Explorer The Wonderland. Eastern Hokkaido Explorer The Wonderland. Eastern Hokkaido

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  • Eastern Hokkaido of winter
  • Eastern Hokkaido of winter

    Come and play on the drift ice and dance on the ski slopes.

    If you speak of winter, drift ice has to be mentioned.
    The sea water of the Sea of Okhotsk mixes with the Amur River which flows north towards the Siberian continent at its estuary and then freezes forming drift ice.
    Slowly drifting south, it comes alongside the piers of Monbetsu and Abashiri around the beginning of February closing off access to the sea.
    Drift ice was once seen as a nuisance which prevented fishing but nowadays the intense cold which Mother nature creates can be experienced by visiting this spot for sightseeing.
    Drift ice-watching cruises on icebreakers have become popular.
    The “Garinko” icebreaker departs from Monbetsu port and the “Aurora” departs from Abashiri port, these icebreakers plow through the fields of drift ice which can be as much as 1meter thick with a compelling force.
    If you are lucky, you may well come across a seal or a Steller's sea eagle resting on the drift ice.