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Author Topic: THE SARGASSO SEA/BERMUDA TRIANGLE  (Read 4613 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2007, 01:53:02 pm »


The Teignmouth Electron found abandoned in the Atlantic, July 10, 1969. (Sunday Times)

Fair use rationale is to illustrate the loss of Donald Crowhurst in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race of 1968-1969, and as such this photograph is considered to be of fair use for the article it is on.

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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2007, 01:57:17 pm »

USS Cyclops

Main article: USS Cyclops (AC-4)

The incident resulting in the single largest loss of life in the history of the U.S. Navy not related to combat occurred when USS Cyclops under the command of Lieutenant Commander G. W. Worley, went missing without a trace with a crew of 306 sometime after March 4, 1918, after departing the island of Barbados.

Although there is no strong evidence for any theory, storms, capsizing and enemy activity have all been suggested as explanations.

Theodosia Burr Alston

Main article: Theodosia Burr Alston

Theodosia Burr Alston was the daughter of former United States Vice-President Aaron Burr.

Her disappearance has been cited at least once in relation to the Triangle, in The Bermuda Triangle by Adi-Kent Thomas Jeffrey (1975).

She was a passenger on board the Patriot, which sailed from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City on December 30, 1812, and was never heard from again.

Both Piracy and the War of 1812 have been posited as explanations, as well as a theory placing her in Texas, well outside the Triangle.

The Spray

Captain Joshua Slocum's skill as a mariner was beyond argument; he was the first man to sail around the world solo.

In 1909, in his boat Spray he set out in a course to take him through the Caribbean to Venezuela. He disappeared; there was no evidence he was even in the Triangle when Spray was lost.

It was assumed he was run down by a steamer or struck by a whale, the Spray being too sound a craft and Slocum too experienced a mariner for any other cause to be considered likely, and in 1924 he was declared legally dead.

While a mystery, there is no known evidence for, or against, paranormal activity.
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2007, 02:05:40 pm »

Carroll A. Deering

Main article: Carroll A. Deering
Schooner Carroll A. Deering, as seen from the Cape Lookout lightship on January 29, 1921, two days before she was found deserted in North Carolina.

(US Coast Guard)A five-masted schooner built in 1919, the Carroll A. Deering was found hard aground and abandoned at Diamond Shoals, near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on January 31, 1921.

Rumors and more at the time indicated the Deering was a victim of piracy, possibly connected with the illegal rum-running trade during Prohibition, and possibly involving another ship, S.S. Hewitt, which disappeared at roughly the same time.

Just hours later, an unknown steamer sailed near the lightship along the track of the Deering, and ignored all signals from the lightship. It is speculated that the Hewitt may have been this mystery ship, and possibly involved in the Deering crew's disappearance.

Douglas DC-3

Main article: NC16002 disappearance

On December 28, 1948, a Douglas DC-3 aircraft, number NC16002, disappeared while on a flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Miami. No trace of the aircraft or the 32 people onboard was ever found.

From the documentation compiled by the Civil Aeronautics Board investigation, a possible key to the plane's disappearance was found, but barely touched upon by the Triangle writers: the plane's batteries were inspected and found to be low on charge, but ordered back into the plane without a recharge by the pilot while in San Juan.

Whether or not this led to complete electrical failure will never be known. However, since piston-engined aircraft rely upon magnetos to provide electrical power and spark to their cylinders rather than batteries, this theory is unlikely.

Star Tiger and Star Ariel

These Avro Tudor IV passenger aircraft disappeared without trace en route to Bermuda and Jamaica, respectively.

Star Tiger was lost on January 30, 1948 on a flight from the Azores to Bermuda. Star Ariel was lost on January 17, 1949, on a flight from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica. Neither aircraft gave out a distress call; in fact, their last messages were routine.

A possible clue to their disappearance was found in the mountains of the Andes in 1998: the Star Dust, an Avro Lancastrian airliner run by the same airline, had disappeared on a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile on August 2, 1947.

