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).
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.
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.
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."
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.
Atmosphere of Drift Ice and Garinkogo2 Can Be Watched on Youtube
|Passage fare||Adult: JPY 3000. Child: JPY 1500.|
|Parking lot||Free parking is provided (100 cars)|
|Regular closing day||From late March to early January|
|Home page||Home page is here|
|Mapcode||801 615 009*32|
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)|