We found abundance of bulrushes and empty jars, which the Spanish fishers had left on shore; for all over this western coast of America, they use earthen jars instead of casks, for containing oil, wine, and all other liquids. There are here abundance of sea-lions and seals, the latter being much larger than those we saw at Juan Fernandez, but their fur not so fine. Our people killed several of these, on purpose to eat their livers; but a Spaniard on board died suddenly after eating them, and I forbade their use, and we learnt also from our prisoners that the old seals are very unwholesome. The wind commonly blows here fresh from the south, veering to the east, and coming over the land to where we lay, brought with it a most noisome smell from the seals on shore, which gave me a violent headach, and offended every one else extremely. We found nothing so offensive at Juan Fernandez.
Our prisoners told as, that the widow of the late viceroy of Peru was soon expected to embark in a Spanish man of war of thirty-six guns for Acapulco, with her family and riches; on which voyage she would either stop at Payta for refreshments, or pass in sight of that place, as is customary. They said also that about eight months before, a ship had passed Payta for Acapulco, loaded with flour and liquors, and having 200,000 dollars on board. Also, that they had left signior Morel at Payta, in a ship laden with dry goods, who was expected to sail shortly for Lima; and that a stout French-built ship richly laden, and having a bishop on board, was shortly expected at Payta. This is the common place for refreshments, and is frequented by most ships from Lima or other parts to windward, on their way to Panama or other ports on the western coast of Mexico. On this information, we determined to spend as much time as possible cruising off Payta, so as not to discover that we were in these seas lest we should thereby hinder our other designs.