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It was in fact my lot to spend almost two decades in the Canadian Arctic, firstly on the east and west coasts of Hudson Bay, on James Bay, and then at a variety of locations largely along the lower reaches of the Northwest Passage itself.

During these years I lived on the east and west coasts of Baffin Island; on the coasts of Melville and Boothia Peninsulas, on Jenny Lind Island, on the southern coast of Victoria Island, on the mainland coast of the Barren Lands; at Cape Parry at the mouth of the Beaufort Sea, further west at Nicholson Peninsula, then Tuktoyaktuk, and two more locations further west again along the Yukon coastline.

It is clear that he visited Britain and the northern isles of Shetland and the Orkneys.

He described the amber island of Abalus, now thought to have been Heliogoland, whose inhabitants traded amber with the Teutones of Jutland.

It was the end of the inhabited world, beyond which stretched a primordial confusion of the elements: snow-clad mountains spouting fire, icebergs drifting in a boiling sea, and even farther on a sort of primeval jelly on which it was impossible to walk or to sail.

It was neither water, air nor ice, but a mysterious substance which the explorers named 'the lung of the sea'.

Thus all things considered I would tend to place more credence than most on what Pytheas reported concerning the north - passage of time, ambiguities and third-hand accounts notwithstanding.

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