The plane's remains were discovered at the melt end of a glacier, suggesting that either the crew did not pay attention to their instruments, suffered an instrument failure or did not allow for headwind effects from the jetstream on the way to Santiago when it hit a mountain peak, with the resulting avalanche burying the remains and incorporating it into the glacier.

However, this is mere speculation with regard to the Star Tiger and Star Ariel, pending the recovery of the aircraft.

It should be noted that the Star Tiger was flying at a height of just 2,000 feet, which would have meant that if the plane was forced down, there would have been no time to send out a distress message. It is also far too low for the jetstream or any other high-altitude wind to have any effect.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2007, 02:17:27 pm »

KC-135 Stratotankers

On August 28, 1963 a pair of U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft collided and crashed into the Atlantic.

The Triangle version (Winer, Berlitz, Gaddis) of this story specifies that they did collide and crash, but there were two distinct crash sites, separated by over 160 miles of water.

However, Kusche's research showed that the unclassified version of the Air Force investigation report stated that the debris field defining the second "crash site" was examined by a search and rescue ship, and found to be a mass of seaweed and driftwood tangled in an old buoy.

SS Marine Sulphur Queen

Main article: SS Marine Sulphur Queen

SS Marine Sulphur Queen, a T2 tanker converted from oil to sulfur carrier, was last heard from on February 4, 1963 with a crew of 39 near the Florida Keys.

Marine Sulphur Queen was the first vessel mentioned in Vincent Gaddis' 1964 Argosy Magazine article, but he left it as having "sailed into the unknown", despite the Coast Guard report which not only documented the ship's badly-maintained history, but declared that it was an unseaworthy vessel that should never have gone to sea.

Raifuku Maru

One of the more famous incidents in the Triangle took place in 1921 (some say a few years later), when the Japanese vessel Raifuku Maru (sometimes misidentified as Raikuke Maru) went down with all hands after sending a distress signal which allegedly said "Danger like dagger now. Come quick!", or "It's like a dagger, come quick!"

This has led writers to speculate on what the "dagger" was, with a waterspout being the likely candidate (Winer).

In reality the ship was nowhere near the Triangle, nor was the word "dagger" a part of the ship's distress call ("Now very danger. Come quick."); having left Boston for Hamburg, Germany, on April 21, 1925, she got caught in a severe storm and sank in the North Atlantic with all hands while another ship, RMS Homeric, attempted an unsuccessful rescue.

Connemara IV

A pleasure yacht found adrift in the Atlantic south of Bermuda on September 26, 1955; it is usually stated in the stories (Berlitz, Winer) that the crew vanished while the yacht survived being at sea during three hurricanes.

The 1955 Atlantic hurricane season lists only one storm coming near Bermuda towards the end of August, hurricane "Edith"; of the others, "Flora" was too far to the east, and "Katie" arrived after the yacht was recovered.

It was confirmed that the Connemara IV was empty and in port when "Edith" may have caused the yacht to slip her moorings and drift out to sea.
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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2007, 02:21:21 pm »

An image of the distribution and size of eel larvae shows the approximate location of the Sargasso Sea.

                                                              E E L S

The eel is a long, thin bony fish of the order Anguilliformes.

Because fishermen never caught anything they recognized as eel young, the life cycle of the eel was a mystery for a very long period of scientific history. There are 6500 publications about eels, but still much of its life history is enigmatic.

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla)
was the one most familiar to Western scientists, beginning with Aristotle who did the first known research on eels. He stated that they are born of "earth worms", which emerged from the mud with no fertilization needed — they grew from the "guts of wet soil". For a long time, nobody could prove Aristotle wrong.

Later scientists believed that the eelpout Zoarces viviparus was the "Mother of Eels" (the translation of the German name "Aalmutter").

In 1777, the Italian Carlo Mondini found the creature's gonads and proved that eels are fish. In 1876, the young Austrian student Sigmund Freud dissected hundreds of eels in search for the male sex organs. He had to concede failure in his first published research paper, and turned to other issues in frustration.

Until 1893, larval eels — transparent, leaflike two-inch (five cm) creatures of the open ocean — were considered a separate species, Leptocephalus brevirostris (from the Greek leptocephalus meaning "thin- or flat-head").

