the New World. He named it the Mar de Sargaco, a name that
survives today as the Sargasso Sea.
For a long time during the day of wooden ships, sailors were
superstitious about the Sargasso Sea. They were unable to account for
the many derelicts they saw there. They believed there must be some
connection between the thousands of acres of seaweeds and these
rotting hulks that floated in their midst. They did not know about the
great ocean eddy which slowly swept everything into its center. One
theory is that the seaweed in the Sargasso Sea may be native to the
Atlantic Ocean instead of carried from the coasts of the Antilles.
Seaweeds grow in shallow tropical waters where they cling to
stones by means of cup-like discs. They do not hold tightly and every
storm tears great quantities of them from their moorings. Tides and
shore currents loosen a great many more so that they appear in great
numbers in the Gulf Stream.
They are so plentiful there that they have won the name of "gulf-
weed." By means of berry-like air vessels clustered on their stems, they
float on the surface of the current in long yellow lines. In some parts of
the world, especially China and elsewhere in the Far East, these seaweeds
are used as a food when prepared as a pickle or a salad. In South America
the stems, called "goiter sticks," are employed in treating goiter.
In the Gulf Stream, these weeds provide protection and shelter
for millions of tiny creatures born in tropical seas. Countless one-