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Quick Facts about Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage is a sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. It consists of a series of deep channels extending about 900 miles (1,450 km) from east to west. Reaching the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic runs into tens of thousands of giant icebergs as high as 300 feet (90 m) drifting between Greenland and Baffin Island. The exit to the Pacific is equally challenged by masses of ices between Alaska and Siberia.

The economic value of a short route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans attracted numerous exploration efforts staring from 1500s. Martin Frobisher explored Frobisher Bay in 1576, while John Davis sailed Davis Strait in 1585.  In 1616, William Baffin and Robert Bylot sailed into Smith Sound and northern Baffin Bay. Sir John Franklin tried to navigate the passage but trapped in ice in 1846. Finally the Northwest Passage was sailed by Roald Amundsen in 1903-06 and by Sergeant Henry Larsen in 1940-42 and 1944.

In the past, the Northwest Passage has been virtually impassable because it was covered by thick, year-round sea ice. However, in recent years, climate change is allowing commercial traffic to pass through the Arctic via this once-impossible route.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Northwest Passage

  • Sail through one of the most challenging sea routes and pay tribute to Franklin, Amundsen and other explorers

  • Enjoy spectacular landscapes found only in the far north when passing islands and channels

  • One of the most incredible places to witness polar bears and their cubs hunting on ice floes

  • Spend time with Inuit and see how they live who have called here home for thousands of years

  • See if you might be the lucky one to spot mysterious Narwhal along with belugas, whales and other Arctic animals!

Landing Sites in Northwest Passage