Osoyoos photographer captures unique ice disc clusters

Rare sight of ice disc cluster

An Osoyoos photographer who likes to join his wife for walks around the area and share photos of their ventures spotted something unusual at Haynes Point last Saturday (Jan. 23).

“I always bring my camera,” Greg Reely said. “This day was quite cold out, I think it was around -5 C or something.”

The pair ventured down to the water, right along the beach where the rocks are and Reely spotted some interesting ice formations sitting on Osoyoos Lake. He said they are often formations from just a little bit of wind and the water moving around, but these looked different.

“I noticed these bubbles, I thought they were just air bubbles because I've seen something like that before. I've seen moving bubbles around but not frozen like that, so it kind of caught my eye. ‘Oh that's interesting what's that?’”

Reely got closer to the strange ice and captured the interesting sight on his camera.

Michael Church, a UBC Geography Professor whose research area studies water, ice and landscapes, said that his guess is that these are ice discs.

“Formed from irregular pieces of ice that are rotated in the current so that the irregular edges are knocked off by collisions with other pieces. Notice that they are sitting adjacent to a through-flowing current of water,” Church explained in an email.

“The edge of the current will start the ice piece rotating so it becomes round. As new pieces arrive, the older pieces are pushed back, so long as there is room, so that the 'field' of discs builds up.”

“They're not air bubbles, they're ice discs!” Reely added. “These are frozen in time, very unusual.”

When Reely shared the pictures on Facebook, he said he got quite the response from people.

“First time I've seen those but I think the first time for a lot of people, based on the response,” he said. “They're like ‘Wow this is amazing, I've never seen these. I had no idea what they were.’”

Reely also runs a local photography group in the area, that hasn’t met up in several months due to the current health mandates, but he finds another way to share his passion.

“I do take an unusually large amount of photos and I just thought why don't I share them. So many people take photos and just leave them on their phones.

“I decided a few months ago to just start sharing the photos and share my walks so people that can't get out, whether they're immobile or they can't walk very far, they can sort of see and enjoy the walks with me.”

The response back is warming for Reely, with replies like 'I love going on a walk with you.”

“[They say] I haven't seen Haynes Point from that viewpoint or they get to see the town from a different angle.”

Find more of Reely's photography here.

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