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Tourists Can Enjoy Drift Ice Cruising on Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

February 13th, 2017

There are 2 sightseeing spots that tourists can enjoy the scheduled drift ice cruising in Japan. Monbetsu is one of the sightseeing spots. Drift ice drifts to the offing of Monbetsu around mid January. If common ships collide with the drift ice, those are broken, but drift ice icebreaker Garinkogo2 (流氷砕氷船ガリンコ号Ⅱ) that can break the drift ice zone goes into service. A lot of tourists visit here to see the drift ice from early January to late March. The drift ice icebreaker Garinkogo2 goes into service from 5 to 7 each day, and cruising time is around 60 minutes. The tourists can get aboard a ship at Kaiyokoryukan boarding point (海洋交流館).

Kaiyokoryukan Boarding Point
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Waiting Zone of Kaiyokoryukan Boarding Point
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Ticket Counter
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Drift Ice Breaker Garinkogo2
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

A characteristic of the Garinkogo2 is Archimedean Screw mounted to a front of the ship. The Archimedean Screw (アルキメディアン・スクリュー) can break ice with a thickness of 60 cm. The tourists can see the real thing and watch the movie on a tv. The seating capacity of this ship is 195. Because the ship is not a large ship, it becomes often full, so you would better make a reservation beforehand.

Drift Ice Breaking Drill
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Drift Ice Break Can Be Watched on Tv
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Front of Drift Ice Breaker Garinkogo2 Is Frozen for Too Cold
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Drift Ice Breaker Garinkogo2 and Okhotsk Tower
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Tourists Are Going on Board Ship
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Drift Ice Breaker Garinkogo2 Passed through Okhotsk Tower
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Drift Ice Zone Come into See
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

Chief engineer of the Garinkogo2 told me that a cold front with a low of -40 degrees celsius blows from the Siberia to Hokkaido and ice born in the Amur river drifts to the Sea of Okhotsk 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.

Tourists Get Excited for Seeing Drift Ice
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
I Look at Monbetsu Daisan Ski Resort
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Wake Is Clear
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

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."

Sea Is Covered with Drift Ice
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Very Cold! Weatherization Is Important
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

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.

Size of Drift Ice Are Clear
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Cabin
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Sheet of Drift Ice Zone
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu
Monbetsu Ryuhyo Festival Helds in Neighbourhood of Kaiyokouryukan Boarding Point
Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 in Monbetsu

Atmosphere of Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 Can Be Watched on Youtube

Movie of Drift Ice and Garinkogo2

Passage fare Adult: JPY 3000. Child: JPY 1500.
Parking lot Free parking is provided (100 cars)
Business hour 06:00-18:00
Regular closing day From late March to early January
Telephone number +81-158-24-8000
Home page Home page is here
Mapcode 801 615 009*32

Accommodations

Refer to following websites for the accommodations around Kaiyokoryukan.

Monbetsu Prince Hotel(紋別プリンスホテル)    
Monbetsu Central Hotel(紋別セントラルホテル)    
Hotel Okhotsk Palace(ホテルオホーツクパレス)    
Minshuku Sakura House Annex(民宿さくらハウス別館)        
Minshuku Sakura House Main Building(民宿さくらハウス本館)        
Kibarashikan(気晴館)      
Booking.com
Booking.com

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