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We need to get on the same page of the atlas regarding our island

Humour: William S. Zuill

Dear Sir,

With the Bermuda Tourism Authority doing its best to educate its target markets as to where Bermuda actually is located, it would be a good thing if we all got on to the same page of the atlas.

In a Letter to the Editor (January 27, 2014) the late William S. Zuill, one of Bermuda’s pre-eminent historians, wrote:

“ZBM is given to boasting about its AccuWeather forecasts. I wonder if they can enlighten me as to why they do not carry information about the weather in the Falkland Islands and southern Argentina — Patagonia — for the lovely lady who gives the information stands before a screen which is plainly marked ‘South West Atlantic’.”

Sadly, Will’s words fell on deaf ears, as nothing has changed — perhaps he was thought to be being facetious; he was noted also for his keen sense of humour. But, in the interest of accuracy, let’s establish where we really are in the world.

According to Wikipedia, “The Atlantic Ocean occupies an elongated, S-shaped basin extending longitudinally between Eurasia and Africa to the east, and the Americas to the west ... It is connected in the north to the Arctic Ocean ... and the Southern Ocean in the south ... The Equatorial Counter Current subdivides it into the North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean at about 8° N.”

Bermuda, then, at 32° N, is clearly in the North Atlantic. Actually, the south-west Atlantic extends down the whole of the east coast of South America, including the Falkland Islands, etc, as noted by Mr Zuill.

To say that Bermuda is located in the north-west Atlantic would also be incorrect, as that would place us too far north extending, as it does, from North Carolina to Nova Scotia and beyond.

Bermuda is actually located in the Western Atlantic, which also encompasses the Caribbean, and extends from North Carolina down to and including the northern coast of South America.

It is well known that “in 1940 American warships began escorting Allied convoys in the Western Atlantic as far as Iceland” and much history has been written of the war in the Western Atlantic, with ships assembling off the island and merging with the main convoys off Halifax.

If we are to accurately position ourselves for our visitors, and our schoolchildren alike, surely our preference would be for Bermuda to be reported as being in the Western Atlantic. Perhaps those in a position to achieve this can prevail upon AccuWeather to reflect this in their graphics and thereby support the efforts of the BTA. I think we owe Will that, don’t you?


Smith’s Parish