De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 449 pages of information about De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2).
in the depths of the rocky mountain, continuing their underground course till they reach this cavern.  Having succeeded in entering the cave, Morales was very nearly drowned.  He reports that inside there are whirlpools and currents in incessant conflict, upon which his barque was tossed to and fro like a ball, amidst the horrible roar of the whirlpools and currents around him.  He regretted having come, but could find no way to get out.  He and his companions drifted about in the obscurity, not only because of the darkness prevailing in the cavern, which extends into the depths of the mountains, but also because of the perpetual mist rising from the constantly agitated waters, and resolving itself into damp vapours.  Morales compared the noise of these waters to that of the falls of the Nile where it pours forth from the mountains of Ethiopia.  Both he and his companions were so deafened they could not hear one another speak.  He finally succeeded in finding the exit, and emerged from the cavern, trembling, feeling that he had left the infernal regions and returned to the upper world.[6]

[Note 5:  The gulf of Samana; its extent is 1300 square kilometres.]

[Note 6:  Evasit tandem pavidus de antro, veluti de Tartaro, putans rediisse ad superos.]

About sixty miles from Santo Domingo the capital, the horizon is shut in by lofty mountains, upon whose summit lies an inaccessible lake, to which no road leads.  None of the colonists have visited it because of the steepness of the mountain.  In obedience to the governor’s orders Morales, taking a neighbouring cacique for his guide, ascended the mountain and found the lake.  He reports that it was very cold there and, as a proof of the low temperature, he brought back some ferns and brambles, plants which do not grow in warm countries.  The mountains are called Ymizui Hybahaino.  The waters of the lake, which is three miles in circumference, are full of various kinds of fish.  It is fed by several streams, and has no outlet, for it is surrounded on all sides by lofty peaks.

Let us now say a few words about another, Caspian or Hyrcanian sea (by which I mean a sea surrounded by land), and other fresh-water lakes.


The province of Bainoa, which is three times the size of the three provinces of Caizcimu, Huhabo, and Caihabon, embraces the valley of Caionani, in the midst of which there is a salt lake[1] of bitter, distasteful water, similar to what we read of the Caspian Sea.  I will therefore call it Caspian, although it is not in Hyrcania.  There are depths in this lake from which the salty waters pour forth and are absorbed in the mountains.  These caverns are supposed to be so vast and so deep that even the largest sea-fish pass through them into the lake.

[Note 1:  The lagune of Enriquillo on the plains of Neyba.]

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De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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