ICEBERG DEAD AHEAD. It's a line that went down in history - like the ship the iceberg sank. No one knows for sure if the lookouts on RMS Titanic actually said those words, but thanks to James Cameron's film, I did inside my head as we approached an iceberg, 95 years after another ripped the heart out of the doomed liner.
Our berg was somewhat smaller than the one that brought about the most famous shipwreck story of all time, but that didnt make it was any less dangerous. It was more dangerous.
Icebergs come to Newfoundland to die, and a dying berg breaks apart from time to time. The last place you want to be is around a splitting berg - unless you want to end up as mushy fish food.
Careful inspection is, therefore, required before getting wet. Luckily, I was with experts. Rick Stanley of Oceanquest Charters in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, has dived around lots of icebergs. So as we motored slowly around this one, Ricks eyes scanned for faults and his ears listened for cracks.
I, on the other hand, took the opportunity to be impressed. It was hard not to be, when confronted by such gracefully sculpted lines and curves, all created by nothing more than water, air, cold and sunlight.
Newfoundlands bergs drift south on the Labrador Current from the carving Greenland ice-shelf. They take two to three years to reach the northern bays of Newfoundland, which may be where the Titanic killer ended up. Iceberg season here runs from March to June, but last year it had more ice and lasted longer, which may be because the Greenland ice-shelf is not just carving - its dying.
The next few years could see much more ice around Newfoundland, which is a boon for divers and iceberg-watchers (yes, they exist), but testament to a climatically changing planet.

THE GREENLAND ICE SHELF carves naturally, and has done for thousands of years, but in recent years the ice-shelf has been melting and breaking up in unprecedented amounts. And this berg was one of the advance guards.
The berg was most of the way down Conception Bay, which lances into the Avalon Peninsula on the eastern edge of Newfoundland. It had moved down towards Bell Island at a snails pace for the past few days and, luckily, the day we decided to dive around it, the weather was calm and sunny.
Even so, we left harbour early to ensure that the suns power wasnt melting the ice too quickly, which increases the risk of break-up.
The berg was massive. I felt like a little boy standing next to a shirehorse - and that was at the surface. Only one-tenth of an icebergs mass is visible - the term tip of the iceberg arose for a reason.
And what a tip it was! Set against blue water and sky, there was only one English word to sum up this sleek whiteness - pure. Around it the waters hue was a light blue for a good few metres, showing just how far out the ice extended below the surface.
Being several thousand years old, the water frozen in the berg was locked away from the world long before humans decided to poison it, which is why I didnt hesitate to crunch on a small piece that was floating nearby.
It tasted as beautiful as the scene looked.

WE KITTED UP A SHORT WAY from the berg, and I took a little longer than usual as this was a new kind of dive environment for me.
Swimming towards a block of frozen water the size of a family home produced weird feelings.
I was as nervous as an eight-year-old approaching a Doberman, but I gave an OK signal when we reached the white wall. Below me, the dark water was filled with an eerie glow as the light suffused through the ice.
Beneath the surface, I dropped into a world of noise. It was like diving into a champagne-filled swimming pool.
Every diver knows that Jacques Cousteau was either lying or hard of hearing when he described the subaquatic environment as the silent world, but this was something else.
Through my hood, I could hear cracks, bursts and loud effervescence as the ice gave up its trapped air.
All those tiny air bubbles are untainted by anything man-made, unless you count a reindeer-antler club, because thats about as sophisticated as tools got when this ice was made.
Also, being made from snow, glacial icebergs are fresh water, so the melt water has a lower density than the surrounding sea. This creates an ascending current next to the berg.
As I descended, I could see a stream of it pouring out from under an overhang of ice, creating a bizarre, shimmering, inverted waterfall.
Right next to the berg, the mixed water messed up my buoyancy, and I rediscovered my early diving days, when buoyancy control was a mythical beast that Captain Nemo kept on a leash.

