After a short period of temperatures below zero, the Markermeer was partly covered in a layer of ice of about one to two centimetres. As shipping on the Markermeer continues as long as the conditions allow, large fairways always cut through the ice.
When strong winds come up, especially when the thaw sets in, the ice is broken up, forming large plates which are pushed on top of each other and getting afloat. Depending on the direction of the wind, those plates are pushed ashore either on the western side of the Markermeer, near Marken and or Enkhuizen, or on the southern side, near Almere, or northeast near Urk or even Friesland.
Sometimes, it can be found in more than one direction. The sight of these 'icebergs' is very impressive. Piles of ice can reach more than a meter in height. It randomly stacked sheets of ice in different shapes reflect light differently. When sunbeams caress the ice, a magical image is created.
In old times, when the winters in Holland were much harsher, there were sometimes piles of ice several meters high. The lighthouse of Marken, nicknamed the White Horse, was then inaccessible. I still have some old photos of my mother that show this. Fortunately, conditions are milder nowadays. However, the sight of the ice pile can still enchant the landscape photographer, although not very often.
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