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They depart from the Island of Cayboa to the Isle of Gorgona, where they careen their vessels. Description of this Isle. They resolve to go and plunder Arica, leaving their design of Guayaquil.
HAVING got in all things necessary for navigation, we were now in readiness to depart, on Sunday, June 6th, 1680. That day some rain fell, which now was very frequent in all places. About five o'clock in the evening we set sail from the island of Cayboa, with a small breeze, the wind being at S.S.W. Our course was E.S. by E. and S.E. having all night a very small, or little wind. The same calmness of weather continued all the next day, insomuch, that we lay and drove only as the current horsed us to N.W.
Little better than a calm we had also the third day of our navigation. Meanwhile a current drove us to the westward. About sunrising we descried Quicara, which at that time bore N.W. by W. from us at the distance of five leagues, more or less. With the rising of the sun an easy gale of wind sprung up, so that at noon we had altered our bearing, which was then N. by E. being six leagues distant, and appearing thus, as is underneath demonstrated.
These are two several islands, whereof the least is to the southward of the other. The land is a low table land these islands being more than three leagues in length. About six o'clock that evening, we were nigh ten leagues distant W.S.W. from them. Much like the former weather we had the fourth day of our sailing, with little wind in the forenoon, and rather less than more in the afternoon. I judged about the middle of the day, we were at the distance of twenty leagues S.S.W. from the said islands.
Thursday, June loth, we had very small and variable winds. This day I reckoned that we had made hitherto a S. by E. way, and a S. by W. from our departure; being driven by a current, according to the observation I made, into lat. 6° 36'.
This day we saw many tortoises floating upon the sea. Hereupon we hoisted out our boat, and came to one of them, who offered not to stir until she was struck, and even then not to sink to the bottom, but rather to swim away. The sea hereabouts is very full of several sorts of fish, as dolphins, bonitos, albicores, mullets, and old wives, etc., which came swimming about our ship in whole shoals. The next day, which was Friday, we had likewise very little wind, which was no more than we had all Thursday night, with some showers of rain. That day we had an observation which was lat. 6° N. In the evening a fresh wind came up at S.W., our course being S.S.E. On Saturday we had in like manner, about seven in the morning, a fresh breeze at S. So we stood W.S.W. with cloudy weather, and several showers of rain. This day our Spanish prisoners informed us we must not expect any settled wind until we came within the latitude of three degrees, for all along the western shore of these seas there is little wind, which is the cause that those ships that go from Acapulco to the islands called de las Philipinas, do coast along the shore of California, until they get into the height of forty-five degrees, yea, sometimes of fifty degrees latitude. As the wind varied, so we tacked several times, thereby to make the best of our way that was possible to the southward.
As our prisoners had informed us, so we found it by experience. For on the next day, which was Sunday, June 13th, we had very little wind, and most commonly none, for the space of twenty-four hours. That day we tried the current of the sea, and found it very strong to the eastward. The same day we had much rain, and in the afternoon a small breeze at W., and W.S.W., but mostly at W. Yet notwithstanding all this calmness of weather, the next day in the morning very early, by a sudden gale of wind which arose, we made shift to split our main top-sail. We had all the night before and that day, continual and incessant showers of rain, and made a S.W. and by S. way; seeing all along as we went a multitude of dolphins, bonitos, and several other sorts of fish floating upon the seas, whereof in the afternoon we caught many. the weather being now changed from stormy to calm again; insomuch that we could fish as we sailed along, or rather as we lay tumbling in the calm.
Tuesday, June 15th, the morning continued calm as the day before; and this day also we saw multitudes of fish of several sorts, whereof we caught some for our table as we were wont to do. By an observation which was made this day, we found ourselves to be now in lat. 4° 21'. At this time the course of our navigation and our whole design, was to go and careen our vessels at the islands commonly called by the Spaniards, de los Galapagos, that is to say, of the Tortoises, being so denominated from the infinite number of those animals swarming and breeding thereabouts. These islands are situated under the equinoctical line, at the distance of a hundred leagues more or less from the main continent of America, in the South Sea. In the afternoon of this day we had a small breeze to push us forwards.
June 16th being Wednesday, we made our way this day, and for the four and twenty hours last past, E.S.E. with much rain, which ceased not to fall, as in all this voyage, since our departure from Cayboa. This day likewise we caught several dolphins, and other sorts of fish, but in the evening we had again a fresh breeze at S. by W. our course being, as was just now said, E.S.E.
