get a closer look and even climb the ice mountains.

Tammie (me) and buddy Martha in front of the drift ice formations on the Ijssellmeer.
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
To show my Dutch spirit, I too climbed with the help of my sturdy Meindl hiking boots. I'd guess the drift ice was 1 to 1.5 stories high. Not Mount Everest, no oxygen tanks needed, although you can hear me or some older, out of shape person behind me panting in the video. The structure of the ice was similar to ascending and descending a heap of slippery crushed glass. No falls. Tammie 1, Drift Ice 0. 

Today, I was a Texan, an American, in the Netherlands, in the Friesland province, climbing in German boots. I didn't have the proper number of flags for my victorious climb. 

Standing triumphantly, frozen, windblown and teeth clenched atop a glassy ice mountain. 

Links to more drift ice pictures:
Kruiend ijs bij Lelystad by (in Dutch)
Dutch Polar Landscapes Created by Thaw by Radio Netherland Worldwide (in English)

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