Sargasso Sea

Sargasso Sea
Photo Source: NASA

The Sargasso Sea is an area in the central part of the North Atlantic Ocean. You can spot it easily because the currents move in a clockwise motion. One of the strange things about this sea is that it has no coast line. The water in it is very warm and is said to be very clear. This sea is filled with seaweed and the water is very calm even with the current. The early Portuguese sailors used to blame the seaweed when their ships entered the Sargasso Sea and became becalmed, that is why they named this part of the ocean Sargaco which is Portuguese for grape because the bulbous floats on the seaweed looked similar to grapes to them.

Another strange thing about this part of the ocean is the lack of nutrients. Even though a good portion of plankton is produced in the Sargasso Sea area, there is still not enough food to attract commercially viable fish. Because of this, the area has become known as the floating dessert. The floating seaweed has become the home to many small animals, these include small octopuses, along with tiny crabs and tiny shrimp. For some unknown reason eels are drawn from all over the ocean to meet in this place. This is where they mate, spawn and die. When the larvae are hatched they swim back to the waters off of Europe, the U.S. or Mediterranean.

American Eel
Photo Source: NOAA

The boundaries of the Sargasso Sea are the Gulf stream on the west, Bermuda on the north, and the Greater Antilles on the south. The Bermuda Triangle is in the Sargasso Sea. In the old days when sailing ships used to get trapped in this area, the Spanish sailors would throw their horses overboard to conserve water. What is even stranger about the eels than the fact that they come to this sea to mate, is the fact that they mate with eels from the same area that they came from. How they ever figure this out is one of the great mysteries.

The Sargasso Sea was considered a very mysterious place with many ships lost for hundreds of years. This was well before anyone every though there was anything called the Bermuda Triangle. Another name for the Sargasso Sea was the Sea of Lost Ships. Ships were still being lost there in the last century. One infamous ship, the S.S. Poet, is believed to have disappeared there. But the story certainly doesn't end there. There is an article on the Genome News Network (GNN) that states scientists have found 1800 species of microbes including 150 species of formerly unknown bacteria. Over 1.2 million new genes were also discovered there. The number of new genes found is incredible. This sea is large, over 2,000,000 square miles. and is shaped like an ellipse.

Credit for the discovery of the Sargasso Sea is given to Christopher Columbus. He was the first person to write about it. The warm water, caused by the currents rushing past it, keeps the weather very calm and keeps winds down. You would not want to get caught in this area with a sail boat, and that is precisely what happened in the old days. Without wind and with strong currents circling, you might never get out without an engine. Jules Verne, in his novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was really writing about the Sargasso Sea area. Because this area is so strange, it has led to being used in the titles of many books and articles.

Ufologists think that this area along with the Bermuda Triangle is a mecca for unidentified flying objects. Some say that sightings of ufo are greatest in this area, but that has yet to be proved. A more precise location for the Sargasso Sea is between 20 N and 35 N Latitude and 30 W and 70 W Longitude.

Seaweed with tiny creatures attached
Photo Source: NOAA


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