The next day,
June 17th, about five in the morning, we descried land,
appeared all along to be very low, and likewise full of
bays. We instantly asked our pilot what land that was
before us? but
he replied, he knew it not. Hereupon, being doubtful of
condition, we called Mr. Cox on board us, who brought
with him. This gentleman being asked, presently told us
the land we
saw was the land of Barbacoa, being almost a wild country
Withal, he informed us, that to leeward of us, at the
distance of ten
leagues, or thereabouts, did lie an island called by the
Gorgona, the which island, he said, the Spaniards did
shun, and very
seldom come nigh to, by reason of the incessant and
there falling, scarce one day in the year being dry at
Captain Sharp having heard this information of Captain
judged the said island might be the fittest place for our
careen at, considering, that if the Spaniards did not
frequent it, we
might in all probability lie there undescried, and our
Spaniards, in the meantime might think, that we were gone
those seas. At this time it was, that I seriously repented
in the South Seas, and that I did not return homewards in
them that went before us. For I knew, and could easily
by these delays the Spaniards would gain time and be able
advice of our coming to every port all along the coast, so
should be prevented in all, or most of our attempts and
wheresoever we came. But those of our company, who had got
the former prizes of this voyage, over swayed the others
who had lost
all their booty at gaming. Thus we bore away for the
of Gorgona, and at the distance of six leagues and a half,
observed it to make the appearance following,
On the mainland over against this island of Gorgona, we were told by our prisoners, that up a great laguna, or lake, is seated an Indian town, where they have great quantity of sand grains of gold. Moreover, that five days' journey up a river, belonging to the said laguna, do dwell four Spanish superintendents, who have each .of them the charge of overseeing fifty or sixty Indians, who are employed in gathering that gold which slips from the chief collectors, or finders thereof. These are at least threescore and ten, or fourscore Spaniards, with a great number of slaves belonging to them, who dwell higher up than these four superintendents, at a distance of twenty-five or thirty days' journey on the said river. That once every year, at a certain season, there comes a vessel from Lima, the capital city of Peru, to fetch the gold that here is gathered, and to bring to these people such necessaries as they want. By land it is nothing less than six weeks travel from thence to Lima.
The mainland to windward of this island is very low, and full of rivers. All along the coast it rains most . desperately. The island is only four leagues distant from the continent. While we lay at it, I took the whole . circumference thereof, which is according to what is here underneath described.
Captain Sharp gave to this island the name of Sharp's Isle, by reason we careened at this place. We anchored on the south side of the island, at the mouth of a very fine river, which there disgorges itself into the sea. There belong to this island about thirty rivers and rivulets, which all fall from the rocks on the several sides of the island. The whole circumference thereof is about three leagues and a half, being all high and mountainous land, excepting only on that side where we cast anchor. Here therefore we moored our ship in the depth of eighteen or twenty fathom water, and begun to unrig the vessel. But we were four or five days space before we could get our sails dry, so as to be able to take them from the yards, there falling a shower of rain almost every hour of the day and night. The mainland to the east of the island, and so stretching northward, is extremely high and towering, and perpetually clouded, excepting only at the rising of the sun, at which time the tops of those hills are clear. From the south side of this island where we anchored, as was said above, we could see the lowland of the main, at least a point thereof which lies nearest to the island. The appearance it makes, is as it were of trees growing out of the water.
Friday, July 2nd, as we were heaving down our ship, our mainmast happened to crack. Hereupon our carpenters were constrained to cut out large fishes, and fish it, as the usual terms of that art do name the thing.
On the next day after the mischance of our mainmast, we killed a snake which had fourteen inches in circumference, and eleven feet in length. About the distance of a league from this island runs a ledge of rocks, over which the water continually breaks; the ledge being about two miles, more or less in length. Had we anchored but half a mile more northerly, we had ridden in much smoother water; for here where we were, the wind came in upon us in violent gusts. While we were there, from June 30th to July 3rd, we had dry weather, which was esteemed as a rarity by the Spaniards, our prisoners. And every day we saw whales and grampuses, who would often come and drive under our ship. We fired at them several times, but our bullets rebounded from their bodies. Our choice and best provisions here, were Indian conies, monkeys, snakes, oysters, conchs, periwinkles, and a few small turtle, with some other sorts of good fish. Here in like manner we caught a sloth, a beast well deserving that name, given it by the Spaniards, by whom it is called preza, from the Latin word pigritia.
At this island died Josephe Gabriel, a Spaniard, born in Chili, who was to have been our pilot to Panama. He was the same man who had stolen and married the Indian king's daughter, as was mentioned above. He had all along been very true and faithful to us, in discovering several plots and conspiracies among our prisoners, either to get away or destroy us. His death was occasioned by a calenture, or malignant fever, which killed him after three days' sickness, having lain two days senseless. During the time of our stay at this island, we lengthened our topsails, and got up topgallant masts; we made two staysails, and refitted our ship very well. But we wanted provisions extremely, as having nothing considerable of any sort, but flour and water. Being almost ready to depart, Captain Sharp, our commander, gave us to understand he had changed his resolution concerning the design of going to Guayaquil, for he thought it would be in vain to go thither considering that in all this time we must of necessity have been descried before now. Yet notwithstanding he himself before had persuaded us to stay. Being very doubtful among ourselves what course we should take, a certain old man, who had long time sailed among the Spaniards, told us he could carry us to a place called Arica, to which town, he said, all the plate was brought down from Potosi, Chiquisaca, and several other places within the land, where it was dug out of the mountains and mines, and that he doubted not, but that we might get there of purchase at least two thousand pounds every man. For all the plate of the South Sea lay there, as it were, in store, being deposited at the said place until such time as the ships did fetch it away. Being moved with these reasons, and having deliberated thereupon, we resolved in the end to go to the said place. At this island of Gorgona aforementioned, we likewise took down our round-house coach, and all the high carved work belonging to the stern of the ship, for when we took her from the Spaniards before Panama, she was high as any third-rate ship in England.