WE DESCENDED TO 20M - a safer place to be than at the surface. The light may be better up there, but even a small piece falling off a berg would be the size of a dining table. Your average dining table would win any battle between it and my head, so deeper was better.
Also, if the berg cracked and split in a more serious manner, the deeper we were the greater the chance of swimming away from the pieces of ice, which would obey the laws of physics and shift with the force of a freight train.
The wall of glowing ice rose vertically above me. Looking up it, I could see that the surface was like a giant golf-ball, pitted with small dimples and hard to the touch, but it was a different hardness to rock or metal. Its hard to describe, but it almost had some give in it.
Around me, I could see several coldwater invertebrates - comb jellies and sea butterflies primarily, which are swept down, like the bergs, in the Labrador Current. Their movements reminded me that I too was drifting slowly. There was no perception of it. The seabed was 10m below and out of sight but, as it had been doing for several years, the berg was still moving southwards into the Bay.
Soon its journey would be over as it grounded on the rocks, but for now we drifted with it, watching the wall move up and down slightly as the berg bobbed in the slight swell.
We circumnavigated the berg in about 20 minutes, and slowly ascended.
The sense of awe and fear the lookouts on the Titanic must have felt ran through me a little as I surfaced and looked up at the massive block of ice.
As I bobbed there, waiting for the boat, I had visions of being a lemon slice in a gin and tonic. In a way, I was the odd thing out in the water, yet I felt comfortable in the leviathans presence.
This berg came here to die, and many like it will follow. But few will provide quite so much joy to divers.

ON PAPER, swimming around an iceberg looks kind of dull. You drop to 20m and swim around a bit. In reality, it was one of the most outstanding and memorable moments of my diving life.
Icebergs are just one of the draws for divers to Newfoundland. There are several outstanding WW2 shipwrecks off Bell Island (A New World Of Wrecks, February 2007), a must for wreck fanatics and diveable year-round.
Yet Newfoundland has a seasonal spectacular. In early summer, if you time a visit right you could be surrounded by thousands of small fish called capelin that come here to spawn. They in turn attract whales and seabirds.
Wildlife-watching is a staple of the tourism industry here. On land you can marvel at elk, moose, bald eagles and ospreys. Under water, the best place for wildlife-spotting is either around the wrecks or off the shore, as the shallow bays are a haven for marine life.
When not diving, enjoy the scenery. The island is lushly forested in some places and stark and rugged in others, and for anyone who likes a walk there are several trails around the coast. The East Coast Trail is the best known, but others are well-marked, but little visited.
History buffs are served by the well-preserved heritage of Newfoundlands fishing communities dotted along the coastline. Several were resettled in the past, but the crumbling remains are still there to find. Irelands Eye is one of the most impressive.
Newfoundlanders are quintessentially welcoming. The diving opportunities are diverse and always interesting and exciting in equal measure.
For the adventurous diver who wants something very different from coral reefs, this North Atlantic island might just be the place for you in 2009.

FACTFILE
GETTING THERE: Newfoundland has a direct flight from London Heathrow to St Johns operated by Air Canada. The flight takes only five hours. Newfoundland is much the same size as the UK but with a fraction of the population. Car hire is easy to arrange.
DIVING & ACCOMMODATION: Ocean Quest Adventure Resort, Conception Bay South, is the areas premier dive centre and specialises in taking divers to the WW2 wrecks off Bell Island or on further-afield expeditions to unexplored areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. The centre has a well-stocked dive shop, charter hard boat and RIB, and a comfortable lodge, www.oceanquestadventures.com
MONEY: Canadian dollar.
WHEN TO GO: Most people visit in summer but winter diving offers exceptionally clear water. Go between March and June for iceberg diving.
PRICES: A seven-day iceberg adventure with accommodation and Bell Island wreck diving costs £1295. Flights cost from £326.
FURTHER INFORMATION: www.newfoundlandlabrador.com