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Sailboat navigates once-frozen Arctic waterway
by Staff Writers
Montreal (AFP) Sept 11, 2012


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 Canadian Arctic, on their quest to document the rapidly dwindling polar ice and to bring awareness to the effects of global warming.

"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.

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