But Italian zoologist Giovanni Battista Grassi observed the transformation of a Leptocephalus into a round glass eel in the Mediterranean Sea, and French zoologist Yves Delage proved in a laboratory in Roscoff that both leptocephalus and eels were the same species. Despite this discovery, the name leptocephalus is still used for larval eel.
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« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2007, 02:28:44 pm »

Leptocephalus larva of an ocean eel

Search for the spawning grounds

Danish professor Johannes Schmidt, from 1904 onwards, directed many expeditions in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic, largely financed by the Carlsberg Foundation. He postulated from the similarity of all leptocephali he found that they all must originate from the same parent species. The further into the Atlantic Ocean he propelled research ships, the smaller the leptocephali he caught.

Finally, in 1922, he ended up south of Bermuda in the Sargasso Sea where he succeeded in catching the smallest eel-larvae ever seen.

However, Schmidt was unable to observe the spawning directly, nor did he find ready-to-spawn adults. From the size distribution, Schmidt formulated this part of the life history of the eel:

Distribution and size of leptocephali larvae of the European Eel, Anguilla anguilla.

The larvae of European eels travel with the Gulf Stream across the ocean and, after three years, reach England at a size of 45 mm. The common name for this stage is glasseel, based on the transparency of the body. One famous place for large-scale collection of glasseels (for deli-food and stocking) is Epney at the Severn in England. They migrate up rivers, overcoming all sorts of natural challenges — sometimes by piling up their bodies by the tens of thousands to climb over obstacles — and they reach even the smallest of creeks (short glasseel migration video).


They can wind themselves over wet grass and dig through wet sand underground for 30 miles to reach upstream headwaters and ponds, colonising the continent. In fresh water they develop pigmentation, turn into elvers (young eels) and feed on creatures like small crustaceans, worms and insects. They grow up in 10 or 14 years to a length of 60 to 80 cm. In this stage they are now called yellow eels because of their golden pigmentation.
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2007, 02:35:12 pm »

Glasseels at the transition between ocean and freshwater; the skin is still transparent and the red gills and the heart are visible; length ca. 8 cm
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« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2007, 02:41:18 pm »

Juvenile eels, length ca. 25 cm

In July their instinct drives them back towards the seas, crossing even wet grasslands at night to reach the proper rivers. Eel migration out of the Baltic Sea through the Danish belts was the basis of traditional fisheries with characteristic trapnets (Bundgarn).

Whether the adults can ever make the 6,000 km (4,000 mile) open ocean journey back to their spawning grounds north of the Antilles, Haiti, and Puerto Rico remains unknown. By the time they leave the continent their gut dissolves, so they have to rely on stored energy alone. The body undergoes other dramatic changes as well: the eyes start to grow, the eye pigments change for optimal vision in dim blue clear ocean light, and the sides of their bodies turn silvery, best suited to be as invisible as possible during the long open ocean cruise ahead and past many waiting predators. These migrating eels are often called "Silver Eel" or "Big Eyes".

The German fisheries biologist Friedrich Wilhelm Tesch, an eel expert and author of the book "The Eel" (ISBN 0-632-06389-0), equipped many expeditions with high-tech instrumentation to follow eel migration, first down the Baltic, then along the coasts of Norway and England, but finally lost the transmitter signals at the continental shelf when the batteries ran out. According to Schmidt a travel speed in the ocean of 15 km per day can be assumed, so a silver eel would need 140 to 150 days to reach the Sargasso Sea around Scotland and 165 to 175 when cruising through the Channel.

He — like Schmidt — kept on trying to persuade sponsors to give more funding for expeditions. His proposal was to release fifty Silver Eels from Danish waters with probes that will detach from the eels each second day, float up and broadcast position, depth and temperature to satellite receivers, possibly jointly with an equivalent release experiment from the countries of the western coast of the Atlantic. However, the experiments have not yet been performed.

