Google Maps: Swim across the Atlantic Ocean

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 11, 2007
Updated • Jun 6, 2013
Google, Google Maps

Now ain't that interesting? You can use Google Maps to get directions from one location to another. It is most of the time pretty accurate displaying information about highways, signs, exits and so on to give you a good impression of the route that lies ahead.

You can try it now and head over to the Google Maps website and use the Get Directions tab to enter a starting point and destination to see how the system works. As long as you are living on the same continent, everything should be fine.

Now guess what happens if you enter a starting point in Europe and a destination in North America? Let us see what happens: I start in Berlin and want the direction to Fort Knox.

Everything appears to be looking fine.Google Maps displays a suggested route that I can take and divides it up in 64 different parts that take me from Berlin to Fort Knox in the US. Nothing unusual so far but take a look at the image that details the route: it takes you directly through the Atlantic Ocean. One could assume that Google wants you to take a boat or maybe a plane to cross the ocean, but no, this is not the case.

Now if we analyze direction 40 on the list we see something very astonishing. It says "Swim Across the Atlantic Ocean" with a distance of 5572 kilometers, that is 3462 miles! Think this is a pretty strange suggestion: What do you do with your car btw, leave it behind?

Update: Please note that Google in the meantime has fixed the issue. When you now try to get directions from Europe to America or vice versa you only get the message that Google "cannot calculate directions" between the two locations.

You may sometimes get related directions though. The route from Mass to Tokyo for instance suggests to " sail across the Pacific Ocean" at one point, which is not really that of a precise direction to continue the journey.


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  1. Jürgen A. Erhard said on October 31, 2022 at 6:29 pm

    “has fixed the issue”
    No, they removed a joke. Thanks to ****** like you and articles like this.
    Humor-impairment is sadly not a treatable condition.

  2. Dee said on November 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

    If you go from Japan, to China, you’ll need a jet ski at some point (43).

  3. Mikey said on November 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    haha if you enter Taiwan to China, it says: Swim across the Great Ocean for 165 km, lol!

  4. feestaap1 said on November 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    from China to Japan it’s saying take the jetski across the ocean…

  5. lisa said on April 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    i google mapped driving from ohio to brisbane, australia and it says to kayak across the pacific ocean with stops in hawaii and japan lol

  6. pykler said on April 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    It would be nice if google added airline info too!

  7. Fragg said on August 12, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    If you do one from Mass to Tokyo, it tells you to Kayak to Hawaii and then to Japan.

  8. Jessica said on December 8, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    even the drag doesn’t work any more, to bad, old or not, it was funny

  9. stephen said on August 15, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    You can still do it if you click and drag the desitination to the middle of brazil from anywhere in the US.

  10. google fixed said on July 12, 2007 at 5:08 am

    argh…google fixed it. it now just says google cannot calculate between —- and —- whatever your transatlantic locations were :(

  11. apu said on June 4, 2007 at 8:32 am

    this is about 8 months old . find something new

  12. Gil said on April 18, 2007 at 12:12 am

    It’s gets better if you go read down the step-by-step directions…. About step 24 they say “swim across the atlantic”. Someone at Google has a sense of humor.

  13. john said on April 12, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    This is also true if you start in the US and end in Europe. This fact has been bouncing around for quite some time. I read it in a forum a couple of months ago.


  14. Seb said on April 11, 2007 at 11:13 pm


  15. kristina said on April 11, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    someone sent that to me on myspace =]

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