I'm not afraid send me back to the Bermuda Triangle

The Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream.

The first European to notice the Gulf Stream was probably Ponce deLeon. While exploring Florida, deLeon was sailing south through what is now the Florida Straits. His large war ship was under full sail with a strong breeze behind it, yet the ship was actually moving backwards in the water. He quickly realized that a strong current was pushing him out to sea faster that the strong breeze could bring him south. Currents such as these are not that uncommon in straits. He simply maneuvered his ship closer to shore and out of the current, making note of the current in his journal in the event of future passages.

Of course this first episode did not expose the full magnitude of what would later become the Gulf Stream. A couple hundred years later, a man named Benjamin Franklin (yes that Ben Franklin) would observe that ships coming from England to Boston would take a full two days longer than ships returning from Boston to England. He knew it couldn't just be the fate that consistently produced such results.

Franklin wasn't the type of person who was going to let such a puzzling question go unanswered so he set out to find an answer. What he noticed was the American ships tended to take a different route than the British Ships and seemed to have a current pushing them along. He noticed several other things as well.

Franklin went about charting this current and despite his crude instruments and lack of adequate charts, he managed to chart it quite accurately. It wasn't that difficult because the current was so noticeable.

About the only misconception that Franklin had was the origin of the Gulf Stream. He had assumed that it began in the Gulf of Mexico. Later it would be discovered that the Gulf Stream was just a portion of the circle of the North Atlantic Current which runs east to west along the Equator before changing directions north and becoming the Gulf stream.

The currents throughout the Bermuda Triangle are affected by the warm Gulf Stream. This current flows in a north easterly direction from the tip of Florida, up the Eastern Seaboard to The Saint Lawrence Seaway and then roughly across the Atlantic toward the United Kingdom. The current divides the Cold waters of the North Atlantic from the hot water of the Sargasso Sea. The current accounts for the London fog as well as the temperate climate of Europe. Much of Europe is as far north as Canada, yet the climate tends to be more moderate, all because of this Gulf Stream.

The current is strong and small boats in the area that are not familiar with it (the Snow Birds and other vacationers as well as novice sailors) can easily be pushed off-course. The reason is that the current is continuously pushing the boat north and east of Florida and the Bahamas. In the area of the Florida straits (the narrow channel separating Florida and the Bahamas) the current is always swift, turbulent and traveling almost straight north! Debris form ships that have sunk in the Straits of Florida (as well as notes in bottles, and pollution) have been found all the way on the other side of the Atlantic because of the force that this current possesses.

What this means: Boats go into the area an assume they are traveling in an easterly direction when in fact they are traveling east-north east. If the boat is going a short distance the problem can be corrected by simply watching the shoreline or other familiar landmarks. If the boat is going a long distance the landmarks become lost beyond the horizon. To further exacerbate the problem the farther the boat goes out the more off course it becomes.

To make matter worse, when the boat turns around and heads due west on its return route, it is still being pushed northeast. Anyone who has tried to paddle a canoe upstream realizes that it takes longer to go upstream than down stream. The same is true when fighting the Gulf Stream. Furthermore the current is still pushing you north so even if you compensate for the outward motion of the gulf stream you can still wind up several miles north of your destination unless you are a very good sailor

(see map)
To compound the problem, the Captain of the craft will probably "May Day" where he should be according to the route he thought he took, without making any compensation for the drift of the Gulf Stream, complicating any Search-and-Rescue mission