A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 664 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 10.

The 7th they departed for one of the islands which lie about ten leagues from the point of Sierra Leona, called the Banana isles,[45] and anchored that same day off the principal isle, on which they only found a few plantains.  At the east end of this island they found a town, but no inhabitants, and concluded that the negroes sometimes resort thither, by seeing the remains of their provisions.  There is no fresh water on the south side of this island that they could find; but there is in three or four places on its north side.  The whole island was one entire wood, except a few small cleared spots where some huts stood, and these were encompassed by plantain-trees, the fruit of which is an excellent food.  This place is subject to severe thunder-storms, with much rain, in September.

[Footnote 45:  Harris erroneously names these the islands of Cape Verd, which are at a vast distance from Sierra Leona.  The Banana isles are in lat. 8 deg.  N. and long. 12 deg. 30’ W. from Greenwich.  In Hakluyt these are called the isles of Madrabumba, and are said to be ten leagues from the point of Sierra Leona.—­E.]

Leaving these islands and the African coast on the 10th September, and holding their course W.S.W. obliquely across the Atlantic, they fell in with a great mountain in Brazil, on the 31st of October, twenty-four leagues from Cape Frio.  This mountain has a high round top, shewing from afar like a little town.  On the 1st November, they stood in between the island of St Sebastian and the main; where they carried their things on shore, and erected a forge, and built a pinnace, repairing also every thing that was out of order, in which work they were detained till the 23d of November.  Sailing from this place on the 26th, they fell in with the coast of South America again in lat. 47 deg. 20’ S. whence they proceeded along shore till they came to lat. 48 deg.  S. finding a steep beach all along.  On the 27th of November they came to a harbour, into which Candish first entered, giving it the name of Port Desire, from that of his ship.[46] Near this harbour they found an island or two well stocked with seals, and another in which there were vast numbers of grey gulls.[47]

[Footnote 46:  As laid down in modern maps, the latitude of Port Desire is only 47 deg. 15’ S.]

[Footnote 47:  Probably penguins.—­E.]

This haven of Port Desire was found very favourable for careening and graving of ships, as the tide there ebbed and flowed considerably.  At this place the savages wounded two of the Englishmen with their arrows, which were made of canes or reeds, tipt with sharpened flints.  These savage natives of the country round Port Desire were exceedingly wild and rude, and as it would seem of a gigantic race, as the measure of one of their foot marks was eighteen inches long.[48] This agrees well with the assertion of Magellan, though some pains have been taken to represent that as fabulous.  Magellan called this country Patagonia,

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