Today our knowledge on the fate of the eels once they leave the continental shelf is based on three eels found in the stomachs of deep sea fish, a whale caught off Ireland and off the Azores and some experiments on fife eels.
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« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2007, 02:49:08 pm »


 Eels, Seals, Birds, Shrimps, Mastodons and Toxodons,601.0.html

...........But perhaps the most striking example of instinctive memory is the case of the European and American
eels, both of which species make a journey over thousands
of miles of rivers, seas and oceans, eventually to spawn in one of the most mysterious areas of the Atlantic Ocean - the Sargasso Sea - considered by some investigators to cover what was once the western part of the continent of Atlantis.

Aristotle, the Athenian philosopher, a pupil and later critic of Plato, was also an interested observer of natural phenomena.  He made the first historical comment onthe breeding habits of the European eel, which, every two years, disappeared from the lakes and ponds of Europe and swam at sea, swam back up the rivers to the lakes,
 but their breeding grounds, somewhere at sea, remained unknown. 

It was not until the middle of the present century (20th), that the mystery of thebreeding ground was solved.

It is now known that the eels go to the SargassoSea, making their way under the ocean in a single enormous bank of eels in a journey that takes four months to complete.  When they arrive at a point within the Sargasso, they spawn in underwater concentrations of seaweed, which protects the eggs, then die.  The young eels return to Europe via the northern sweep of the Gulf Stream and the process repeats itself after another two years.

Aristotle would have been even more puzzled had he known about the eels from America, which accomplish a similar underwater pilgrimage to the Sargasso Sea butin inverse order to that of the European eels;from the west to the east, returning to America following the southern, westerly-directed sweep of the Gulf Stream   (the same route followed by Columbus).

Although the mystery appears to be solved, the explanation is elusive.  Possibly the genetic memory of eels on both sides of the Atlantic forces them to return to an ancestral breeding ground, a river or former waterway now covered by the sea, but whose residual vegetation, the seaweed of the Sargasso Sea, still affords the young eels the protection they need for survival.

It is also interesting to reflect that Aristotle, the skeptic who derided Plato's account of Atlantis, was the first to call attention to the mystery of the eel migration, which itself has become a thought-provoking suggestion concerning the one-time existence of a continental land mass now beneath the Atlantic Ocean.



The Eighth Continent

Charles Berlitz

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« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2007, 06:55:33 pm »


Please See Post #16. 


                                         THE FATE OF THEODOSIA BURR


by Eric Hause

Legends and myths pervade the coast of North Carolina. From the disappearance of Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony to the mystery of Blackbeard's buried treasure, tales with a basis in historical fact abound. Perhaps one of the most fascinating and ironic tales involves the daughter of one of America's founding fathers.

On a cold stormy night in 1812, Theodosia Burr Alston vanished along with the schooner Patriot somewhere off the Outer Banks. To this day, her fate remains shrouded in mystery, hidden beneath the shifting sands and shoals of the barrier islands.

Theodosia was the daughter of Aaron Burr, former vice president to Thomas Jefferson, who claimed a notorious place in history as the man who killed political rival Alexander Hamilton in America's most famous duel in 1804. And although this is a tale of the Burr family, it begins with Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton was born by the sea in the West Indies and grew up with a healthy admiration for its power. When he was 15, he wrote such a vivid description of a hurricane that ravaged his St. Croix home that local merchants sponsored his schooling in New York.

In 1773, while on one of his frequent journeys between New York and the Virgin Islands, young Hamilton's ship, the Thunderbolt, was caught in a terrific gale of Hatteras. As the captain hove to in an effort to ride out the storm off the Cape, the galley caught fire, and for 12 terrifying hours, the crew and Hamilton fought the blaze. Once under control, the heavily damaged ship limped northward to Boston.

Hamilton would never forget that night off Cape Hatteras. He swore an oath that should he ever be in a position to do so, he would erect a lighthouse on the treacherous cape as a warning to all other mariners.

Hamilton went on to become on the leaders of the Revolution and eventually a member of President George Washington's cabinet. True to his word, in 1790, he passed a bill through Congress calling for the construction of the first lighthouse at Cape Hatteras. Nine years later, it was completed, and although it has long fallen into the sea, "Mr. Hamilton's Light" served its purpose well.

