A thousand leagues under the sea
I hear Guy Garvey singing a song on the radio this evening which contained the line, “He’s a thousand leagues under the sea”. I like Guy Garvey and I think he’s got a great voice, but this line makes no sense. A league is three miles. The sea is no deeper than six miles at its deepest point – that is, two leagues. If you were a thousand leagues under the sea you’d be way, way below the sea bed and into the earth’s molten core.
But what about Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? I must admit that, like everyone else, I used to think this referred to the depth Captain Nemo’s submarine reached; until I stopped to think about it. 20,000 leagues is sixty thousand miles, that is nearly eight times the diameter of the earth! It refers to the distance the sub travels underwater, not the depth at which it does so.