Useful Notes / The Seven Seas

The major bodies of water on Earth, with a discussion of their role in fiction.

What the "seven seas" are has varied over the years. We are going with the modern definition, associating relevant seas with their respective oceans.

North Atlantic

Primarily known for, well, not much. Takes about a week to cross on a ship, although the record is about three and a half days.

  • Scene of the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, where the Germans tried to stop North American supplies getting to the UK.
    • Many World War III works have the USSR trying to do something similar.
  • Also where the RMS Titanic made its only voyage.
  • Don't forget the Bermuda Triangle
  • Also, the Gulf Stream current bringing warm water from the Caribbean east across the Atlantic maybe helping to keep Europe from freezing. There's a theory that climate change may shut this down, to undesirable effects most recently grossly exaggerated in The Day After Tomorrow. In Real Life, the effects of this, while not as severe as in the movie, are already observable in Scandinavia.

Mediterranean Sea

Connecting the Atlantic and Indian Oceans via the Suez canal, the Med is known for being hot and a major tourist destination, especially if you live in NW Europe.

Best known by Greco-Roman culture: to them it was the centre of the world, and that is in fact what the name means (Medi-Terra, world's middle). Of course, it can also mean "sea surrounded by land" which it also is; indeed, "mediterranean sea" with a small "m" is a technical oceanographic term for seas mostly (but not entirely, that's another thing) cut off from the ocean, and whose circulation is therefore dominated by salinity and density rather than wind.

Black Sea

One of Russia's main seas and also Turkey's. The only access from the Med to this is via the Dardanelles and international treaties limit the amount of warship tonnage you can have in there if you're not a local state.

Baltic Sea

A major trade sea of Northern Europe. The Hanseatic League of medieval merchants operated here. This sea was very important for the Russian Empire since the times of Peter the Great, who built St.Petersburg as a Baltic port.note  Many Ruritanias were/are located on the coast of this sea.

Caribbean Sea/Gulf of Mexico

Known as one of the former homes of Pirates. Has hurricanes, bananas and historically Banana Republics. Many countries from The Commonwealth of Nations are found here.

South Atlantic

Also known for not much, except The Falkland Islands. Cape Horn, the Atlantic-Pacific crossing point, is known for seriously strong trade winds and is considered the toughest part of any global circumnavigation by boat.

North Pacific

Known for not all that much. There's Japan, obviously, but most of the stuff round here are cold islands with US radar stations on, and Russian Pacific fleet.

South Pacific

A large collection of low-lying atolls, best known for their scantily-clad natives and diverse wildlife. And nuclear testing.

The location of many major World War II campaigns and the Mutiny on the Bounty.


Largely covered in ice for much of the year, there is no real permanent land mass here, except for several inhospitable island chains such as Svalbard and Novaya Zemlya. The main stuff you find here are submarines under the ice pack.

Barents Sea

Traditionally, a home for the Russian Navy.

White Sea

The inland sea of Russia, and home to its Arctic Navy. Submarine bases and ancient monasteries on islands.

Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukotsk Sea

Ice-bound Arctic seas along the northern coast of Russia. Tundra shores, icy glacial islands with old Soviet nuclear test sites separating them. Russian submarines under the ice, polar bears, native peoples and crusty Russian miners (historically also Gulag inmates) at the shores. In the Soviet era, they also featured giant atomic icebreaker ships leading supply convoys from west to east and back.
  • The shores also boast some of the northernmost railroads in the world, such as the isolated Norilsk Railroad and the ill-fated Transpolar Mainline, built in Stalinist times by gulag inmates, fallen into disrepair for decades and currently being brought back into working order by corporate natural gas drillers from the monopolistic Mega Corp. Gazprom.

Bering Sea

North of the Aleutian Islands, this area's more known for seal hunting when it was OK, and being near where the Bering Land Bridge was.


Best known for penguins and scientific observation bases, no-one actually owns any of the land mass that is Antarctica, as per international treaty.


Has a couple of large island groups in the middle of it, but mostly ignored.
  • In the West, anyway. The Monsoon used to aid in navigation on the "Maritime Silk Road" between the China and Europe and feeds a billion people (give or take) across Southern Asia.
  • Still important in international trade. According to The Other Wiki a quarter of all of the world's trade pass through the Strait of Malacca each year.
  • Boxing Day Tsunami of 2006
  • And then there's this place called Somalia

Persian/Arabian Gulf

The area from Iraq to the Straits of Hormuz and a major oil transit route. The name you use may annoy some people.

Red Sea

Moses parted it, according to The Bible. Very popular with divers.