During his rise to political power, Hamilton befriended a young New York lawyer named Aaron Burr. They had initially met while serving under Washington during the Revolution. After the war, Hamilton found Burr's political ambitions matched his own and together they worked to forge a new nation.

Burr married in 1781 and two years later his wife gave birth to their only child --a daughter they named Theodosia. From the start, father and daughter were connected in ways very few are. Theo's love for and devotion to her father were rivaled only by Burr's nearly obsessive parenting. Burr spent many of Theo's formative years in Washington, and when she was 10, they began a 20-year legacy of correspondence that remains to this day as a record of their strong relationship.

When her mother died of cancer in 1794, Theo easily stepped into the role of mistress of Richmond Hill, the family home in Albany. She supported her father's rising political career by hosting grand parties at the estate. Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton were all regular visitors, and Theo was charming and gracious to them all, all the while remaining close by her father's side.

Theo had many suitors, but she did not meet her husband until a dashing young southern aristocrat by the name of Joseph Alston visited Albany in 1800. Theo soon after confided to her father that she was falling in love with Alston, and in February 1801 they were married.

Theo left Richmond Hill to make her new home in South Carolina, where she would spend her days supervising two plantations and the Alston family home. She loved her husband, but often missed her New York home --and especially her father. She wrote to him that the hot, humid climate and swampy Lowcountry was no match for the beauty of Hudson River Valley.

In May 1802, after a very difficult labor, Theo gave birth to a son, named Aaron Burr Alston. She never completely recovered from the birth. When her husband was elected Governor of South Carolina, her weakness coupled with her new demands as First Lady of South Carolina began to take their toll. She made several visits to health resorts with no lasting effect. But her dedication to her family never wavered.

In 1804, Aaron Burr's political career disintegrated. The heated political climate of the day had found Burr and Hamilton on opposite ends of the spectrum. Their rivalry descended into a war of personal insults waged in the northern newspapers until Burr, outraged beyond apology, challenged Hamilton to the duel that would kill the former Secretary of the Treasury.

Burr was charged with murder. Throughout the ordeal, Theo stood by her father. She traveled to New York several times during the long trial and was elated when he was finally acquitted. But Burr became a bitter man. He longed for political power and allegedly planned his resurrection with a scheme to convince several western states to seceded and place him at the head of the new government.

In 1807, he was again arrested for conspiracy. And again, Theo decried his innocence. "The knowledge of my father's innocence, my ineffable contempt for his enemies, and the elevation of his mind have kept me above any sensations bordering on depression," she wrote to her husband from New York.

After an arduous yearlong trial, Burr was once again acquitted, and he left the country, a once-powerful leader in voluntary exile. Theo returned to South Carolina, the ordeal adding to her increasingly frail health. The final blow came in June 1812, when her son died of tropical fever.

Theo, Burr, and Alston were all inconsolable over the loss. "You talk of consolation," she wrote to her father. "Ah! You know not what you have lost. I think omnipotence could give me no equivalent for my boy."

Burr returned to New York, and in December, he convinced Theo to come home for the holidays. It would be their first visit in five years. Alston, however, was reluctant to allow Theo to make the ocean voyage north. The country was at war with Britain, Theo's health was still fragile, and there were rumors of pirates along the Carolina Outer Banks.

Theo's insistence won, and Alston wrote a letter to the British Navy, which was blockading the coast, requesting safe passage for his wife. Aaron sent a trusted physician and friend, Timothy Green south to accompany his daughter. On December 30, Theo, Dr. Green, and a maid boarded the schooner The Patriot in Charleston harbor.


The Patriot was in from several months of privateering in the West Indies. The American government had hired The Patriot to harass British shipping during the War of 1812, and her hold was filled with loot from these raids. In order to disguise the ship's true identity, the captain stowed the guns below and painted over the ship's name on the bow. They lifted anchor late in the afternoon and set sail for the open sea. It was the last time Alston would ever see his wife.

The journey to New York normally took five or six days. After two weeks had passed with no sign of the Patriot, Burr and Alston became frantic. Alston wrote, "Another mail and still no letter! I hear too rumors of a gale off Cape Hatteras at the beginning of the month. The state of my mind is dreadful!"

