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triangular inlet of the Indian Ocean, indenting the southeastern coast of South Australia, between the Eyre and Yorke peninsulas. Its maximum width is 80 miles (130 km) and overall length 200 miles (320 km). The Sir Joseph Banks, Thistle, Gambier, and Neptune islands are located in its 50-mile- (80-kilometre-) wide mouth. Mangrove swamps line the eastern shore and marine fibre beds the western. Major ports are Whyalla, Port Pirie, and Port Augusta (near the head of the inlet) and Port Lincoln (at the entrance on the west). Explored by Matthew Flinders in 1802, the gulf was named in honour of Earl Spencer, first lord of the Admiralty (1794-1801).