We’ll be entering the Bermuda Triangle soon, on our way north to the USA. Just Google “Bermuda Triangle” and you get over 3 million hits. I had to research carefully, because if we believed all the fantastic stories written about occurrences in this area, we’d never sail there. Here are some interesting facts to ponder:
1. The exact size of the Bermuda Triangle depends on your source. The smallest area ever defined is at least 500,000 square miles. Some sources day it is as large as 1.5 million square miles.
2. The Bermuda Triangle is roughly defined by an imaginary triangle that connects Miami, Florida to Bermuda and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This area is also known as “The Devil’s Triangle” or “The Hoodoo Sea.”
3. Christopher Columbus is thought to be the first European to sail through the area known as the Bermuda Triangle on his first voyage to the New World. He reported that a great flame of fire (probably a meteor) crashed into the sea one night and that a strange light appeared in the distance a few weeks later. He also wrote about erratic compass readings.
4. The first mention of unusual incidents within the area was in 1894. A US Navy officer, S. D. Sigsbee, concluded a 7-year study in which he noted that 1,628 derelict vessels had been found within the area that is now called the Bermuda Triangle.
5. Vincent Gaddis, an American author, coined the phrase “Bermuda Triangle” in a February 1964 Argosy magazine cover piece. The Argosy was the first American pulp magazine published 1882-1978.
6. Some scholars claim that William Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, was based on a real-life Bermuda Triangle shipwreck.
7. The Bermuda Triangle was a best-selling 1974 book by Charles Berlitz which popularized the belief of the Bermuda Triangle as an area of ocean prone to disappearing ships and airplanes. The book sold nearly 20 million copies in 30 languages, but is now out of print.
8. Unexplained events within the Bermuda Triangle have been attributed to: UFOs, leftover technology from the mythical city of Atlantis, underwater pyramids, sea monsters, methane bubbles and mud volcanoes, giant whirlpools and blue holes, electronic fog, compass deviation, violent weather (including sudden squalls, downdrafts, hurricanes and waterspouts), the Gulf Stream, giant rogue waves and human error … and probably a few more that I’ve missed.
9. Steven Spielberg played upon the UFO theory in Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the planes of the missing WWII Flight 19 were discovered in the desert and the missing crew was returned on the alien spacecraft.
10. Lloyds of London, a major insurer of ships and boats, does not charge any extra premium for vessels plying the waters of the Bermuda Triangle. If the insurers don’t charge more, they obviously don’t think it’s a risk. In actuality, considering the amount of ocean-going traffic in the area, the incidence of losses in the waters of the Bermuda Triangle are no worse than any other place.
11. The Bermuda Triangle was one of the places on Earth where true north and magnetic north line up and this was sometimes considered a cause for miscalculation on the part of sailors when sailing through the BT. This is no longer true, however, because as the Earth’s electromagnetic field has changed, magnetic north has shifted. The agonic line, the point at which true north and magnetic north are the same, is now somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico.
Want to test your knowledge of the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Take this quiz.