In New York, Burr had already reached the inevitable conclusion. When a friend offered hope that Theo was still alive, Burr replied, "No, no, she is indeed dead. Were she still alive, all the prisons in the world could not keep her from her father."

The Patriot had disappeared without a trace. Later it was learned that the British fleet had stopped her off Hatteras on January 2. Governor Alston's letter worked, and the schooner was allowed to pass. Later that night, a gale arose and scattered the British fleet.

Beyond that clue, no more was known. Burr sent searchers to Nassau and Bermuda with no success. Why he neglected to send them to the Outer Banks remains a mystery for it is there that Theo met her fate.

The evidence is compelling and first surfaced in 1833. That year, an Alabama newspaper reported that a local resident, a confessed pirate admitted to participating in the plunder of the Patriot at Nags Head and the murder of all on board.

Fifteen years later, another former pirate, "Old Frank" Burdick, confessed a similar story on his deathbed. He told a horrifying story of holding the plank for Mrs. Alston, who walked calmly over the side, dressed completely in white. He said she begged for word of her fate to be sent to her father and husband. He went on to say that once the crew and passengers had been murdered, they plundered the ship and abandoned her under full sail. He also mentioned seeing a portrait of Theodosia in the main cabin.

Perhaps the most intriguing evidence to support this theory revolves around that painting. In 1869, a Dr. Poole from Elizabeth City was called to the bedside of an ailing old Banker woman in Nags Head. The woman was related by marriage to families who had once made their living by plundering vessels wrecked along the beaches.

The doctor noticed a stunning portrait of a young woman dressed in white hanging on the wall of the woman's shack. When he commented on the beauty of the subject, the old woman offered an astonishing explanation.

She told Dr. Poole that one night "during the English war" a pilot boat had drifted ashore at Nags Head at the height of a winter's gale. The boat was abandoned with all sails set, and the name on the bow had been painted over. In the main cabin, the Bankers had found several trunks and women's belonging's scattered everywhere. They also found the portrait, which one of the looters took as a gift for the old woman.

The ailing woman had no money with which to pay Dr. Poole, so she offered him the 12-by-18 painting instead. The portrait generated much publicity when Dr. Poole returned to Elizabeth City, and several years later, a descendant of the Burrs came to see it. She immediately identified it as Theo because of the subject's resemblance to other members of the Burr family.

There is no record today of what Theo carried aboard The Patriot that fateful day. It certainly would be in keeping with her devotion to her father to have such a fine portrait in her possession as a gift to him. Yet through such inconsequential details are myths made, and for now, the truth lies buried beneath the shifting sands of Nags Head.

The irony, however, is inescapable. Somewhere along this shore, where her father's nemesis had erected a lighthouse to save her, Theodosia Burr Alston lost her life on a stormy January night. And although we may never know exactly how that happened, a suicidal poet may have touched on why.

In 1894, a very young Robert Frost came to Kitty Hawk. Suffering from acute depression, he felt the need to get away from the pressure of life, and as many similar people do, he came to the Outer Banks. One night, he crossed over the Kitty Hawk beach and walked with a member of the local lifesaving crew on patrol. The patrolman told him Theo's story, and it moved him deeply. Years later, he would recount the experience and her tale in one of his lesser-known but moving poem, "Kitty Hawk":

     "Did I recollect
     how the wreckers wrecked
     Theodosia Burr off this very shore?
     'Twas to punish her
     but her father more."
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2007, 02:00:39 pm »

The Sargasso Sea, where the mystery of eel spawning takes place, is something of a mystery itself. A vast area (some two million square miles) in the middle of the Atlantic, it was rumored throughout history to be filled with abandoned ships that were trapped on its nearly windless surface. The excerpt below from the November 1998 issue of Smithsonian Magazine ( sargasso.html) shows just how unique it is.

Out in the Atlantic, strange creatures make their home among seaweed in a floating lens of warm water. When Columbus reached the deep blue waters of the central North Atlantic, he thought he was very close to shore. After all, there was suddenly an abundance of plant life in the form of a floating algae, which he called, simply, "weed." His sailors, meanwhile, feared that their ships would become irretrievably entangled in the stuff.

