Most northerly Northwest Passage
Sep 20, 2012
by Tim Queeney
Morgan Peissel, Nicholas Peissel and Edvin Buregren and Belzebub II in the M'Clure Strait
A Path Through Ice expedition
Nicolas Peissel and and his sailing expedition partners Edvin Buregen and Morgan Peissel have just completed the first sailing transit of M’Clure Strait in history and the most “northerly” Northwest passage ever by sailboat. They called their effort 'A Passage Through Ice' Sailing Expedition. They crossed the infamous M'Clure strait in the Canadian Arctic on August 29, aboard Belzebub II, a Monsun 31 built in Sweden by Hallberg-Rassy in 1976. They finished their trip across the Arctic circle off the coast of Alaska.
The international expedition team consisted of Edvin Buregren, Nicolas Peissel and Morgan Peissel. The trio spent the last three months at sea on a 31-foot boat sailing from Newfoundland Canada to Greenland, through the Canadian Arctic to track the depleting polar ice cap and bring awareness to climate change. Peissel’s group issued the following statement on the reason for their trip:
"The Arctic is melting at an alarming rate and is clear proof of our disharmony with the planet. By sailing this newly opened route we hope that our expedition will play a small part in bringing further attention to climate change and contributing to a larger shift in attitudes. Our approach to sail across a historical stretch of water that has traditionally been frozen is meant to be a clear visual example of the extent of declining polar ice."
In the past, the Northwest Passage route required that vessels go from Baffin Bay to Parry Channel and then make a left turn into Peel Sound to Franklin Strait, Victoria Strait, past the town of Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, thence to Dease Strait, Coronation Gulf, Dolphin and Union Strait and then through Amundsen Gulf before reaching the Beaufort Sea and the northern coast of Alaska.
Peissel and crew, however, were able to head west through Parry Channel and then through M’Clure Strait to the Beaufort Sea, cutting off a big chunk of the standard route.