Geographical Misnomers – When Is a Bay a Lagoon, a Channel a Strait, a Pond a Lake?

Though entertaining a viewing buddy from France, I took him on the obligatory vacation to Fire Island, the barrier beach south of Long Island, New York. As we drove about the Robert Moses Causeway he pointed to the bay and reported: “Ees a lagoon, no?” My French was as good as his English, but I tried out to clarify to him that, no, it is the Terrific South Bay, and I suggested that maybe bay suggests lagoon in French. But Louique, a retired naval officer, was a sharp person and he understood a several matters about issues nautical. Irrespective of our language distinctions, we experienced a wonderful time talking about our mutual naval encounters, he in submarines, me in anti-submarine warfare. He insisted that the bay was a lagoon, and struggled in vain to reveal why. I determined to investigation the make a difference, and found that my friend was accurate.
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Rating 1 for the French!

Not only is the Great South Bay a lagoon, it can be not even shut to currently being a bay. Moriches Bay, Patchogue Bay and Shinnecock Bay to the east are also lagoons, all of which, together with the Terrific South Bay, are section of the backbarrier lagoon technique of the Extended Island’s South Shore. A lagoon is shallow and is near or connected with a more substantial entire body of water. The Wonderful South Bay is unquestionably shallow, with an normal depth of four.2 feet at low tide. I when fell off a sailboat into the bay whilst modifying a sail. My instant considered was how very long I would have to tread drinking water. No trouble. I stood there in upper body deep water as my wife turned the boat all over to select me up.

A bay, on the other hand, is a concave physique of h2o that is formed by the action of a sea or lake, and typically has a large opening to the larger physique of water. When we glance out to the Hamptons, we see some genuine bays. Peconic Bay to the east is a common bay. Gardiner’s Bay, Tiny Peconic Bay, Wonderful Peconic Bay – they are all one bay, just with area names. Picture a waterway formed like a “u” or a “v.”

We Lengthy Islanders are not the only men and women who get in touch with a lagoon a little something unique. Albemarle Seem and Pamlico Sound in North Carolina are lagoons, as is the Isle of Wight Bay off Ocean Town, Maryland. And for those with much too significantly time on their hands, ponder these nautical conundrums. How extensive does a strait have to be before it can be called a seem? How significant is a pond in advance of it turns into a lake? What is the big difference between: a channel and a strait a bay and a gulf a fjord and an inlet? How about the all-time favourite: when does a boat grow to be a ship? Rest. There are usually no specific solutions to these concerns, so just dwell with the way items are named historically – with limitations – If an individual calls Lake Placid the Sea of Placid, I set my foot down.

While we may perhaps visualize a lagoon as a small tropical waterway with a coral reef, palm trees and parrots, there are lagoons all about the entire world, and some are quite large such asLong Island’s Fantastic South Bay with 151 sq. miles of water.

But so what. I am not advocating switching the title of this stunning bay. Let’s confront it, the “Excellent South Lagoon” just does not lower it. I normally have, however do and always will simply call it the Terrific South Bay, and so ought to you. But you have to have to be armed with the understanding that it truly is a lagoon, and when a going to buddy asks, “Ees a lagoon, no?” you can respond with calculated smugness, “Of program it is. We Prolonged Islanders just want to call it a bay.