The Cambrian

My Turn: Got ice? What this burg needs is a 'berg

John Brannon writes about Cambria life weekly in The Cambrian.
John Brannon writes about Cambria life weekly in The Cambrian.

We're under way . Departure was without incident. Estimated travel time is 105 to 110 days — depending on weather and all the good luck we can acquire. Should arrive in San Simeon mid-July.”

With this terse message, one of the most astounding feats in the field of engineering has begun, and only time will tell if the undertaking will be successful.

“I’m telling you,” Rod Divining, head of the Hirst Corporation’s research and development division, announced on nation-wide prime-time television last night, “we have been ready to burst from keeping this project under wraps for the past five years. I can’t tell you how happy and excited I am that we are finally able to share this adventure with the world.”

This small-town columnist is more than overwhelmed by the magnitude of this breaking story. I’m not sure where to start in telling the unfolding of this unmatched engineering endeavor. Perhaps, at the beginning would be a good choice.

One of the side effects of


warming is the fact that many ice fields in the northern hemisphere are breaking up. Glaciers all over the world have shrunk or disappeared. Massive ice shelves have broken apart like jigsaw puzzles.

“As I was sitting at my desk a number of years ago,” Divining said during a press conference this morning, “I tried to imagine how we can turn this huge problem into something beneficial. The thought of all that ice wandering into warmer waters and melting away gave me an idea. Why not bring an iceberg to the Central Coast to solve our water shortage? The more I checked into the concept, the more the crazy thing made sense.”

Picking out an iceberg is similar to choosing a cantaloupe — you judge by the sound. Rather than rapping on it with a knuckle, scientists used a series of explosions to test the “ripeness” of the huge berg. Then a fleet of powerful tug boats connected to the monstrous piece of ice. Huge is hardly an appropriate description; the tugs are tethered to a section of ice the size of Catalina Island! We are talking of an island of ice, 12 miles long and as wide as 5 miles at some points, with a total area of 76 square miles.

This odyssey began near Homer, Alaska. The route will be down Kachemak Bay, through the Kennedy entrance between Kodiak Island and the Kenai Peninsula and into the Gulf of Alaska. The journey to San Simeon will take an estimated 110 days.

“This has been an investment of enormous funds. But we have come up with several ideas to create a return on our investment, as well as provide a plethora of family activities to be enjoyed,” Divining added.

“Not only will there be a nearly limitless source of pure drinking water, we will include attractions that will satisfy nearly every interest. First of all, there will be several hundred ice skating rinks from one end of the ice shelf to the other. Four or five landing strips will provide easy access to the hotels and entertainment venues. A motel is planned using igloos, rather than rooms. Dog sled race tracks will dot the frozen island, and pari-mutuel betting will be included. For homesick Minnesotans, ice fishing will be a favored attraction. After drilling deep holes in the ice, the recesses will be filled with water and stocked with fish. They’ll love this, by yumpin’ yimminy,” Mr. Divining joked.

Like Disneyland, robotic polar bears and wild animals will enhance the feeling of being in Alaska. And to top things off, all eating establishments will provide free glasses of ice tea. I’m telling you, we will have something for all types of families,” he concluded.

“And oh, we will never serve yellow ice cubes, no sir. You can be sure of that.”

Plans are being made to greet the strange flotilla when it arrives in July. The Hirst Corporation is hosting a picnic and music fest at San Simeon Cove to celebrate the arrival of this much-anticipated answer to our local water shortage. Mark your calendar, once the official date of arrival is announced. It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime event, by yumpin’ yimminy.

E-mail John Brannon at