THE PACIFIC OCEAN ITS SEAS BAYS GULFS STRAITS AND CHANNELS A characteristic feature of the Pacific Ocean is the series of gulfs and seas on its western side, partly enclosed by a line of islands from Alaska to Australia, and the almost entire absence of any considerable indentation, except the Gulf of California, on its eastern shores. But there are nowhere any true inland seas like the Mediterranean or the Baltic. In the extreme north we have Behring's Sea, bounded on the south by the Aleutian Islands ; the Sea of Okhotsk, separated from the ocean by the peninsula of Kamtchatka and the Kurile Islands ; the Sea of Japan, with the Gulf of Tartary, between Saghalien, the Japan Isles, and Corea and Man chooria ; the Yellow Sea, with the Gulfs of Pe-che-lee and Leao-tong ; the China Sea, with the Gulfs of Tonquin and Sian, between the Indo-Chinese Peninsula and the Philip pines and Borneo ; the Sulu, Celebes, Banda, Flores, and Java Seas, between the islands of the Malay Archipelago ; the Coral Sea, off the north-east of Australia ; a few un important bays and ports on the eastern coasts of Australia ; and the Gulf of Hauraki, Bay of Plenty, and Pegasus Bay, in New Zealand.
The western side of the Pacific is, as we have already stated, almost destitute of inlets, the only considerable in dentations being the Gulf of Ca'ifornia, Bay of Panama, and the minor Gulf of Guayaquil.
The principal Straits and Channels are Behring's Strait, leading into the Arctic ; Straits of La Perouse, Sangar, and Corea, connecting the Sea of Japan with the ocean ; the Strait and Channel of Formosa, connecting the China Sea and the Pacific ; the Strait of Macassar, between Borneo and Celebes ; the Molucca Pass, between Celebes and Gilolo ; Torres Strait, between New Guinea and Australia ; Bass Strait, between Tasmania and Victoria ; and Cook Strait, between North and South Islands of New Zealand.
On the American coast we have Queen Charlotte Sound, Gulf of Georgia, and Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island and the mainland ; and the Straits of Magellan, and other channels of Tierra del Fuego, leading into the Atlantic.
The Pacific thus communicates with the Arctic Ocean by Behring's Strait ; with the Antarctic by an uninterrupted expanse from Balleny Islands to Graham Land ; with the Atlantic by Magellan and other straits of Tierra del Fuego, as well as by the open sea between Cape Horn and South Shetland, and may, probably at no distant date, communicate directly by a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama ; under very favourable conditions, vessels might be able to proceed from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the North-West Passage up Davis Strait, thence through Barrow Strait, Melville Sound, Arctic Ocean, and Behring's Strait., or by the North-East Passage round the north of Asia and through Behring's Strait. Several channels and seas between the islands of the Malay Archipelago admit vessels from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean, the principal being the Straits of Malacca and Sunda, leading into the Java and China Seas, and thence by the Strait of Macassar, Celebes Sea, and the Channel or Strait of Formosa, into the Pacific ; Torres Strait, connecting the Coral Sea of the Pacifiz with the Arafura Sea of the Indian Ocean.