The English Channel is a... channel of water that is between England and France. It pretends to be part of the Atlantic ocean.
The English Channel was born aeons ago... when the world had a giant, watery flatulence problem. A giant flood created it. In a violent act of nature, a giant bedrock of limestone ws ripped from the seabed by a glood made by a "vast freshwater lake formed over thousands of years in what is now the Southern North Sea. The North Sea just got big and decided to overflow.
Helped by the Rhine, the Thames and some other unimportant rivers, it made the English Channel which is now, an icon of Europe.
The English Channel was also a great, natural defence that protected the English from other people. The truth was, England was a little better off than the foggy tinpot European countries back in 55 BC. Time and time again, Vikings, Romans,Germanic Angles, Saxons, Jutes kept attacking them until they kinda gave up on it all together. So, they suggested a trade route. And failed even more.
Then came Elizabeth I, who made the best navy in the world- The Royal Navy. Basically unbeatable, it could destroy anything- giant tentacle rape monsters, Spanish Armardas, Davy Jones. Anything.
Davy Jones was no match.
Then, a bunch of angry Germans herald the start of World War II. Sweaping across Europe, they suddenly came 35 kilometres to victory! Unfortunately, that 35 kilometres was the English Channel.That meant that German bombers ran out of fuel halfway across and crashed.
"Why can't the English Channel be in Germany?
The English Channel has always saved Great Britain. The rule is: If you want to take over the world, make sure you are British. Oh wait... Great Britain did take over the world. Almost.
We've dealt with the British, but what of the French?
Well, the French strangely call it "La manche"- The sleeve. This means that the French casually say "I'm going to sail on the sleeve"
Why do they call it this? Because it looks like an old fashioned sleeve...aparently.
Do you see a sleeve?
The English Channel is home to many people. Predominantly, the main islanders are English. The rest are French.
These are the flags of the people who own the "islands"
British Population: 461,181 French Population: 248,547
Once again, Great Britain wins... In fact, it used to own the whole of Normandy, so be happy.
In England, there are many houses... or perhaps forts around, for people to enjoy living in. Numerous fors, such as Fort Lupin and Spitbank were built along the shores to protect England from invasions. Some, as they have no need anymore are being auctioned and sold for luxury lairs. For example, Spitbank Fort is being auctioned. BBC News reports:
"The walls are 15ft (4.5m) thick at basement level, with 35ft (10.6m) thick sea foundations and a 8ft (2.3m) thick concrete roof...
Mr Brickwood said: "It's not every day you get to own an armoured fortress in the middle of one of the busiest waterways in the world and with some of the best vistas in the kingdom.
It is being sold with everything necessary to run the fort as a business, from the rigid inflatable boat to the cups and saucers, knives and forks."
Also, during World War II, anti-aircraft cannons were installed. This "Trident Missile" of yesteryear can be considered to be an evil genius' residence. However, the new honours want to convert it into a casino. A casino miles off shore... so you need a boat.
A whole f**king fort!
Speaking of such, the English Channel is home to pirate radio broadcasters. which are people broadcasting illegal radio transmittions. But since they are in international waters... it's fine.
In fact, the Principality of Sealand was originally a pirate radio station.
Among other illegal activites, the waters of the English Channel are home to "Booze Cruises"- basically boats loaded with beer, drugs and... love. Hippies usually use these.
Notice how these innovative "booze cruisers" have decided to stuff as much beer into their boat by making their boat out of beer cans. Smart.
Throughout history, there have been numerous ways of crossing the English Channel:
The first notable crossing of the English Channel was by balloon, when Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed it. Unfortunately, they overloaded the balloon with scientific "stuff" and it began plumeting towards the Earth. At that point, they started ditching everything off- oars, barometres... even their clothes- until they were alone... in their underpants.
Kinda like this...
Anyway, the two strippers, I mean... brave pioneers of aviation made it home. As a result, this tale inspired a movie.
The first crossing by an airplane was by Louis Bleriot. An accident waiting to happen, Louis Bleriot was continuously causing chaos...accidently. All his airplanes did not fly (apart from one) and he crashed over 2 out of 3 times on every flight. Well done.
Notice his manly moustache?
But, if anyone knows anything about Louis Bleriot, it was that he was a man. A real man. With a nice moustache, he laughed in the face of danger. Without properly testing his airplane, he took off, leaving his competitiors behind... in a fog... in the rain... with no compass... or map.
You see, Louis Bleriot was manly enough to do all that. Did we mention that his airplane was made out of wood, paper... and glue? Guess not. His machine was practically a death trap. It had a 25 hp motor, could only fly twenty metres above the ground and was prone to wing failures. It was only tested once and it's motor overheated and died after a little while.
Bleriot aimed for Dover Castle.
His competitor was Hubert Latham. He was a playboy. Strangely, he crashed. Twice. After this incident, reports say that he cried... and ran to his mother. Seriously.
The Channel Tunnel is arguably the most boring way to go from Dover to Calais. However, what young kids these days don't know is that it is a remarkable feat of engineering and that it is not some stinky hole beneath the Atlantic.
The Channel Tunnel is know simply as... the Channel Tunnel or "the Chunnel" for those who cannot handle complex words with many sylables. The French call it Le tunnel sous la Manche which strangely means (as you can guess) "the tunnel under the sleeve", which is not to be confused with the numerous blood vessels in your arm.
The Channel Tunnel was originally proposed to be built in 1802 by some random French man by the name of Albert Mathieu. There would be a tunnel under the English channel and an artificial island in the middle... for changing horses. In 1882, Britain somewhat discared the project saying that the tunnel would comprimise it's defences.
It was originally going to be this
However, some time later, in 1988, they decided that being friends with the French would not be that bad and continued with the idea
In 2007, Top Gear crossed the English Channel... by car. The Presenters of the BBC programme; Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May crossed it by outfitting their Nissan 4x4 with an outboard motor and oil drums. After two tries with a Triumph Herald and A volkswagan that both sank, they figured that the floating Nissan was the best option.
Yet another manly way of crossing the English Channel
The coast guard said that it was "completely irresponsible". However, truth be told, it was completely awesome.
Swimming across that 32 kilometre gap has been a usual crossing. It first happened in 1875 when crusty old sea Captain Mathew Webb crossed it in 21 hours and 45 minutes- almost a whole day!
Ever since then, people have been battling over the smallest amount of time taken to cross the English Channel. Currently, it is Petar Stoychev who swam it in 6 hours 57 minutes 50 seconds. But, the most manliest swimmer, without a doubt is Lynne Cox, who smashed both the men's and women's records in 1972. She was fifteen.
For people who enjoy swimming 32 kilometres in cold water for a whole day, there is a Channel Swimming Association.
English Channel Swimming Fashion
Buzz Lightyear Costume
Not much difference huh? Base Jumper Yves Rossy, also known as "Fusionman" decided that he would cross the English Channel in a jetpack and homemade 8ft wings zooming along at 125 mph would be interesting. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, he turned on his super-rocket boosters, zooming across the 32 kilometre gap that seperated France from England. It took him a little under 12 minutes, although he thought it would take 12. Video.
Similary, another person by the name of Felix Baumgartner crossed the english channel in 14 minutes using a wingsuit made out of carbon fibre. Only difference was, he did not have a jetpack, a jet engine, propellor- nothing. He just glided. At 225 mph. Also, it was about -52 degrees celcius. You see, these men have the ability to keep warm with their manly, hairy chests.
It's true. Red Bull give you wings.