In the span of six hours we have passed two significant landmarks: the Bering Strait and the Arctic Circle.
For a long time I regarded the Bering Strait as the most remote place in the world, a place I never imagined I would sail to.
We timed our arrival carefully so as to benefit from a favourable tide and were swept through by a strong current that almost doubled Aventura’s speed.
We also had a favourable southerly wind that enveloped us in a damp cloak of swirling mist as the warm wind blew over the cold sea. Sailing blindly by radar, we could not even see the near Alaskan coast, not to speak of that of Siberia.
The strait is about 80 km at its narrowest part and the demarcation zone between USA and Russia runs right down the middle between the Russian island of Big Domede and American Little Domede.
Spanning the Earth at 66°33’27” N, the location of the Arctic Circle is determined by the angle of inclination of our planet as it revolves around the sun.
The Arctic Circle is regarded by some as the symbolic gateway to the Northwest Passage. There is quite a controversy over the actual extent of this waterway that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The Arctic Circle veterans insist that only those who have crossed the Atlantic Circle in both directions can claim to have completed a transit of the Northwest Passage. Others prefer to extend it even farther, from Davis Strait in the east to the Bering Strait in the west.
From a purely geographical perspective, the Northwest Passage is limited to the area between Lancaster Sound in the east and Herschel Island, at the border between Canada and Alaska, in the west. And it was that section that had defied for over tree centuries the attempts of scores of ships to complete the challenging transit successfully.
It is an old tradition on Aventura to give the crew presents on special occasions, such as when crossing the equator, or, on this occasion, the Arctic Circle.
Soon afterwards Martin caught us on our computers emailing our families of having entered the symbolic gateway to the Northwest Passage.