sargasso Author:edwin corley The Sargasso Sea, a huge eddy within the North Atlantic Ocean, was first observed by Christopher Columbus on his initial West Indies voyage. It takes its name from the floating seaweed called Sargassum, or gulfweed, a brown algae that is easily recognized by the many small berrylike bladders which keep it afloat. — Shifting currents impart a whi... more »rlpool-like shape and motion to the Sargasso, and objets are gradually drawn toward its center, where, legend has it, century-old ships still float, rotting, eternally trapped by the matted weed and lack of wind to fill their sails.
While the waters beneath the seaweed might be hundreds of fathoms deep, the calm surface and floating vegetation give an impression of shallows-so much that Columbus reduced his westward speed for fear of running aground. The Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina were becalmed and drifted there, entrapped by the yellow and green weeds for weeks.
Today, travelers in high-powered ships, in airplanes-and even in space vehicles-still enter the Sargasso Sea and vanish for all time.