Two Ponant ships cross the Northwest Passage

Le Boréal and Le Soléal followed the historic exploration route via the Bellot Strait 

Two Ponant ships cross the Northwest Passage

By Rebecca Gibson |

Ponant has become the first operator to sail two ships through the Northwest Passage from Greenland to Siberia just three days apart.

Following the historic explorers’ route via the Bellot Strait, Le Boréal and Le Soléal were guided through the region’s narrow channels and shifting glaciers by their respective captains Etienne Garcia and Patrick Marchesseau.

“It is with great pride that we announce this crossing under the French flag, unique in international maritime history,” said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, CEO of Ponant.

Guests were able to explore historic landmarks like Cape Bathurst and Beechey Island, which was visited by British explorer Sir John Franklin in 1845 during his Northwest Passage expedition. The ships also headed to Gjoa Haven where Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen anchored his expedition vessel more than a century ago.

Crew and guests also saw beluga whales, around 60 bears and nearly 500 narwhals. Another highlight for passengers was meeting French adventurer Charles Hedrich, the first man to cross the Northwest Passage solo in a rowing boat.

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