The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, otherwise completely surrounded by land. While it’s sometimes thought of as part of the Atlantic, it was actually cut off by violent geological activity almost six million years ago, and spent just over half a million years as a dry, arid basin before being refilled by the massive ‘Zanclean flood’ over 5 million years ago.
The ancient flood created an epic-sized waterfall with a flow a thousand times bigger than Niagra falls. This violent cataclysm eventually filled the dry basin just a few hundred years later to create something very like the Mediterranean we know and love, although fossils reveal the area originally had a humid subtropical climate. The climate only went ‘Mediterranean’ within the last three million years.
These days the Med is one of the world’s most popular seagoing playgrounds. What awaits you if you’ve decided to pin your colours on boat share, Mediterranean style?
Yachting the Med – Depths and distances
965,000 square miles of beautiful seas are yours for the taking on the lovely blue Med, connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a slim strait less than nine miles wide, the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Mediterranean averages 1500 metres deep, 4,900 feet in old money. At its deepest it plummets to just over seventeen thousand feet, in a mysterious area called the Calypso Deep set in the Ionian Sea, bordered to the north by Europe, the east by Asia, and the south by Africa.
On the Med you’ll find yourself sailing between 30° and 46° N latitude and 6° W and 36° E longitude. If you want to make your way from the western to the eastern coast, you’ll travel 2500 miles, around 4000km. Sail north to south and you’re looking at around 800km, 500 miles. The total area of water is an awesome 2,510,000 square km including the Sea of Marmara, in other words not far short of ten million square miles. And that’s what we call an awful lot of potential for adventure!
The Marmara, Aegean and Black Seas
The Sea of Marmara is an extension of the Mediterranean, separating Asian Turkey from the European half. It in turn connects to the Aegean Sea via the Dardanelles Strait, and to the Black Sea through the Bosporus Strait.
How does the Med replenish evaporated water?
Every year a metre in depth of water is lost right across the Med thanks to evaporation caused by the gorgeous, balmy climate and the fact that it’s a relatively small sea bounded by land. But the salts in the water don’t evaporate, which leaves the sea saltier than most and both you and your yacht much more buoyant. In fact there’s roughly 38 grams of salt per litre in the Mediterranean and just under 35 in the Atlantic.
How come the Mediterranean doesn’t eventually dry up altogether? A small amount of water arrives thanks to rivers and rain. A tiny amount flows in from the Black Sea. But most of it comes from the mighty Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar, where there’s an incredibly strong current flowing from the Atlantic into the Med, something to watch out for on your voyages.
Countries accessible via the Mediterranean
One of the best things about the Med is the fact that it borders so many totally different countries. Here’s a list of all the amazing nations you can sail or motor to on your Mediterranean boat share adventures.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The Gaza Strip
Want to get the Mediterranean yacht share ball rolling?
Maybe you’ve been meaning to explore the potential of boat share for ages. Perhaps you’ve only just found out about it. Whatever your motivations and inspiration, whatever your plans, we’re the perfect people to help you out.