The Sargasso Sea is a part of the North Atlantic Ocean located near the eastern shores of the United States of America and bounded to the west by the Gulf Stream. It received its name after so-called the Sargassum seaweed traces, discovered by European travelers in the 16th century. The Sargasso Sea is a spawning site for threatened and endangered eels, as well as white marlin, porbeagle shark, and dolphinfish. Humpback whales annually migrate through the Sargasso Sea. Commercial fish, such as tuna, and birds also migrate through the Sargasso Sea and depend on it for food.
The first known written account of the Sargasso Sea dates to Christopher Columbus in 1492, who wrote about seaweed that he feared would trap his ship and potentially hide shallow waters that could run them aground, as well as a lack of wind that he feared would trap them.
In his diaries, Columbus wrote at length about how he feared the Sargasso Sea because of its blankets of seaweed, which he believed were hiding dangerous coral reefs, which were capable of sinking unsuspecting ships.
The sea is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream, on the north by the North Atlantic Current, on the east by the Canary Current, and on the south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current, the four together forming a clockwise-circulating system of ocean currents termed the North Atlantic Gyre. It lies between 20° and 35° north and 40° and 70° west and is approximately 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) wide by 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) long. Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea.
The Sargasso Sea (Oceanic Ecosystems) Bermuda is located in a truly oceanic environment, in the western part of the Sargasso Sea, and thus is in a distinctive position to experience and observe the changing ocean.
Certain animals, especially dogs, are also sensitive to the inhalation of hydrogen sulfide. He further cautions to avoid swimming in Sargassum infested waters as it can lead to skin irritation.
The secret of Wide Sargasso Sea lies in the paradox that “Desire, Hatred, Life, Death came very close in the darkness. . . . Not close. The same” (79).
We found ourselves sailing the Sargasso Sea and into the Bermuda Triangle with Viking Cruises as Hurricane Larry chased us out of Bermuda. I shot this photograph of the Sargasso Sea and its free-floating seaweed called Sargassum from our Veranda on the back of the ship.
Are there sharks in the Sargasso Sea?
A number of species of sharks and rays inhabit or migrate through the Sargasso Sea including whale sharks, tiger sharks, manta rays and spotted eagle rays (Hallett 2011, unpublished).
What is the legend of the Sargasso Sea?
Many legends surround the Sargasso Sea. Some say that a ship was once deep in this windless area, prisoner of the algae. While trying to find an exit, the crew kept navigating in circles, as if they were doomed to never come out and see solid ground. They were never seen again.
The sea reaches depths of 5,000–23,000 feet (1,500–7,000 m) and is characterized by weak currents, low precipitation, high evaporation, light winds, and warm, saline waters, all combining with the lack of thermal mixing to create a biological desert largely devoid of plankton, a basic food supply for fish.
The sea is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream, on the north by the North Atlantic Current, on the east by the Canary Current, and on the south by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current, the four together forming a clockwise-circulating system of ocean currents termed the North Atlantic Gyre. It lies between 20° to 35° N and 40 and 70 W and is approximately 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) wide by 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) long. Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea.
Because the Sargasso Sea is bordered by oceanic currents, its precise borders may change. The Canary Current in particular is widely variable, and often the line utilized is one west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. A 2011 report based the sea's boundaries on several variables including currents, presence of seaweed, and the topography of the ocean floor, and determined that the specific boundaries of the sea were “between 22°–38°N, 76°–43°W and centred on 30°N and 60°W” for a total of around 4,163,499 square kilometres (1,607,536 sq mi).