The Voyage of Lope Suarez de Menesis to India, in 1504; being the sixth of the Portuguese Expeditions to the East Indies.
Learning the necessity of sending powerful succours to protect the Portuguese trade from the hostilities of the zamorin, the king of Portugal fitted out a fleet of twelve large ships in 1504, of which the command was given to Lope Suarez de Menesis, who had been captain of the Mina on the coast of Guinea in the reign of John II. The captains of these ships were, Pedro de Mendoza, Lionel Cotinho, Tristan de la Silva, Lope Mendez de Vasconcelles, Lope de Abreu, Philip de Castro, Alonso Lopez de Castro, Alonzo Lopez de la Cocta, Pero Alonzo de Aguilar, Vasco de la Silvero, Vasco Carvallo, and Pedro Dynez de Sutunell: All of whom were gentlemen by birth or service. Having embarked many valiant soldiers, the whole fleet left Lisbon on the 22d of April and arrived on the 2d of May near Cape Verd. Having observed during this part of the voyage, that several of the ships were very irregularly navigated, not keeping in their proper course, by which they had run foul of each other; some pushing before, while others lagged behind, and others stood athwart the order of the fleet; Suarez convened an assemblage of all the captains, masters, and pilots of the fleet, to whom he communicated the following written instructions: 1. As soon as it is night, every ship shall keep in regular order a-stern of the admiral; and no vessel to carry any light except in the binnacle and in the cabin. 2. The masters and pilots to keep regular watch, taking special care not to run foul of each other. 3. All to answer the signals of the admiral. 4. As soon as day appears, every ship shall come to salute the admiral, and all are carefully to avoid getting before him during the night. The penalty for breach of any of these articles was a fine of ten crowns, besides which the offender was to be put under arrest without being entitled to wages, and so to remain to the end of the voyage. As some of the masters and pilots had been very negligent, allowing some of the ships to fall aboard of others, he removed these to other ships. By this attention to discipline, the fleet was kept afterwards in good sailing order.
In the month of June, at which time they reckoned themselves off the Cape of Good Hope, the fleet was surprised by a heavy storm, and had to drive for two days and nights under bare poles in imminent danger of being cast away, the weather during all this time being wonderfully dark, so that the ships were in great hazard of running aboard of each other. To guard against this danger, the admiral caused guns to be fired at intervals from all the ships, to give notice of their situations, and the better to keep company. On the subsidence of the storm, the ship commanded by Lope Mendez was missing, and the admiral caused the fleet to lie to for some days in hopes