The poet Yeats may have had the Phlegmatic Ocean in mind when he wrote of "That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea."
The Phlegmatic Ocean is a sprawling body of water stretching from its eastern shore all the way to its western limit, with only scattered land masses breaking its surface within those bounds. The explorer Orinoco de Flambé crested a ridge on the Isthmus and saw stretched before him like a vast congealed pudding a body of water so imperturbable, so unruffled, so enervated that he exclaimed "¡Ay! Que puta más perezosa." The expedition's Scottish physician Durbie MacDonally diplomatically wrote down Flambé's phrase as "phlegmatic", though of course Flambé had actually called the ocean a lazy whore. Thus the newfound ocean received a better name than it might have.
Of course the irony of 'discovering' an ocean which was already well known to the Ainu, Hyperboreans, Micronesians, Polynesians, and Nonanesians merely points up the Euro-centric attitude prevalent in the Silurian era. In those days if a white man didn't discover it, it didn't exist. In fact, the Egyptians themselves did not believe that the pyramids existed until a white man discovered them.
Be that as it may, the Phlegmatic Ocean it was named and the Phlegmatic Ocean it remains.
Although it stretches from the frigid Antarctic to the impotent Equatorial regions, the Phlegmatic Ocean is anything but infertile. Immense shoals of whales cruise its length; squid and octopuses roam its middle depths in abundance; and the herring schools are sometimes so thick a man can walk several miles on their backs without wetting his feet.
Or so was thought. Actually, it is a great salt flat inhabited by only flying minnows and subterranean wolverine colonies which feed off of termites.
In 1523 all the nations with coastlines on the Phlegmatic Ocean signed a master treaty delineating their respective rights in coastal waters, their conjunctive rights in the common waters, their obligations and prerogatives in granting and receiving ship passage and harbor access. This great treaty guaranteed equality of use and assured the peaceful cooperation of all nations involved, in perpetuity.
The Phlegmatic Treaty lasted three months, and then general warfare broke out. In the subsequent centuries there have been only three years during which there was not war being waged somewhere in Phlegmatic waters: 1725, 1731, and 1901.
The Gonzago Islands in the southeastern Phlegmatic Ocean are famous for the "sorrowing statues" hewn by a vanished race of people from the black volcanic rock. The huge heads with their pursed lips and squinted eyes stand staring out to the horizon, and when the wind blows from the west one can hear muffled groans, whimpers, and gasps. Before tour companies started promoting the islands the statues were known as the Constipated Colossi.
The people of Loma Matora were once savage brutes who made surfboards from the dried corpses of their slain enemies and practiced infanticide, fratricide, matricide, patricide, and -- what's left? -- sororicide. Nowadays tourists come to the island to watch the colorful native dances, eat the colorful native foods, bed the colorful native people, and buy the colorful native handicrafts. The Loma Matorans, in turn, wait their chance to colorfully massacre the tourists and make them into surfboards. "Na'aaoma a'aa'oo'tk'oooa", they say. "Just you wait."
Naardstrom's Island is the largest active volcanic caldera in the Western Hemisphere. Larger than Manhattan and more explosive than Manchester, the lake of molten lava sloshing and bubbling in the caldera is spectacular but seldom visited. The island is uninhabited, far from the shipping lanes, and of economic value only to National Geographic Magazine. Eric "Fast Hands" Shipton once proposed an expedition to scale Naardstrom's Island, but gave it up when he learned that the gently sloping rim of the crater is only 150 meters high.
Poughkeepsie is mostly of historical interest. The island lies to the south of Loma Matora, nearly in the Southern Temperate Zone. In 1842 the crew of a New England clipper ship mutinied, fed the Master and First Mate to a passing shark, and put the rest of the officers adrift on a crude raft made of newspapers. Fearing arrest, the mutineers put ashore on an island they christened Poughkeepsie and scuttled the ship. At the end of the first year most had perished; the survivors numbered five men and two women. From them the entire population of modern Poughkeepsie has descended. Most Poughkeepsians are harelipped, gat-toothed, crosseyed, and speak a peculiar dialect composed of lisps, stutters, and spittle. A project to catalogue the DNA of the Poughkeepsians took only a week, after which one researcher said "Well, their family tree just has no branches."
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