As the directors of the Dutch East-India Company were still anxious to make trial of the route to India by the Straits of Magellan, they appointed George Spilberg, or Spilbergen, to make this attempt in 1614, as admiral of six ships, the Great Sun, the Full Moon, the Huntsman, and a yacht called the Sea-mew, all belonging to Amsterdam, with the Eolus of Zealand, and the Morning-star belonging to Rotterdam. Spilbergen was a person of established reputation for knowledge and experience, and was allowed to chuse most of his officers. The ships were all equipped in the best possible manner, and were ready a little after Midsummer; but as the admiral was of opinion that they would arrive in the Straits of Magellan at an improper season, if they sailed so early, the directors thought proper to postpone the commencement of the voyage till the month of August.
[Footnote 92: Harris, I. 44. Callender, II. 191.]
The fleet sailed accordingly from the Texel on the 8th of August, 1614, with a strong gale at S.E. Without any remarkable accident, except several severe storms, they reached the latitude of Madeira on the 3d October. Proceeding thence by the Canaries, they lost sight of these islands on the 10th, and came in view of Brava and Fogo, two of the Cape de Verd islands, on the 23d. Having happily passed the Abrolhos, dangerous shoals running far out to sea, on the 9th December, they discovered the coast of Brazil on the 12th of that month. On the 19th they were off the bay of Rio de Janeiro; and on the morning of the 20th they anchored in the road of Ilas Grandes, between two large fine islands covered with trees, in thirteen fathoms water. Next day they anchored at another island, about half a league distant, where they caught good store of fish, besides many crocodiles or alligators, each about the length of a man. They anchored behind another island on the 23d, where they found two small huts, and a heap of human bones on a rock. Here they set up tents on shore for their sick, which were all landed that night, under the protection of three distinct guards of soldiers, lest they might be attacked by the Portuguese, who were at no great distance.
The 28th, the boats were sent for wood and fresh water to a river about two leagues from where the ships lay, and about noon next day brought off as much as they could carry. They went back for a farther supply, and were obliged to remain on shore all night, as their boats got aground with the ebb-tide. On getting to the ships on the 29th, they reported, that they had heard a confused sound of voices, as of many people, in the woods. The 30th, three boats were sent again to the watering-place, with nine or ten soldiers to protect the seamen when on shore. Shortly after, being out of sight of the fleet, several cannon-shot were heard from the Huntsman, which had been stationed to command the watering-place, on which the admiral sent three armed boats to see