Their fears were misplaced – as were Columbus's hopes. The weed – which scientists ultimately dubbed sargassum, after a Portuguese word for it – is neither sturdy nor abundant enough to ensnare a ship of any size. And even the westernmost boundaries of the Sargasso Sea – a two-million-square-mile ellipse of deep-blue water adrift in the North Atlantic – lie many hundreds of miles from the North American shore.

Defined by a floating lens of warm, exceptionally clear water, the Sargasso Sea drifts, its location determined by the changing ocean currents that, flowing in a clockwise promenade, form its perimeter. The algae that riddles its surface is actually a deceptively lush veneer to a stretch of ocean that is relatively devoid of life at deeper levels. But even in this ocean desert, there is an intricate web of life that has adapted to existence among the weed.
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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2007, 10:18:29 am »

Mar del Sargaso en el océano Atlántico occidental. Es poco común pues tiene gran cantidad de algas marinas creciendo y flotando en su superficie. El agua es muy azul, caliente, salada y transparente, con corrientes que se mueven lentamente y que están rodeadas por corrientes más rapidas, como la Corrientes del Golfo.
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« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2007, 10:26:01 am »


                                               The Never-Ending Marvels of the Ocean


The ocean has yet more mysteries to yield to human kind; those with an affinity for such discoveries can only stand in awe as Nature reveals itself to us mortals.
2006’s Census of Marine Life participants must have stood in awe. This is the sixth year that researchers from around the world have collaborated, in a valiant attempt to shed some light over the dark depths of global seas and oceans and to attach a statistical viewpoint to marine life. They recorded the diversity and distribution of species, and came up with some startling discoveries.
“Animals seem to have found a way to make a living just about everywhere,” said Jesse Ausubel of the Sloan Foundation, about the findings of year six of the census of marine life. Ron O'Dor, a senior scientist with the census, said: “We can't find anyplace where we can't find anything new.” These are just a few of their findings.

* CoMF researchers found shrimp, as well as mussels and clams, living in waters of 407ºC. The animals were found in the equatorial Atlantic, at a thermal vent 3 km below the surface that releases fluids containing heavy metals from the Earth’s core – hot enough to melt lead. This is the hottest sea vent ever documented. Bizarrely enough, the vent is surrounded by near-freezing water.
“This is the most extreme environment and there is plenty of life around it,” said Chris German, of Britain's Southampton Oceanography Center and a leader of the Atlantic survey.

* Researchers investigating the waters of the Southern Ocean discovered a community of marine life thriving in darkness below 700 meters of ice and 200 km away from open water.

* A school the size of Manhattan Island, comprising some 20 million fish, was reported off the coast of New Jersey. This is the most abundant grouping of sea creatures ever found.

* Census experts utilized a sophisticated net dubbed MOCNESS to catch animals living at great depths below the surface (5 km) in the Sargasso Sea. 12 new species were reported.

* CoMF devotees uncovered a shrimp that scientists believed had become extinct 50 million years ago – it was actually quite prosperous in its underwater peak in the Coral Sea. The creature, officially named neoglyphea neocaledonica, received the nickname of “Jurassic shrimp”, in honor of its mathusalemic age.

* Census microbe hunters found 20,000 kinds of bacteria floating in a single liter of sea water. The samples came from the Atlantic and Pacific. DNA studies revealed that most of the different kinds of bacteria were unknown and likely rare globally. Researchers estimate that the kinds of bacteria in the oceans exceed five to 10 million.

* Sooty shearwaters seem to be deserving of the moniker “globetrotters” By way of satellite, Census explorers tracked tagged specimens as they made their way through an impressive distance of 70,000 km, searching for food. They flew over the Pacific Ocean, from New Zealand via Polynesia to foraging grounds in Japan, Alaska and California and then back, which makes this trek the longest migration ever recorded electronically, over a period of just 200 days. The average daily distance was even as long as 350 km.

