Scilly’s Sparkling Seas

Last week we saw how Scilly’s fresh clean air encourages the growth of lichen, (and no doubt is beneficial to the human population too.)

But is it not just the air that is clean and unpolluted.  The sea looks like this:

You can see the sea weed growing up from the bottom; fabulous for diving, to explore shipwrecks and watch marine animals.  But why is the sea so clear?

The islands of the Scilly Isles are rather small.  The largest island, St Mary’s is only 2½ square miles (6½ square kilometres) so when it comes to flowing rivers, this is about as large as you get:

Flowing rivers are usually loaded with sediment, which they dump into the sea, but in Scilly there is only ever a trickle flowing into the sea, so the sea water remains clear.

Scilly’s waters are not always so beautifully clean.  The area is a shipwreck hotspot. The infamous Torrey Canyon oil tanker disaster of 1967 left the beaches covered in crude oil and littered with dead seabirds.  While the container ship Cita (1997) brought all manner of finds to the local beaches including trainers, baby clothes and computer mice.  Follow the links for more information about these events.

Where? – 3 – Sea Areas

Last week we discovered the location of the 16 longest rivers in the British Isles.  The indentations in the coastline can help us to locate the rivers and many sea areas close to the coast have their own names too.

Print out a blank outline map.  You can use the one below.

The best way to learn where things are is to put them on a map, but if I just give you a completed map, that won’t help much, so grab a blank map and a pencil, find somebody for a bit of competition, and let’s see what you know already.

We are going to name the areas of sea on the map, starting with the names that cover large areas and then moving to smaller specific locations close to the coast.

Here are the large areas:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Irish Sea
  • North Sea
  • English Channel

Now the small areas close to the coastline. You won’t have space to write the names in most cases so just use the numbers.

  1. North Channel
  2. St George’s Channel
  3. Cardigan Bay
  4. Morecombe Bay
  5. Solway Firth
  6. Menai Strait
  7. The Solent
  8. Strait of Dover
  9. Bristol Channel
  10. The Wash
  11. North Minch
  12. Sea of the Hebrides
  13. Pentland Firth
  14. Firth of Forth
  15. Donegal Bay
  16. Galway Bay
  17. Dingle Bay

When you are ready, scroll down past my pictures to find the answers. The picture captions may give you some clues!

Aberystwyth overlooks Cardigan Bay
The island of Ailsa Craig seen from the North Channel
Snowdonia can be seen across the Menai Strait
The English Channel from the Dorset coast
The North Sea looking towards Doggerland
Dingle Bay, Ireland
The Atlantic Ocean from Connemara, Ireland
St George’s Channel from south-east Ireland
The Irish Sea from the Isle of Man

And here are the answers.  Why not add at least some of the sea areas to your rivers map from last week.