Bay of Biscay

<p>The Bay of Biscay with a wrecked boat, 1840. image courtesy of ancestryimages.com</p>

The Bay of Biscay is a roughly triangular-shaped gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded on the east by the west coast of France and on the south by the north coast of Spain. A line from Ushant Island (Île d’Ouessant) off Brest in north-west France to Cape Ortegal in north-west Spain marks its western boundary. The Bay of Biscay is noted for its strong winds, rough seas, unpredictable currents and winter westerly gales that can exceed 110 kilometres per hour. The Bay of Biscay lies to the east of the route from southern England and sea captains bound for South Australia understandably gave it a wide berth.

The French name for the Bay of Biscay is Golfe de Gascogne and the Spanish refer to it as the Golfo de Vizcaya. It may be named after the Basque province of Biscay. The Basques call it Bizkaiko golkoa.

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