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CHAPTER XVIII.

They depart from the Port of Hilo to the Gulf of Nicoya, where they take down their decks and mend the sailing of their ship. Forty-seven of their companions leave them, and go home over land. A description of the Gulf of Nicoya. They take two barks and some prisoners there. Several other remarks belonging to this voyage.


FROM the time that we set sail from the port of Hilo, until Sunday, April 10th, 1681, nothing happened to us that might be accounted remarkable; neither did I take any notes all this while, by reason of my indisposition afore-mentioned. This day we could hear distinctly the breaking of the seas on the shore, but could see no land, the weather being extremely dark and hazy. Notwithstanding, about noon it cleared up, and we found ourselves to be in the bay called de Malabrigo. The land in this bay runs due E. and W. By an observation made, we found this day 6 35' S. We saw from here the leeward island of Lobos, or Seals, being nothing but a rocky and scraggy place. On the S.W. side thereof is a red hill, which is a place about the said island, which the Indian fishermen much frequent. It is situated in lat. 6 15' S. This day likewise in the evening we saw the point called Aguja.

On Saturday, April 16th, we came within a league distance of the west-end of the island of Plate, above described. The next day to this, being Sunday, April 17th, 1681, our mutineers broke out again into an open dissension, they having been much dissatisfied all along the course of this voyage, but more especially since our unfortunate fight at Arica, and never entirely reconciled to us since they chose Captain Watling, and deposed Sharp at the isle of Juan Fernandez, as was related above. Nothing now could appease them, nor serve their turn, but a separation from the rest of the company, and a departure from us. Hereupon this day they departed from the ship, to the number of forty-seven men, all in company together, with design to go over land by the same way they came into those seas. The rest who remained behind, did fully resolve, and faithfully promise to each other, they would stick close together. They took five slaves in their company, to guide and do them other service in that journey.1 This day we had lat. 1 30' S. We sailed N.N.W. before the wind.

The next day after their departure, being April i8th, we began to go to work about taking down one of our upper decks, thereby to cause our ship still to mend her sailing. We now made a N.W. by N. way, by observation, lat. 25 N., the wind being at S.W.

On April 19th we made a N.W. by N. way. By observation, lat. 2 45' N. In the afternoon we had cloudy weather. The following day likewise we made the same way, and by it seventy miles, according to my reckoning.

On the 21st in the morning we had some small showers of rain, and but little wind. We saw some turtle upon the surface of the water, and great quantity of fish. We caught twenty-six small dolphins. By a N.W. by N. way, we reckoned this day forty miles.

April 22nd. This day we caught seven large dolphins and one bonito. We saw likewise whole multitudes of turtle swimming upon the water, and took five of them.

By observation, lat. 5 28' N. Hereabouts runs a great and strong current. This day we lowered the quarter deck of our ship, and made it even to the upper deck.

The following day we had but small wind, and yet great showers of rain. Hereupon every man saved water for himself, and a great quantity was saved for the whole company. In the morning of this day we caught eight bonitos, and in the evening ten more.

On April 24th we had both cloudy and rainy weather. By observation, lat. 7 37' N. M.D. ninety-two leagues. This morning we caught forty bonitos, and in the evening thirty more. In the afternoon we stood N., the wind being at S.W. by S.

Monday, April 25th. All the night before this day we had huge gusts of wind and rain. At break of day we were close in with land, which upon examination proved to be the island of Cano. To westward thereof is very high land. About noon this day it cleared up, and we had lat. 8 34' N. In the evening we sent a canoe to search the island. In it they found good water, and even ground, but withal, an open road. At night we stood off the first watch, and the last we had a land wind.

The next day following, at daylight we stood in, and about noon we came to an anchor at the east side of the island afore-mentioned, which is not in breadth above one league. In the afternoon we removed from our former anchoring place, and anchored again within shot of the N.E. point of the island. In this place grows great number of cacao trees, all over the greatest part of the isle. On the north side thereof are many rivulets of good water to be found in sandy bays. We saw moreover some good hogs on shore, whereof we killed one, and two pigs. Here are great numbers of turtle-doves, and huge store of fish, but withal, very shy to be caught. To northward of the island it looks thus:



April 27th, we had some rain and wind the forepart of the day, but the afternoon was fair. The next day in like manner we had great quantity of rain. On Saturday, the 3oth, about seven o'clock in the morning, we weighed anchor from the aforesaid island with little wind, and stood N.W. That day fell much rain, with great thunder and lightning.

Monday, May 2nd. This day we observed and found lat. 9 N. The coast all along appeared to us very high and mountainous, and scarce six hours did pass but we had thunder, lightning, and rain; the like continued for the two days following, wherein we had nothing but almost continual thunder and rain.

On May 5th we had an indifferent fair day, and that evening we were right off of the Gulf of Nicoya.

Friday, May 6th. This morning we saw the cape very plain before us. N. by E. from it, are certain keys at eight leagues distance, close under the main. We steered N.N.W. towards the biggest of them, at whose E.S.E. side are two or three small rocks. The main eastward is fine savanna, or plain and even land, through which goes a very great road, which is to be seen from the sea. At noon the port of Caldero, commonly called Puerto Caldero, bore N. from us. At which time the ebb forced us to sound in the middle of the gulf, where we found fourteen fathom water. After this we anchored nearer to the eastern keys, in nineteen fathom, where we had oozy ground.

Saturday, May 7th. The night before this day was very fair all night long. In the morning we went in a canoe, being several in company, to seek for a place to lay our ship in. Amongst the islands along the shore, we found many brave holes, but little or no water in them, which caused us to dislike what we had found. On one of the said islands we happened to find a hat, and many empty jars of water, which showed us that some people had been lately there. About eight in the evening our ship weighed anchor at young flood, and about three in the afternoon we anchored again in six fathom water.

