The usefulness of the low resolution ERS.SAR imagery for the detection of ice in the waters off Cape Farewell is evaluated by comparing of the images with manual observations, photographs and video recordings, obtained from the ice reconnaissance aircraft from May- June 1994. All the images that were analyzed contained large backscatter due to capillary waves; even in moderate wind conditions (less than 5 m/s). Areas of open pack ice with concentration less than 6/10, which was common in the images, individual floes, which are small and medium (less than 200 m) in these waters, or groups of such floes, were completely masked out by the sea clutter. In some SAR images the backscatter from the water areas had large variability (perhaps due to local wind conditions); it was stronger or weaker than, or even same as, the backscatter from the neighboring regions of ice. In many cases, therefore, it was difficult, if not impossible, to identify the regions of ice and water using the ERS.SAR imagery. Nevertheless the images appeared generally good for monitoring the edges of fast and compact ice (with ice concentration of about more than 7/10).