There was the hungry polar bear he saw floating on a nearby chunk of ice. And the memorial site on a remote island for the 127 men who, in the 1800s, met their deaths on a similar Arctic voyage. The mythic narwhals — “Arctic unicorns” — that he observed up close. The fact that he made landfall at the northernmost inhabited settlement on the planet.
Morgan Peissel, a 25-year-old from Cambridge, now has a list of adventures to rival many a seasoned explorer. He, his cousin, Nicolas, and Swedish friend Edvin Buregren in late August accomplished what no other crew on a sailboat has: They made it through icy McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic, near the top of the world. They sailed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, crossing the Arctic Circle at both ends.