by P.J. Harston
Northern News Services
NNSL (NOV 25/96) - An iceberg half the size of Prince Edward Island that sheared off the coast of Antarctica could drift for 10 years before it melts, a scientist said earlier this month.
And I want to buy it. But, since it's not for sale, I'll acquire it the old fashioned way. I'll get a chopper, land on it, and declare it the republic of P.J.
The iceberg covered more than 3,625 square kilometres when it split from the east antarctic coast in May, said Neal Young, an Australian scientist working at the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre.
And it was originally about 87 kilometres by 44 kilometres. The biggest fragment, covering about 1,385 square kilometres, is grounded off the eastern coast.
Well, 1,300 square kilometres is enough for me to build a little cabin on, put in an airstrip and maybe set up my own bank -- perfect for rich people needing an off-shore, Swiss-style bank account in which to deposit their money.
In fact, maybe I'll call it "P.J.'s Swiss-Style Bank" and its motto will be: "Cold, hard cash, without the lineup".
The huge iceberg, first observed by a research ship, has sheer walls rising almost 50 metres above the water line and an estimated depth of more than 300 metres.
It's Perfect for bungee jumping and Acapulco-style cliff diving. (Which will go perfect with the casino-holiday resort I'm building).
Australia's Antarctic Division is tracking the vast fragments through U.S. weather satellites and European research satellites.
And if satellites are honed in on it, you know what that means! Yes, 99 channels of prime television, beamed directly into the Republic of P.J., free of charge.
At last check, the icebergs were moving with ocean currents at speeds of about five kilometres a day. It may be 10 years before they drift north into warmer water and melt.
So I'm going to have to act fast. This could very well be my last article for this newspaper. I'm going to have to find investors for my project, perhaps some of the development corporations out there in Fort Providence and Fort Resolution could help out.
I've got a buddy who works out of the Baffin Business Development Bank. Maybe he's got a lead on some money for this very important venture.
If you want to join me, just jot your name, address and phone number on a piece of paper and mail it too me care of this newspaper.
I'll call you from the iceberg, and maybe we can get together for a cold one. A real cold one.