September 25, 2012
A Climate Change Adventure: The Arctic’s Melting, So These Guys Sailed Across It

Every winter, like clockwork, the sea ice that covers the Arctic thickens and grows. And then every summer, the Earth tilts its Northern Pole toward the sun and some of that ice melts away.
But not all of it. Even in the summer months, many of the northern channels and passages that connect the Atlantic to the Pacific are blocked off by ice. For centuries European explorers searched for a passage unsuccessfully, until 1906 when an expedition led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made it across. Since then, better boat and navigation technology have enabled more regular crossings, but the most northern routes have remained off-limits for all but the strongest, diesel-powered, extra-fortified, ice-breaking boats.
Until this year, when three men made the complete Northwest crossing through the M’Clure strait (the northernmost of the direct routes) in the Belzebub II — a sailboat with no fortification. Previously, the only boats that had made it through M’Clure were ice-breakers, and none had been able to complete the pass through Viscount Melville Sound after shooting through M’Clure. Usually only either the sound or the straight are open to boats, but not both at once.

Read more. [Image: Belzebub II]

A Climate Change Adventure: The Arctic’s Melting, So These Guys Sailed Across It

Every winter, like clockwork, the sea ice that covers the Arctic thickens and grows. And then every summer, the Earth tilts its Northern Pole toward the sun and some of that ice melts away.

But not all of it. Even in the summer months, many of the northern channels and passages that connect the Atlantic to the Pacific are blocked off by ice. For centuries European explorers searched for a passage unsuccessfully, until 1906 when an expedition led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made it across. Since then, better boat and navigation technology have enabled more regular crossings, but the most northern routes have remained off-limits for all but the strongest, diesel-powered, extra-fortified, ice-breaking boats.

Until this year, when three men made the complete Northwest crossing through the M’Clure strait (the northernmost of the direct routes) in the Belzebub II — a sailboat with no fortification. Previously, the only boats that had made it through M’Clure were ice-breakers, and none had been able to complete the pass through Viscount Melville Sound after shooting through M’Clure. Usually only either the sound or the straight are open to boats, but not both at once.

Read more. [Image: Belzebub II]

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