Four years ago today we were on Silver Explorer with this view in front of us.
It was 21 August 2014 and we had just transited Bellot Straight and the icebreaker was waiting for us. For three days we would sail behind that icebreaker getting stuck in the ice both nights.
So, today, exactly four years later, the ice charts look pretty darn similar. First, this is the overall ice situation in the Canadian archipelago:
Ice is actually worse around Devon Island and Beechey Island than we experienced. On the far left you can see that ice is still blocking the Alaskan coast. Below is the familiar ice chart for Queen Maud. This chart covers Bellot Straight on the right, into Peel Sound, Larsen Sound, and Victoria Straight.
Peel Sound looks pretty clear compared to four years ago (that is the northern entrance) so maybe Bellot Straight won't be used; however, cutting across Larsen Sound is just as bad, maybe even worse. If you add to this that the Alaskan coast is blocked, I wonder if anyone will be making a Northwest Passage transit this year.