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Tourists Can Enjoy Drift Ice Cruising on Aurorago in Abashiri

February 14th, 2017

There are 2 sightseeing spots that tourists can enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan. Abashiri is one of the sightseeing spots. Drift ice drifts to the offing of Abashiri around mid January. If common ships collide with the drift ice, those are broken, but drift ice icebreaker Aurorago (流氷観光砕氷船おーろら号) and Aurorago2 (おーろらⅡ号) that can break the drift ice zone with the weight of themselves go into service. A lot of tourists visit here to see the drift ice from mid January to early April. The drift ice icebreaker Aurorago and Aurorago2 go into service from 2 to 5 each day, and cruising time is around 60 minutes. The tourists can get aboard a ship at the roadside station "Ryuhyo kaido Abashiri (流氷街道網走)".

Roadside Station "Ryuhyo kaido Abashiri"
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Vrey Long Line
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Aurorago2
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Look of Deck
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri

When I read Tweets, Drift Ice and Aurorago2 seem to be popular.

Aurorago and Aurorago2 are relatively big ships, and a characteristic of those ships is that its bow push down the drift ice with the weight of themselves and break the drift ice with technique of the continuous breaking ice (連続粉氷) or the ramming breaking ice (チャージング粉氷). In addition, those ships are large with reduced shake. The seating capacity of this ship is 450. Those ships do not make a small turn, but it is comfortable that the ships break the drift ice powerfully. Because 2 ships go into service depending on the number of the passengers, it is a unusual spot that tourists can enjoy a view with a combination of the drift ice and the ship. The ships are crowded very much during Abashiri Okhotsk Ryuhyo Festival (あばしり流氷まつり), so you would better make a reservation beforehand. By the way, those ships are used as Shiretoko cruising ship (知床クルーズ船) in a summer.

Boshi-iwa Rock Come into See
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Ship Head into Drift Ice Zone
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Tourists Get Excited
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri

As for the drift ice, a cold front with a low of -40 degrees celsius blows from the Siberia (シベリア) to Hokkaido and ice born in the Amur River (アムール川) drifts to the Sea of Okhotsk (オホーツク海) by the wind. Shiretoko Peninsula (知床半島) just plays a role as the net and the sea is covered with the drift ice closely from the offing Of Abashiri to the Shiretoko peninsula.

Drift Ice Zone
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Cabin
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Sea Is Covered with Drift Ice
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Close to Drift Ice
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri

I thought that all the drift ice was born in Russia. But the chief engineer of the Garinkogo2 said "The water of the Amur river flows into the Sea of Okhotsk, and sea water keeps on separating from freshwater for a period of time, and the concentration of salt in a part of freshwater lowers. Therefore, the seawater of the Sea of Okhotsk freezes at -1.8 degrees celsius, and the drift ice forms ice in Okhotsk. Until about 30 years ago, the drift ice seemed to be seen until June, but now it seems to be seen from late March to April because of influences of global warming." I heard a chief engineer of the Garinkogo2 (ガリンコ号Ⅱ) those talking.

Frozen World
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Cabin
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Drift Ice
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
It Looks Pond. But It Is Sea
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Aurorago Come into See
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
To Pass Aurorago on Sea
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Aurorago
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Size of Drift Ice Are Clear
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Wake Is Clear
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Beautiful Seawater
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri

In addition, earless seals, white-tailed eagles and steller's sea eagles can be seen on the dirft ice, if you are lucky. By the way, there is not always the drift ice. If you are unlucky, it is just crusing. Because it is considerably cold on the ship, Please make sure you will protect yourself against cold weather. You should bring disposable heating pads (使い捨てカイロ).

Cold!
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Too Cold, Tetrapods Freeze, too
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Drift Ice Zone and Aurorago in Distance
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Abashiri Ryuhyo Festival Helds in Neighbourhood of Boarding Point
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri
Staffs Wave Their Hand
Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising in Abashiri

Atmosphere of Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Drift Ice and Aurirago Cruising

Admission fee Free of charge
Parking lot Free parking is provided (400 cars)
Business hour 10:00-19:00
Regular closing day From late February to early February
Telephone number +81-152-43-0334
Home page Home page is here
Mapcode 305 678 311*83

Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around roadside station "Ryuhyo kaido Abashiri”.

Abashiri Royal Hotel(網走ロイヤルホテル)
Hotel Route-Inn Abashiri Ekimae(ホテルルートイン網走駅前)
Abashiri Central Hotel(網走セントラルホテル)  
Dormy Inn Abashiri(ドーミーイン網走)
Hokkai Hotel(北海ホテル)  
Abashiri Hotel Okhotsk Inn(網走ホテル オホーツク・イン)  
Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Okhotsk Abashiri Ekimae(東横インオホーツク・網走駅前)
Abashiri Green Hotel(網走グリーンホテル)  
Abashiri Ryuhyou-no-Oka Youth Hostel(網走流氷の丘ユースホステル)  
Hotel Sun Abashiri(ホテルサンアバシリ)
Minshuku Lamp(民宿ランプ)  
Booking.com

A page of Abashiri is here

Abashiri

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