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

When entertaining a visiting pal from France, I took him on the obligatory vacation to Fire Island, the barrier seashore south of Lengthy Island, New York. As we drove over the Robert Moses Causeway he pointed to the bay and mentioned: “Ees a lagoon, no?” My French was as excellent as his English, but I tried using to clarify to him that, no, it is the Wonderful South Bay, and I advised that possibly bay means lagoon in French. But Louique, a retired naval officer, was a sharp male and he understood a couple of points about matters nautical. In spite of our language distinctions, we experienced a terrific 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 clarify why. I made the decision to exploration the make any difference, and found out that my buddy was right. Score just one for the French!

Not only is the Great South Bay a lagoon, it really is not even close to remaining a bay. Moriches Bay, Patchogue Bay and Shinnecock Bay to the east are also lagoons, all of which, such as the Great South Bay, are component of the backbarrier lagoon program of the Long Island’s South Shore. A lagoon is shallow and is in the vicinity of or connected with a bigger overall body of h2o. The Terrific South Bay is certainly shallow, with an regular depth of 4.two toes at reduced tide. I after fell off a sailboat into the bay although transforming a sail. My quick assumed was how long I would have to tread h2o. No problem. I stood there in upper body deep h2o as my spouse turned the boat all around to choose 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 normally has a large opening to the bigger entire body of h2o. When we search out to the Hamptons, we see some actual bays. Peconic Bay to the east is a normal bay. Gardiner’s Bay, Minor Peconic Bay, Good Peconic Bay – they are all a person bay, just with community names.
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Photo a waterway shaped like a “u” or a “v.”

We Lengthy Islanders are not the only people who contact a lagoon something diverse. Albemarle Audio and Pamlico Audio in North Carolina are lagoons, as is the Isle of Wight Bay off Ocean Town, Maryland. And for those with way too significantly time on their arms, ponder these nautical conundrums. How vast does a strait have to be prior to it is really referred to as a audio? How huge is a pond before it gets to be a lake? What is the change involving: a channel and a strait a bay and a gulf a fjord and an inlet? How about the all-time favored: when does a boat come to be a ship? Take it easy. There are normally no distinct answers to these concerns, so just stay with the way issues are named traditionally – with restrictions – If anyone phone calls Lake Placid the Sea of Placid, I put my foot down.

Even though we may possibly visualize a lagoon as a little tropical waterway with a coral reef, palm trees and parrots, there are lagoons all above the planet, and some are very massive these kinds of asLong Island’s Terrific South Bay with 151 square miles of water.

But so what. I am not advocating altering the identify of this wonderful bay. Let’s facial area it, the “Wonderful South Lagoon” just doesn’t slice it. I constantly have, even now do and normally will get in touch with it the Great South Bay, and so really should you. But you require to be armed with the knowledge that it really is a lagoon, and when a browsing pal asks, “Ees a lagoon, no?” you can respond with calculated smugness, “Of study course it is. We Extended Islanders just prefer to connect with it a bay.