Bay Of Honduras, a large triangular body of water, an arm of the Caribbean sea, lying between the republic of Honduras and the peninsula of Yucatan. It is remarkable for its great depth of water, which some writers suppose to have originated the name Honduras (Sp. hondura, depth), subsequently applied to a portion of the mainland. The S. W. portion of the bay, penetrating into the continent, between Guatemala and Honduras, is known as the bay of Amatique. Along the coast of the peninsula of Yucatan the bay is studded with coral keys or cays, which form an almost continuous line, at a distance of 10 to 25 m. from the shore, and act as a kind of natural breakwater to the continent. It was in the smooth water behind these keys that the buccaneers, well acquainted with the intricate channels between them, found refuge against the attacks of the Spanish fleets. Approach to the peninsula is at all times difficult and sometimes dangerous, and many vessels are annually lost in endeavoring to reach the coast of British Honduras. The most dangerous reefs or banks are those of Chinchorro, or the Northern Triangles. On the side of Honduras the bay is open, the water deep, and navigation only impeded by the group of islands known as the Bay islands, which however are high, and easily avoided by mariners.
The waters of the bay are generally tranquil, and storms occur only during the prevalence of the northers in the gulf of Mexico, which sometimes sweep over it, but with diminished force. Few of the cyclones of the Antilles reach the bay of Honduras.