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Much dotty ingenuity has been devoted to explaining this weird statement.

A common suggestion is that sea lung means jelly fish, but that does not help to explain the environmental conditions that Pytheas was trying to indicate.

Moreover, returning to the accounts provided by Pytheas, when the latter speaks of berries in the same arctic context (Magnusson 1976:9) this too I can relate to a fiord on the east coast of Baffin Island and can vouch that a form of edible "blueberry" does indeed exist in this forbidding and unexpected northern location.

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.

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

Tidal forces start to come into play, as do winds and currents, and soon narrow coastal leads begin to open up.

For example, after reading Pytheas' description of a phenomenon called "sea-lung" discussed by in the context of legendary Thule: There remains one further matter concerning Thule that was related by Pytheas: the curious phenomenon he called the 'sea lung'.

As Polybius quoted him, he said there is neither sea nor air, but a mixture like sea lung, in which earth and air are suspended; the sea lung binds everything together.

As for the actual journeys taken by Pytheas, short of recovering new material these will have to remain unknown.

Nevertheless, as Map 1a above shows, few lengthy voyages are required to reach Greenland from Europe or the Mediterranean in any case.

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