Continuation of the Narrative of Cowley, from leaving the Revenge, to his Return to England.
On leaving the gulf of Amapalla, the Nicholas steered for Cape Francisco, in lat. 0 deg. 50’ N. near which they encountered dreadful storms, attended by prodigious thunder and lightning. From thence they proceeded to the latitude of 7 deg. S. but found the country every where alarmed. They went next to Payta, in lat. 4 deg. 55’ S. where they took two ships at anchor, which they set on fire, because the Spaniards refused to ransom them. Leaving the coast, they went to the island of Gorgona, in lat. 2 deg. 50’ N. about four leagues from the main, which the privateers usually called Sharp’s Island. This is about two leagues long by one league broad, having a good harbour on its west side, and affording plenty of wood and water. It is a common saying in Spanish South America, that it rains often in Chili, seldom in Peru, and always at Gorgona, where they allege there never was a day fair to an end. Though this be not strictly true, it is certain that this island has rain more or less at all seasons, on which account, perhaps, it has always remained uninhabited. They sailed from Gorgona W.N.W. till in lat. 30 deg. N. when they steered W. by N. to lat. 15 deg. N. till they considered themselves beyond danger from the rocks of St Bartholomew; after which they returned into the lat. of 13 deg. N. in which parallel they continued their voyage for the East Indies.
They had a regular trade-wind, and a reasonably quick passage across the Pacific Ocean, except that their men were mostly ill of the scurvy; and on the 14th of March, 1685, being in lat. 13 deg. 2’ N. they came in sight of the island of Guam. By Captain Cowley’s calculation, this run across the Pacific Ocean extended to 7646 miles, from the island of Gorgona to Guam. They came next day to anchor in a bay on the west side of the island, and sent their boat on shore with a flag of truce. The inhabitants of a village at that place set fire to their houses, and ran away into the interior, on which the boat’s crew cut down some cocoa trees to gather the fruit, and on going again on board were threatened by a party of the natives, who sallied out from some bushes on purpose to attack them. A friendly intercourse was however established between the English and the natives, and trade took place with them till the 17th, when the natives attacked the English suddenly, but were beat off with heavy loss, while none of the English were hurt.
[Footnote 157: Gorgona is in long. 78 deg. 33’ Guam in 216 deg. 40’, both W. from Greenwich. The difference of longitude is 138 deg. 07’, which gives 9530 statute miles, or 2762 marine leagues, so that the computation in the text is considerably too short.—E.]