Sunday, May 8th, 1681. The night before this day, we had much rain, with thunder and lightning. The morning being come, our commander, Captain Sharp, departed from the ship in two canoes, with twenty-two men in his company, out of design to surprise any vessels or people they could meet hereabouts. In the meanwhile, in the evening we drove up with the tide (there being no wind) in the ship, for the space of two or three leagues higher, till we found but three fathom at high water. Here we backed astern. At this time we saw one of our canoes coming off from the island, that was ahead of us (which was named Chira) calling for more men and arms, and saying there were two ships to be seen higher up the gulf. Hereupon eight of us went away with them ashore, whereof two joined the party afore-mentioned, and the six remaining were appointed to guard the prisoners they had taken. To these we showed ourselves very kind, as finding that they were very sensible of the cruelties of the Spaniards towards them and their whole nation. Here we found eight or nine houses, and a small chapel standing. These people have been in former times a considerable and great nation, but are now almost destroyed and extinguished by the Spaniards. We ascended a creek of the sea for a league, or thereabouts, and took two barks by surprisal, which were the two sail they had told us of before. One of these barks was the same we had taken before at Panama, of which I made mention at the beginning of this history.

On Monday following this day, we weighed anchor with our barks, and drove down the creek, with the tide at ebb, towards our ship. The prisoners that we had taken here, informed us, that when we were to westward in these seas before, there lay one hundred men at the port of Santa Maria. That our men who left us at the island of Cayboa, as was mentioned above, met the other bark that we lost at sea, as we were sailing thither, and thus all went over land together. That in the North Seas, near Porto Bello, they had taken a good ship, and that for this cause, ever since the Spaniards had kept at the mouth of the river of Santa Maria, three Armadilla barks, to stop and hinder others from going that way. On Monday night our captain, with twenty-four men, went from the ship into another creek, and there took several prisoners, among whom was a shipwright and his men, who were judged able to do us good service in the altering of our ship; these carpenters being there actually building two great ships for the Spaniards. Having taken these men, they made a float of timber to bring down the tools and instruments they were working withal. Here it happened that they put several tools, and some quantity of iron-work, into a dory, to be conveyed down the river with the float. But this dory sank by the way, being overladen with iron, and one of our company, by name John Alexander, a Scotchman, was unfortunately drowned by this means.

On Thursday following, May 2th, we sent a canoe from the ship, and found the dory that had been sunk. That evening likewise drove down the body of our drowned man afore-mentioned. Hereupon we took him up, and on Friday morning following threw him overboard, giving him three French vollies for his customary ceremony. Both this day and the day before, we fetched water from a point near the houses, on the island of Chira afore-mentioned. From the ship also we sent away a Spanish merchant, whom we had taken among the prisoners, to fetch a certain number of beeves, that might serve for a ransom of the new bark taken here. This day the weather was fair, but on Sunday following it rained from morning until night.

On Monday, May 16th, we began to work all hands together on our ship. On Tuesday an Indian boy named Peter ran away from us. He belonged to Captain Sawkins, and waited on him as his servant. On Wednesday died an Indian slave, whose name was Salvador. On Thursday we heard thirty or forty guns fired on the main, which caused us to think that these would also turn to Hilo beeves. On Friday we caught cockles, which were as large as both our fists. At night there fell such dreadful rain, with thunder, lightning, and wind, that for the space of two hours the air was as light as day; the thunder not ceasing all the while. On Sunday we continued to work; the night before which day we had more thunder, lightning, and rain.

Wednesday, May 25th. This day we finished our great piece of work, viz. the taking down the deck of our ship. Besides which, the length of every mast was shortened, and all was now served and rigged. Insomuch that it would seem incredible to strangers, could they but see how much work we performed in the space of a fortnight or less. The same day likewise we set at liberty our Spanish carpenters, who had been very serviceable to us all this while, the old pilot, the old Spaniard taken at the isle of Iquique, and several others of our Spanish prisoners and slaves. To these people, but chiefly to the Spanish carpenters as a reward for their good service, we gave the new bark which we had taken at this place. But the old bark we thought fit to keep, and sail in our company, as we did, putting into her for this purpose six of our own men and two slaves. The next day we fell down as low as Vanero, a place so called hereabouts, and would have sailed away again that very evening, but that our tackle gave way in hoisting our anchor, whereby we lay still. In the Gulf of Nicoya we experienced most commonly a fresh breeze, and at night a land wind.



Friday, May 27th. This day likewise we drove down with the tide as low as Cavallo, another place so named in the gulf. Here we stayed and watered that day; and here one Cannis Marcy, our interpreter, ran away from us.

On May 28th in the morning we sailed from thence, and came within twenty-nine leagues of that rich and rocky shore. Yet notwithstanding we had but seven fathom water. Here I saw this day a white porpoise. Behind this island is a town called New Cape Blanco. At Puerto CaHero above-mentioned is but one storehouse to be seen. We came to an anchor in the depth of seven fathom water, at the distance of a league from shore, and caught five turtle.

May 29th. This day we saw Cape Blanco. Both this day and the day following we continued tacking out of the gulf, against a south wind. Here I took the ensuing demonstration of the Gulf of Nicoya, which, for the use of the reader, I have hereunto annexed.

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1 This party, among whom were William Dampier and Lionel Wafer, proceeded in boats to the Gulf of San Miguel, where they landed and crossed the Isthmus. Dampier published in the first volume of his voyages a short account of Sharp's expedition, and of their return, across the Isthmus to the West Indies. Wafer being accidently injured on the land passage remained some months with the Indians of Darien, and afterwards published his experiences among them.


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