From Openwaterpediala Manche, Breton: Mor Breizh, Cornish: Mor Bretannek, Brazilian Portuguese: Canal da Mancha, Japanese: ドーバー海峡, Dutch: Het Kanaal or Nauw van Calais (aka Dover Strait), Flemish Dutch: Het Kanaal, Bulgarian: Аз преплувах Ла Манша, Swedish: Engelska kanalen, Hebrew: תעלת אנגליה (Tealat Angelia), Spanish: Canal de la Mancha, Afrikaans: engelse kanaal, German: Ärmelkanal, Italian: Traversata della Manica, Icelandic: Ermarsundið, Russian: Пролив Ламанш, Chinese: 英吉利海峡, Irish: Muir nIochet), often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic.
It is about 560 km (350 mi) long and varies in width from 240 km (150 mi) at its widest, to only 34 km (21 mi) in the Strait of Dover. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi).
Marathon swimmers challenge themselves to swim between Dover, England to Cap Gris Nez, France. The famous waterway is part of the Oceans Seven and is considered to be the most prestigious marathon swim in the world. Solo and relay crossings are governed by two organizations: the Channel Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation.
The Strait of Dover, at the Channel's eastern end is also its narrowest point, while its widest point lies between Lyme Bay and the Gulf of Saint Malo near the midpoint of the waterway. It is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 120 m (390 ft) at its widest part, reducing to a depth of about 45 m (148 ft) between Dover and Calais. From there eastwards the adjoining North Sea continues to shallow to about 26 m (85 ft) in the Broad Fourteens where it lies over the watershed of the former land bridge between East Anglia and the Low Countries. It reaches a maximum depth of 180 m (590 ft) in the submerged valley of Hurds Deep, 30 mi (48 km) west-northwest of Guernsey. The eastern region along the French coast between Cherbourg and the mouth of the Seine river at Le Havre is frequently referred to as the Bay of the Seine (French: Baie de Seine).
Several major islands are situated in the Channel, the most notable being the Isle of Wight off the English coast and the British Crown Dependencies the Channel Islands off the coast of France. The Isles of Scilly off the far southwest coast of England are not generally counted as being in the Channel. The coastline, particularly on the French shore, is deeply indented; several small islands close to the coastline, including Chausey and Mont Saint-Michel, are within French jurisdiction. The Cotentin Peninsula in France juts out into the Channel, and the Isle of Wight creates a small parallel channel known as the Solent in English waters. The Celtic Sea is to the west of the Channel.
The English Channel is part of the Oceans Seven, a global 7-channel challenge that consists of the following 7 waterways around the world. It was first proposed by Steven Munatones in June 2008 and first achieved by Stephen Redmond of Ireland in July 2012:
1. North Channel between Ireland and Scotland
2. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand
3. Molokai Channel between Oahu and Molokai Islands in Hawaii
4. English Channel between England and France
5. Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and then Southern California mainland
6. Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan
7. Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa
Video of the English Channel
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