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Drift ice

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Drift ice

Drift ice

The drift ice is formed from the fresh water of the Amur River in Russia, which then traverses through the Sea of Okhotsk by the borders of China until it reaches Abashiri. The drift ice can be seen at Shiretoko Peninsula all the way to Wakkanai, but it is the thickest in Abashiri. The natural phenomenon usually reaches the northern part of Hokkaido in mid to late January. However, due to global warming the drift ice is not as thick as it was back in the 1980s. To promote awareness of the changes in climate, Abashiri has the Drift Ice Festival to remind people to take care of our environment. Ryuhyo Norokko is a train service that only operates in the winter goes from Abashiri to Shiretoko- Shari. On the one-hour train ride you can see the drift ice along the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk. There is a sightseeing cruise that goes out into the Sea of Okhotsk that uses the ice breaker cruiser Aurora. It plows through the ice at 3 knots per hour. Under the drift ice you might encounter Clione, which are small floating sea slugs, also known as sea angels.