The M'Clure Strait (sometimes rendered McClure Strait) is a strait on the edge of the Canadian Northwest Territories. It forms the northwestern end of the Parry Channel which extends east all the way to Baffin Bay and is thus a possible route for the Northwest Passage. The strait was named for Robert McClure, an Irish Arctic explorer serving in the Royal Navy. He was the first man to traverse the North-West Passage (by boat and sledge).
The strait connects the Beaufort Sea in the west with Viscount Melville Sound in the east. It is bounded by Prince Patrick Island, Eglinton Island and Melville Island on the north and Banks Island on the south. As the strait is chronically blocked with thick ice, it is usually impassable to ships; in 1969, the United States-registered tanker SS Manhattan was freed from the ice by a Canadian icebreaker, and forced to travel through Canadian territorial waters to complete its westward passage. There is a dispute between Canada and the United States over the waters of the Arctic Islands, other than those within 12 mi (19 km) of shore.
The M'Clure Strait became fully open (ice-free) in early August 2007, and again in August 2008. The European Space Agency reported that the Arctic's Northwest Passage opened up fully sea ice free, clearing a lane through the northern section of the historically impassable route between Europe and Asia.
On August 29, 2012 three sailors aboard a sailboat, named the Belzebub II, became the first sailboat to travel this route. Sweden's Edvin Buregren, Canada's Nicolas Peissel and American Morgan Peissel were the crew members, and they documented the journey with video and photographs. David Scott Cowper also claims to have passed the strait on about the same date.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- Hamamdjian, Danielle (30 August 2012). "Sailors take northernmost trek through Arctic to highlight record thaw". CTV News. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
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