The “Northern Passage” was the first boat to make a successful Arctic circumnavigation in one season. We crossed our wake north of Bergen, Norway, on the morning of 14 October. It is now clear that the “Northern Passage” was also the first boat to sail through both the Northeast and Northwest Passages during one and the same season.
The Russian boat “Peter 1st” has sailed the same route, recently crossing the North Atlantic and reaching Oslo today. It has previously been claimed, for instance in this article, that they were the first to sail through both passages. This is not correct.
We have concentrated on completing our expedition, according to plan, and have waited to double-check the facts. The International Hydrological Organization has a clear definition of the Northwest Passage. It reads as follows:
“On the Northeast: The Coast of Ellesmere Island between C. Columbia and C. Sheridan the Northern limit of Baffin Bay.
On the East: The East Coast of Ellesmere Island between C. Sheridan and Cape Norton Shaw (76°29′N 78°30′W / 76.483°N 78.5°W / 76.483; -78.5), thence across to Phillips Point (Coburg Island) through this Island to Marina Peninsula (75°55′N 79°10′W / 75.917°N 79.167°W / 75.917; -79.167) and across to Cape Fitz Roy (Devon Island) down the East Coast to Cape Sherard (Cape Osborn) (74°35′N 80°30′W / 74.583°N 80.5°W / 74.583; -80.5) and across to Cape Liverpool, Bylot Island (73°44′N 77°50′W / 73.733°N 77.833°W / 73.733; -77.833); down the East coast of this island to Cape Graham Moore, its southeastern point, and thence across to Cape Macculloch (72°29′N 75°08′W / 72.483°N 75.133°W / 72.483; -75.133) and down the East coast of Baffin Island to East Bluff, its Southeastern extremity, and thence the Eastern limit of Hudson Strait.
On the South: The mainland coast of Hudson Strait; the Northern limits of Hudson Bay; the mainland coast from Beach Point to Cape Bathurst.
On the West: The Eastern limit of Beaufort Sea [From Lands End through the Southwest coast of Prince Patrick Island to Griffiths Point, thence a line to Cape Prince Alfred, the Northwestern extreme of Banks Island, through its West coast to Cape Kellet, the Southwestern point, and thence a line to Cape Bathurst on the mainland (70°36′N 127°32′W / 70.6°N 127.533°W / 70.6; -127.533)].
On the Northwest: The Arctic Ocean between Lands End, Prince Patrick Island, and C. Columbia, Ellesmere Island.”
The map below shows a plot of these points. The Northwest Passage does not end in Pond Inlet. The dotted line shows our route, and the “Northern Passage” completed the Northwest Passage on 24 September.
It is now clear that the “Northern Passage” was the first to complete both passages. And we achieved that milestone in record time.
Børge Ousland and Thorleif Thorleifson
The Northern Passage 2010 Expedition
The eastern boundary of the Northwest Passage as defined by the International Hydrological Organization.