Fascinating stretches of water bearing unexpected treasures
Almost 70% of our planet is covered by water. If you include gulfs, bays and straits, you can count over 150 seas brimming with animal and plant life as well as ecosystems and unique scenery. Escales reveals its top five seas that you absolutely must explore, each one a long way from the conventional maritime routes.
1. Sea of Cortez: the abundant
In March 1940, author John Steinbeck embarked on a scientific expedition in the waters of the Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) located to the North-West of Mexico. He wrote about his incredible adventure in his bestseller, The Log from the Sea of Cortez. This travel diary is a faithful reflection of the beautiful scenery of this Pacific Ocean marine sanctuary which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
California sea lions, dolphins, whale sharks, giant turtles and sea lions all live here in “the biggest aquarium in the world” (as Naval Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau called it, due to the fact that it is home to over 900 species of fish and marine mammals).
2. Bering Sea: the wild
To the north of the Aleutian Islands lies the Bering Sea: an expanse in the Pacific Ocean extending from Alaska to Siberia. This distant region remains untouched and wild with spectacular scenery blending ice, volcanic islands and blooming tundra in the summertime.
It also represents a unique ecosystem where truly exceptional wildlife has found a home. Whales, polar bears, orcas and sea birds by the million live here in one of the planet’s most isolated locations.
3. Coral Sea: the colourful
Between the north-east coast of Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, the Coral Sea owes its name to its famous coral reef—the largest in the world. According to UNESCO, the reef is home to 400 species of coral, 1500 species of fish and over 4000 species of molluscs. This is one of the world’s key marine conservation areas.
Exploring the Coral Sea means discovering breathtakingly beautiful wild scenery and seeing the hundreds of mostly volcanic islands which surround its untouched tropical waters.
4. Weddell Sea: the isolated
In the middle of the immense Southern Ocean lie the icy waters of the Weddell Sea covering almost two million kilometres. The sea is a place of sanctuary for dozens of species threatened with extinction, including fur seals, Adélie penguin colonies, wandering albatrosses and other giant petrels.
The Weddell Sea has managed to avoid human interference and could soon become the biggest marine sanctuary on the planet. Navigate between the majestic icebergs dotted around and you’ll find yourself plunged into the heart of a bewitching silence.
5. Baffin Bay: the secret
The most beautiful scenery in the Arctic can be found in the middle of Baffin Bay, which is bordered by Greenland to the east and by the largest island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago to the west. Its majestic fjords, rugged mountains, giant icebergs and pristine waters are home to polar bears, walruses, Arctic terns, muskoxen, whales and orcas.
The colourful little villages where the last remaining bear hunters and narwhal fishermen live only enhance the panoramic landscapes of this part of the Canadian Arctic.
Discovering these little-known seas means immersing yourself in the heart of the richness of our incredible marine biodiversity. All you need to do is set sail!