Southern OceanThis was one of the last oceans to be explored, and to this day is one of the least used, especially for trade, as it is not very useful unless you are trying to get to Antarctica. This ocean completely surrounds the continent of Antarctica, and falls entirely inside of the ice-flow iceberg range of the southern antarctic circle (in other words, it is freaking cold!)
North Atlantic OceanThis ocean was not regularly crossed until after the explorations of Christopher Columbus, after which passage became more and more frequent between North America and Europe (less so between Africa / South America & North America and Europe. It is also used to travel between Europe and the Panama canal which provides access to the Pacific Ocean and East Asia. (At least until the Suez canal was built!)
Indian OceanThe Indian ocean lies between the eastern edge of Africa and the western edge of Australia and the islands of Indonesia. India acts as a "bridge" between these two continents, and was (is) used as a restocking and refueling area on the way to and from southern Asia. This ocean provides the moisture for parts of India (especially the monsoon season), as well as the eastern coast of Africa. Because it is somewhat hedged in by landmass, less inter-oceanic circulation transpires (especially in the northern regions).
Bering SeaThis sea lies between the northern extremities of western North America and eastern Asia. The northern edge of this sea is defined by the point where these two landmasses are the closest (the Bering Strait). The southern border is defined by the Aleutian Islands which curve south-westward and almost reach the shores of Russia. This sea was frequented by natives to the region who traversed it in seal-skin kayaks.
Black SeaThe Black Sea is located in eastern Europe, and is connected to the Mediterranean Sea through a very narrow channel (the mighty Bosporus) through the city of Istanbul. This sea connects Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia, allowing them to trade goods and ideas. This is the region that mythologists believe that Jason and the Argonauts arrived at in their search for the Golden Fleece.
Tasman SeaThis sea lies between the eastern edge of Australia and the islands of New Zealand. This sea and New Zealand are sometimes used as a stopping off point to shorten the long distance between Australia and North America by ship.
Java SeaThis sea lies between the island of Malay and the island of Java, just south of the equator. This is a very shallow sea, with currents coming in from the east and flowing west and then north.
Scotia SeaThe Scotia Sea is defined as a shallower area off the southern tip of South America. Unless a ship is traversing Magellan's Strait, they must pass through this sea in order to access Drake's Passage. The South Georgia and Sandwich Islands lie on the eastern edge, and the Antarctic Peninsula lies at the southern edge.
Gulfo de PanamaThis is a large indention to the south of Panama. Ships sail through here on there way to and from the Panama Canal.
Gulf of BothniaThis is a large section of water between Sweden and Finland. Although there are a few similarities between these countries, this area of water seems to have kept the two cultures fairly separate. Finland's language is significantly different from that of the other Scandinavian countries and the people there have a unique religion, more closely aligned with the Slavic people to the near south.
Gulf of TonkinThe Red River of China and Vietnam flows into this gulf. This area is densely inhabited, on the coast near Ha Noi, it is as densely populated as Hong Kong or regions of Northern China. I imagine that this gulf was very important, strategically, for the Vietnamese in the time of Navel warfare.
Lake BaikalThis lake is located in the heart of the Russian Taiga Forest. This lake is at the heart of many local tribal traditions (as would be expected with such a huge lake). I watched a documentary about shamanism in the area, and there are even certain words that are not allowed to be spoken while on the lake, otherwise it will invoke spirits who will then cause you and your family troubles.
Lake VictoriaThis lake lies in east-central Africa, and is split between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The areas surrounding the lake are diverse - grasslands, forests, woods, hills ... but they all have one thing in common: the lake's life-giving water.
Lake TiticacaThis is a high lake in the Andes. The lake is split into two sections by the border of southern Peru and western Bolivia. This lake was an important gathering point for the tribes of this section of the Andes. The reeds that grow on the lake shore are used to make rafts and homes.
Baffin BayThis is a huge stretch of ocean between western Greenland and Baffin Island of Canada. I have a feeling that almost no one uses this bay, as it is filled with ice pack in the winter and icebergs in the summer. ... and no one lives anywhere near there.
Shark BayLocated on the far western edge of Australia, this bay is home to a number of port towns. The area surrounding the bay is quite dry, and so these are people that would otherwise not have chosen to settle there.
Porpoise BayThis bay is located on the ... northern? coast of Antarctica, directly south of Australia (130 degrees east of Greenwich). This bay is part of the Australian slice of the continent, and is covered by an ice shelf. I wonder how it got its name? Do porpoises live that far south?
Of all the water bodies you mentioned in this assignment, which one do you find most interesting and why?
Thinking about why the inhabitants of Sweden and Norway declined to attack and conquer the people of the Baltic Sea and the gulf of Bothnia. I have a lot of theories, but no concrete evidence. It makes me want to do research, which is a good thing ... so that's why it's the most interesting, I see unanswered questions there.