* The largest species discovered during a 2006 Census expedition was a 1.8 kg rock lobster named Palinurus Barbarae, off Madagascar. The main body spans half a meter. Census scientists organized 19 ocean expeditions in 2006 (a 20th one is underway in the Antarctic). The number of active sampling sites grew exponentially from 30 to 128 in 2006 alone, and satellites were a big part of the explorations, as well as laboratories, archives and other technology.

"Each Census expedition reveals new marvels of the ocean – and with the return of each vessel it is increasingly clear that many more discoveries await marine explorers for years to come,” says Fred Grassle, Chair of the Census Scientific Steering Committee.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 02:22:04 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2007, 10:42:42 am »

                                                        The Prairie of Kelp

It was in Bermuda that Wyville Thomson started the first of the several articles he was to write for the popular magazine Good Words, despite a correspondence workload that was already high... As the ship pulled away from Bermuda, northeast toward the Azores, he explained to his audience the importance of their new destination; situated on the northern border of one of the strangest places in the North Atlantic. For more than 300 years, since the time of Columbus, its name had struck terror in the hearts of mariners all over the world and tales were told of ships becalmed for all eternity in a choking mass of seaweed that matted the center of the mid-Atlantic. When Challenger finally made harbor in the Azores, she would have sailed completely around the Sargasso Sea.

 Strangely enough, legends of “a sea of lost ships” were common centuries before the Bermuda Triangle became notorious. Since the Middle Ages, floating derelicts have often been found in this region of the Atlantic, which broadly extends between about 20o N and 35oN and 30Wo and 70oW (the large uncertainty in this estimate is part of the mystery of the Sargasso Sea). The legend maintains that the Sargasso Sea derelicts are found shipshape but otherwise bereft of a living soul. On one occasion a slaver was sighted but when boarded was found to contain nothing but the skeletal remains of crew and slaves. In 1840, the ship Rosalie sailed through the area but, as the London Times later reported, was thereafter found drifting and derelict. In 1857, only a handful of years before the Challenger expedition, the bark James B. Chester was found becalmed in the Sargasso, with the chairs upended, a putrefying meal still on the mess table, and no sign of the crew.

Even after the Challenger voyage, legends about ship disappearances continued to haunt the area. In 1881, the schooner Ellen Austin, bound for London, discovered a derelict adrift in the Sargasso. The captain put a prize crew aboard but then the two ships became separated by a squall. When Ellen Austin resighted the derelict, the prize crew was gone. And today, in the early twenty-first century, more recent legends of the Sargasso continue to haunt us. As recently as 1955, the Connemara IV was found deserted and drifting in the area, only 150 miles from Bermuda.

For hundreds of years the Sargasso Sea, like the Bermuda Triangle, has been a magnet for the tabloid press. Lurid nineteenth-century paintings show sailing vessels being devoured by the weed that floats on the surface of the sea: Sargassum, so named by Portuguese sailors who spotted the resemblance of the weed's air-filled bladders to the grapes of their homeland. And like the myth of the Bermuda Triangle, the legends of the Sargasso Sea have some basis in fact. Much of the sea's peril comes from its location in the almost windless “Horse Latitudes”; so called because ships en route to the Spanish Main were often becalmed there and their horses were slaughtered for fresh meat and to preserve water. Another name for the Horse Latitudes is the “Doldrums.”

The Sargasso Sea is surrounded by some of the strongest surface-water currents in the world: the Florida Current to the southwest, the Gulf Stream to the northwest and north, the North Atlantic Current to the north and northeast, the Canaries Current to the east, and the North Equatorial Drift running along the entire southern margin of the sea. These currents form a cordon around the sea, isolating it from the rest of the Atlantic. This isolation causes two other curious features: the sea's unique temperature structure and its unique ecology. The Sargasso Sea is actually a thin lens of warm water perched on top of much colder water and is home to great floating beds of the Sargassum kelp that gives the sea its name.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 10:51:44 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2007, 11:22:10 am »

            S A R G A S S O   S E A   -   F L O A T I N G   I S L A N D   O F   T H E   A T L A N T I C

The floating algae of the Sargasso Sea offers precious food and shelter for hundreds of animal species. Small

invertebrates cling to the sargassum, attracting larger predators, whose wastes in turn fertilize the algae.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 11:45:33 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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