For the folks for whom spring water just isn’t pure enough, there is $10-a-bottle iceberg water, melted from glacial Arctic ice frozen thousands of years ago — presumably free of minerals and post-Industrial Revolution pollutants and supposedly so pristine it has absolutely no taste.
And the men who go out and get the goods to satisfy those discriminating palates can be seen risking life and limb in “Iceberg Hunters,” premiering Tuesday, Sept. 18, on The Weather Channel.
Each May through August, Whyman, Dale and Travis Richards, a brothers-and-son team from St. Anthony, Newfoundland, ply the waters of “Iceberg Alley” off Canada’s Atlantic coast in search of the biggest game on Earth. When they spot their quarry, they load their rifles and fire, hoping to break off half-ton chunks they can sell to bottling plants.
Of course, this work isn’t without risk. The boat can’t get too close to these floating behemoths for fear of falling ice, hitting the submerged portion of the berg or having one roll over on top of them. Rough seas, fog and floating ice can also pose their own dangers to their relatively small 38-foot vessel. And the enormous ice chunks on deck can slide and crush crewmen.
The paydays aren’t huge either. Though a full load of ice can fetch $1,500 to $1,800, and a boat can potentially do three loads a day over the 120-day season, bad days, poor yields and melting whittle profits down into the five figures.
So if the work can kill you and the pay isn’t great, one can’t help but wonder: Why do it?
“I think they enjoy being together and being on the water,” executive producer Eli Frankel tells Zap2it. “They’ve been on the water for generations, and they literally built their boat from hand, which is pretty extraordinary. But I would not say it’s out of a passion and love for what they do.
“I think it’s like the same way they go crabbing in spring and fall months or moose hunting or duck hunting in the winter. They’re making a living, and they’re bringing in enough money to put food on the table, and that’s what counts. They’re proud, and there’s a real sense of energy out there. But it’s a job, and there’s a certain heroism in there as well.”