The 16th they took a junk belonging to Jor or Johor, in which they procured an experienced and skilful pilot, who came in good time to save them from shipwreck, which they had otherwise most probably suffered in these dangerous seas, so thick set with shoals and islands on every side, with which they were entirely unacquainted; and besides, they were now reduced to one anchor, and one solitary cable almost worn out. The 28th they came to Jortan in the island of Java, where they had news of several Dutch ships being at Bantam. The city of Jortan consists of about 1000 houses built of timber, and its king commands over a considerable portion of that end of the island, and had lately conquered Balambuan, a small island S.E. from Jortan. The people in these parts are said to be Mahometans; yet, as pagods are still in use, they seem to retain some mixture of the old Indian superstitions, or at least some remnant of paganism is tolerated among the common people. Their chief priest at this time was an old man, said to be an hundred and twenty years of age, who had a large household of wives, who fed the old man with their milk.
Sailing past Jortan, they saw a large Portuguese ship of 600 tons, sticking fast among the shoals. She was bound for Amboina, on purpose to have engrossed all the trade of that place; at least such was the report of the Portuguese; but Van Noort strongly suspected she had been sent out to cruize for the purpose of intercepting him. He was, therefore, the less concerned for her misfortune, and the less careful in assisting her crew, originally of between six and seven hundred men, many of whom were still on board, and in great danger of perishing. The 5th of February, they passed the straits between Balambuan and Bally, leaving Java on the N.E. On the 11th, finding themselves in lat 13 deg. S. they directed their course for the Cape of Good Hope. On the 18th, having the sun vertical at noon, their latitude was 11 deg. 20’ S. and here a calm began which lasted eleven days. The 11th March they were in lat. 24 deg. 45’ S. and in 28 deg. 10’ S. on the 24th.
[Footnote 81: This is an obvious error, as the Straits of Bally are at the east end of Java, which they must consequently have left on the N.W. of their course.—E.]
The 19th of April, having been considerably retarded by cross winds and calms, they were under the necessity to lessen their allowance of water. At night of the 24th they observed light, as of a fire, on land, about four miles to the N.W. although they reckoned themselves 200 miles from the cape, and were not aware of having approached any other land. The 25th, being calm weather, they were enabled to mend their sails, and at night another fire was observed; and in the morning of the 26th they saw land. The 3d May they saw land between the east and north, about six miles off, resembling the end of an island, by which they reckoned themselves near the cape, and now shaped their course for the island of St Helena, where they arrived on the 26th. They here refreshed themselves with fish and some flesh, and laid in a supply of wood and water; but found goats and fowls hard to be got, and could not procure any oranges.