Sailboat navigates once-frozen Arctic waterway

September 11th, 2012 in Earth / Earth Sciences
A photo released in 2007 by the European Space Agency shows an Envisat ASAR image of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming.


A photo released in 2007 by the European Space Agency shows an Envisat ASAR image of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming.

A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming.

The Swedish sailboat, the 9.4 meter (31 foot) Belzebub II, navigated through McClure Strait, northernmost waterway on the edge of the Canadian Northwest Territories.

The crew—American Morgan Peissel, Canadian Nicolas Peissel and the Swedish owner of the vessel, Edvin Buregren, 35—said it was the first time that a vessel other than an icebreaker had breached the passage.

They chronicled their three month long expedition on their website belzebub2.com.

The voyage took them from Newfoundland, Canada to Greenland and through the , on their quest to document the rapidly dwindling and to bring awareness to the .

"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," they wrote on their site.

"The Arctic is melting at an alarming rate and is clear proof of our disharmony with the planet," they wrote.

"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."

The vessel is due to sail into Nome, Alaska, on Wednesday.

(c) 2012 AFP

"Sailboat navigates once-frozen Arctic waterway." September 11th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-09-sailboat-once-frozen-arctic-waterway.html