The Unique Sargasso Sea

The wide Sargasso Sea is without a coastine. It has a unique ecosystem, with its vast floating seaweed, that has been wrapped in mystery.

The Sargasso Sea is unique among the seas of the world in that it has no coastline. It is completely surrounded by water as a free-floating sea. The location of the Sargasso Sea is in the North Atlantic, bounded by the Gulfstream on the West, the Greater Antilles on the South, and Bermuda to the North. It has a large oval shape of thousands of square miles and rotates slowly clockwise.

The most unique feature of the Sargasso Sea is the vast amounts of seaweed floating on it. It was the Portuguese who gave it the name "sargaco" which means "grape" due to the resemblance of the seaweed to grapes. Because the sea is very calm with little wind, sailors since the time of Columbus have mistakenly thought that the seaweed itself is what trapped their ships. The Sargasso Sea is also known as the "Horse Latitudes" because when the Spanish Sailors found themselves trapped in the Sargasso Sea for weeks, they had to toss their horses overboard in order to conserve on water. It should be noted that the famed and feared Bermuda Triangle lies within the Sargasso Sea. In fact, many of the later attributes of the Bermuda Triangle where it was feared that planes and ships were mysteriously lost there, were earlier attributed to the Sargasso Sea because of the many ships lost there. The mystery of the Sargasso Sea was merely transposed later to the Bermuda Triangle.

Because of its stillness and the seaweed on the surface, the Sargasso Sea is a fascinating ecosystem that has been closely studied by scientists in recent years. Although the Sargasso Sea is rich in plankton, it lacks the nutrients necessary to support larger fishes. However, this area is extremely abundant in smaller marine animals such as shrimp, small crabs, and octopuses. Much of this marine life is directly dependent upon the floating seaweed.



Among the fascinating facts about the Sargasso Sea is that eels from thousands of miles away in North America and Europe swim there to mate and lay eggs. After the eel larvae hatch, they then make the long swim back to North America and Europe.

The Sargasso Sea has entered the world of fiction thanks to Jules Vern. In his novel, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,"Verne describes a journey of the Nautilus submarine through the Sargasso Sea. Part of the nineteenth century, and Verne's, fascination with the Sargasso Sea could be attributed to the many ships lost there including the Rosalie in 1840. One big mystery was the German ship Meta that was found floating deserted in 1881 in the Sargasso Sea. Another ship, James B. Chester, was similarly found deserted floating in the Sargasso Sea in 1857. The mysteries of the abandoned floating ships have never been solved.

© High Speed Ventures 2011