Great South Bay

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Great South Bay
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Great South Bay

Great South Bay (actually a lagoon) is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 45 mi (72 km) long, forming a large natural harbor on the southern side of Long Island in the U.S. state of New York. It is protected from the open ocean by Fire Island, a barrier island approximately 30 mi (48 km) long, as well as the eastern end of Jones Beach Island. The bay is accessible from the ocean through the narrow Fire Island Inlet between the western tip of Fire Island and the easter tip of Jones Beach Island. The bay connects to South Oyster Bay on its western end.

In the early mid-17th century, European settlers arrived among the native Meroke tribes. The earliest included British families such as the Smith, Carman and Hewlett families (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~carman/hsarch/hsarch2.htm) in Merrick and an international horde of Freeport pirates, privateers, freebooters and their ilk, including the legendary Blackbeard and Captain Morgan.

Rapid suburban population growth on the northern shore of the bay has led to the bay becoming a population destination for yachts and other pleasure craft. Development around the bay has led to a degradation of the bay's water quality, and to the rapid growth of eel grass.

During the spring and summer months, the Great South Bay is a beautiful area to go boating or fishing. Many affluent and even middle-class South Shore residents take to bay. It is very popular for jet-skiing (the use of PWCs) since it contains many natural racetracks made up of islands and grassland. Across the Great South Bay is the party island of Fire Island. Due to the dense population of boats and PWC, the Great South Bay becomes site to many boating accidents and devastating fatalities.

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