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tinually press it from the ocean. It is driven at last on the West Indies
where part of it escapes through narrow channels and over shallow banks
into the Caribbean. Some, still worried by the weight of oncoming
waters, moves to the northwest, where, known as the Antilles Current, it
skirts the eastward side of the Bahama Islands.
Thus, set in motion by the age-old trade winds, the two great
equatorial currents finally are lost in the Caribbean Sea. But the Caribbean is
smaller than an ocean. Its greater length is only one thousand seven hundred
and fifty miles. Its whole eastern side, from Trinidad to Puerto Rico, is
exposed to the pressure of the equatorial currents. The Antilles Current
prevents escape on the northern side. Driven to the northwest, these waters
at last flow through the Yucatan Channel into the Gulf of Mexico.
Fed by the Rivers of Eastern Mexico and the rivers of the Gulf
States, the Gulf of Mexico receives this additional deluge which flows
steadily into it from the former Spanish Main. Water in the Gulf rises
until it, too, must find an outlet. There is but one, the narrow channel
between Florida and Cuba.
At times, the waters in the Gulf of Mexico are three feet higher
than the ocean. These waters, forming a mighty stream three hundred
and fifty fathoms deep and fifty miles wide, pass through the Florida
Straits at the rate of five miles an hour. Just beyond Cay Sal Bank it runs
into the Great Bahama Bank, a submerged plateau with almost