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In-depth

By translating the mystique and purity of icebergs into an internationally-acclaimed product, the Iceberg Vodka Corporation has tapped into a recipe for success.
FEATURES
Singing icebergs
On the rocks
• Iceberg cowboy
Tracking monsters
• Oil and water
• Technology timeline
• The next frozen frontier
Ice heroes
The Northwest Passage
• Military muscle
Icy indicators
Profile: Ijsberg
DEPARTMENTS
• Knowledge Toolbox
• Cartographer’s table
• Just the facts

Iceberg cowboy
By Kathryn Carlson

Learn more:
• Iceberg cowboy
• How to lasso an iceberg

External links:
• Arctic Net News
• CBC: Boundary disputes
• Canadian archives - Exploration of the Northwest Passage
From small fishing boats to commercial ferries, the men of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Kean family have been master mariners for eight generations and iceberg-harvester Edward Kean wasn’t going to break the tradition.

"My father and his father’s father and so on have been captains on all sorts of boats for what seems like forever," says 47-year-old Kean. "It just seems natural for me to be out on the water, so I guess it’s in my blood."

Edward, known by his wife Marina as "Eddie," wrangled his first berg three decades ago and has been out on the water almost every harvesting season since. From mid-April to the end of December, Kean and his crew spend upward of 16 hours a day harvesting icebergs for Canada’s Iceberg Vodka Corporation.



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"Sometimes we have to be out on the water for two weeks at a time," explains Kean, who earned a Watchkeeping Mariners Certificate from the Ministry of Transportation. "Either you love being out there or you hate it – I happen to love it."

From daylight until midnight, Kean and his team of wranglers hunt down icebergs and use sturdy nets to hoist them onto the harvesting ship.

"Essentially, the berg is in the bag," he jokes. "But wrangling a five-tonne chunk of ice shouldn’t be taken lightly," he adds.

In fact, iceberg harvesting is quite dangerous because a berg could unexpectedly roll over or calve.

"No two icebergs are alike and you really have to respect their different personalities," says Kean. "You have to work very well with your teammates and you have to watch each other’s backs."

During the off-season, Kean says he helps develop new techniques for iceberg harvesting but adds that "it’s not all work and no play."

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