This may very well be an easily answered question, in which case I apologize for the lack of challenge, but in all honesty I’m not sure where to start in figuring this out.

I have a large sea. It sits in between a continent about the size of Mexico and Canada put together (which I’ll call MC for this question) and other smaller, island-like continents ruled by a separate nation.

There is a single stretch of beach on MC continent’s coast that ‘sits out’ further towards the sea than the rest. I imagine there’s a thin stretch of land that connects it to the beaches further in. The oddity, and appeal, of this lonely stretch of sand is that the waters ahead of it are unusually calm compared to the rest of the sea. Storms touch it, but don’t seem to effect it either as severely or as long as they do the rest of the sea. So, it’s not always calm, but it usually is.

Also, this section of the sea is not closed off from the rest. If you were to look at the sea on the map, this section wouldn’t seem apart at a glance; this is my original plan, but if some sort of miniscule barrier is needed, I’d be happy to hear suggestions including such a thing. However, the oddity of this area is based on the fact that it is ‘amidst’ the sea, but is strangely apart from it on account of its ‘temper’.

What might cause the existence of this oddly calm area of the sea? Is it plausible?

  • $\begingroup$ Not all areas of the ocean (or of continents) experience the same number of storms, or storms with the same intensity. There are far fewer storms in the Atlantic around the 20th parallel than along the 50th, for example. Or, in a smaller sea, there are faaaar more storms in the western Mediterranean than in the Levant; there is even a very significant difference between the Ionian and Aegean seas (western and eastern coast of Greece, respectively). $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 2 '20 at 11:14
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest you read up about the Doldrums/Sargasso Sea bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/esp_bermuda_04.htm $\endgroup$ – chasly - supports Monica Aug 2 '20 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ I think that if you aren't making it magically immune to storms, it's enough to just handwave and say it's so. This sounds like a minor feature, and not all minor features have to be explained. They just need to be NOT obviously inconsistent. If it IS magical (suggested by some of your words) then it's so minor that the same thing applies, and magic doesn't need science. $\endgroup$ – DWKraus Aug 2 '20 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't an easy question - like all questions about climate, it's incredibly difficult. So difficult there may never be a competent answer. So many variables go into how an ocean works (salinity, water volume, floor topology, coastline distance and shape, latitude, mantle thermals, wind/atmospheric effects, cloud coverage, star type/distance, planet orbit/tilt, just to name a few) that you need to write us a book to get a best-guess. IMO, forget plausible. Just declare it to be so and move on with the story you actually want to tell. (*continued*) $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 2 '20 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ However, if you really want to start learning about all this, you can start with the "climate" section of our Worldbuilding Resources page. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 2 '20 at 20:38

I don't think metorological differences in storm frequency are small-scaled enough to affect specifically a "single stretch of beach".

But there is another option: There is a natural oil leak below that patch of sea:

Oil has a damping effect on water which absorbs some of the energy of the waves. It also quickly forms a thin layer over a large expanse of the surface of the water through a process of deprotonation. This prevents wind from being able to get traction along the water and thus waves cannot form as easily.

This would mean that storms in this area are no less frequent or strong than elsewhere, but the water is calmer and thus safer for ships.

Of course, this permanent oil film would be visible in daylight, and get deposited on ships' hulls and on the beach.

  • $\begingroup$ This is a fascinating answer. +1 for finding some science! $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 2 '20 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Found this: whoi.edu/know-your-ocean/ocean-topics/seafloor-below/…. Out of curiosity, do you think it would it need to be on a larger scale to accomplish what you’ve suggested or do you think the effect could last long enough that the size of the seep wouldn’t matter? $\endgroup$ – MooNieu Aug 9 '20 at 21:58
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    $\begingroup$ @MooNieu: sorry, I don't know enough to answer that. I think the size of the effect and the area would depend on the amount, the depth of the water, the exact properties (viscosity and volatility) of the oil, and the temperature. $\endgroup$ – Michael Borgwardt Aug 10 '20 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael Borgwardt - No worries. I didn’t expect an answer like this. Didn’t even occur to me that there could be natural oil leaks in the ocean. Best thing about WB SE, the unexpected. $\endgroup$ – MooNieu Aug 10 '20 at 23:28

Deep Water

Fact: Historically most sailing was done within sight of the coast. That means the boats didn't leave the continental shelf.

The calm section of water is much deeper than the surrounding area. It's still near the coast though.

When storms touch the shallower waters they churn it up and create friction along the bottom which leads to small but violent waves that bend the hull and crash over to top of your ship.

When the storm touches the deep water it creates much taller but also much wider waves. The waves might be 10m tall but they're also 100 wide and they rarely crash. So you can just bob up and down on top of the waves without noticing much.

  • $\begingroup$ Rogue waves can cripple and destroy ships and only occur in deep water. The idea that deeper water is calmer than shallow water simply because it's deeper is factually false. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 2 '20 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH "Rogue" suggests it's an uncommon occurrence. $\endgroup$ – Daron Aug 2 '20 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ You've missed my point, Daron. Deep seas are regularly dangerous. Youtube is full of videos of ships capsizing (not bobbing) on the open sea. The sea, shallow or deep, is dangerous to all shipping. No portion of the deep sea is calm because it's deep. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 3 '20 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ Your point seems to be "but you might still sink". I agree with you. I am proposing the deep water makes this less likely to happen. $\endgroup$ – Daron Aug 3 '20 at 12:20

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