We embarked on the 15th of June, and made sail across the Euxine, direct for Tina, but had hardly got twenty miles on our voyage, when a contrary wind sprung up from the east. Observing the mariners consulting together in an extraordinary manner, I became curious to know the purpose of their discourse. Accordingly, one Bernard, the brother-in-law of our captain, said to me that he understood we proposed going to Tina, but advised me by no means to do so; as a certain Subassa roamed about that neighbourhood with a band of cavalry, who would certainly make us slaves if we fell into his hands. On this advice I changed my purpose, and the wind becoming more favourable, we made sail for Liasi and Phasis, and arrived at Varsi on the 29th of June, where I disembarked my horses and baggage, and sent them from thence by land to Phasis, which is sixty miles from that place. Varsi is a castle, with a small village in Mingrelia, belonging to a lord named Gorbola, to whom likewise Caltichea, a place of small importance on the coast of the Euxine, is subject. The inhabitants of this country are very miserable, and the only productions are hemp, wax, and silk.
On the 1st of July we arrived near Phasis, followed by a vessel filled with Mingrelians, who seemed all to be fools or drunk. Quitting the vessel, we went up the river in a boat, passing an island in the mouth of the river, where Oetes, the father of Medea the enchantress, is said to have reigned. On this island we spent the night, and were sadly infested by midges. Next day we went up the river in the boat, passing the city of Asso, which stands on its banks in the midst of a forest. I here found one Nicholas Capella, of Modena, who commanded in these parts, and a Circassian woman named Martha, who had been the slave of a person of Genoa, but was now married. This Martha received me with much kindness, and with her I staid two days. Phasis is a city of Mingrelia, subject to prince Bendian, whose dominions extend only about three days journey in length. The country is very mountainous, and full of forests. The inhabitants are so fierce and savage, that they might be accounted wild beasts. Their principal drink is beer; they have some corn and wine, but in very small quantities; boiled millet being their ordinary food, which is a very poor kind of nourishment. They sometimes procure wine and salted fish from Trebisond, and import salt from Kaffa, without which they could not exist. Their only productions consist in a small quantity of hemp and wax. If they were industrious, they might procure abundance of fish, which are very numerous in their river. They are Christians, according to the Greek ritual, to which they have added many gross superstitions.