Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter ice adventures

This month, I have enjoyed traveling to exciting places with friends. A few weekends ago, we went to Abashiri way out in Eastern Hokkaido. There was a very short post from the road with a pic a while back.

I had never been to Abashiri before, so I was pretty excited to go. It’s not very easy to get to from the northern hinterlands. The crazy local trains to Asahikawa were actually quite a fun way to travel, even though the trip took forever! I had a good time chatting with a fun couple from Tokyo. They are about to finish university, and are just traveling around Japan before settling down, I suppose. They were quite surprised to see me get on the train. I was a bit surprised to meet them, too.

Once off the trains in Asahikawa, I met up with my peeps. Yay! We spent the night with a very kind ALT in town. The next day, we drove off to Abashiri!

We had to go through some mountainy areas, but it was snowing really hard. 110206_1349~03It was difficult to see anything. I was very glad I was not driving! One the way home, though, we had really nice weather, and those areas were beautiful! This photo is on the way home and does not do justice to the day!

Once in Abashiri, we went to grab some lunch, and saw a zillion other ALTs there. Hello, friends!

After eating, we made our way to the port. We bought our tickets for the sunset cruise, chatted with deluge of English speakers, and eventually made our way to the ice breaking ship.  110205_1731~01

Here she is, the Aurora! Isn’t she a beaut? I dunno – isn’t that what people usually say about boats?

Some passengers took refuge in the warm belly of the ship, but many of us made our way to the outdoor observation areas.

It felt like we would never leave! In the distance, the solid drift ice was visible, and a few chunks even floated into the harbor. I for one, was ready to go!

Eventually, we were on our way and headed for the ice. It was covered with snow, so in a way, it looked like we were about to drive the Aurora through someone’s yard. Of course, that would be one massive yard!CIMG2084 …Almost there…


Finally, we were there, smashing through the ice. It was really beautiful to see the soft lights of a winter’s evening melding with the colors of the sea and the snow-covered ice.

And yes, it was COLD! CIMG2101 But it was bee-yoo-ti-ful! This picture makes me a little dizzy…how about you?

And here is a video from my cellphone so you can sort of see what was going on. I’m prattling on about something, but you probably won’t be able to hear it!

Yes, this is my first video to post from my phone! Prepare for a deluge! Maybe…it turned out to be a lot of work! ;-)

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1 comment:

Sharon said...

What a weekend! I watched the video again this afternoon. Thanks so much for posting this glimpse into your life, Elizabeth. I never knew this type of event took place. I still think I would not be brave enough to get on a boat destined for ice!