Canada > Nunavut > Prince of Wales Strait

Prince of Wales Strait

Prince of Wales Strait is a strait in the Northwest Territories of Canada separating Banks Island to the northwest from Victoria Island to the southeast. It extends from Viscount Melville Sound in the northeast to Amundsen Gulf in the southwest. From late winter it is filled by ice that usually does not break up until August, if at all. Its namesake, Prince of Wales Island, lies over two-hundred miles to the east.

The strait is a possible route for the Northwest Passage. The Parry Channel leads 600 miles west from Baffin Bay to the strait or McClure Strait to the northwest. Robert McClure reached it from the west in 1850 and was frozen in. A sledge party showed that it was probably connected to Parry Channel. Richard Collinson again entered it in 1851. Henry Larsen made the first passage in 1944 after failing to pass McClure Strait. In 1969, the oil tanker SS Manhattan was forced to use it after ice had blocked McClure Strait. As the strait narrows to less than 24 miles, vessels using it pass within undisputed Canadian waters.

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