Leaving this river, they sailed two leagues farther, to an inlet named St Jerome’s channel; whence, proceeding three or four leagues W. they came to a cape to the northward, whence the course to the western entrance of the straits is N.W. and N.W. by W. for about thirty-four leagues; so that the entire length of these straits is ninety leagues. This western entrance is in lat. 52 deg. 40’ S. nearly under the same parallel with the eastern mouth. In consequence of storms and excessive rains, they were forced to remain in a harbour near this western mouth of the straits till the 23d of February. By the excessive rains, pouring down with extreme fury in torrents from the mountains, they were brought into extreme danger; and were also much distressed for want of food, as the excessive severity of the weather hardly permitted their landing, to range the country in search of a supply In their passage through these straits, it was observed that there were harbours on both shores, at every mile or two, tolerably safe and convenient for small ships.
Transactions on the Western Coast of America.
The weather moderating, they entered into the great South Sea, or Pacific Ocean, on the 24th February, 1587, observing on the south side of the entrance a very high cape, with an adjoining low point; while, at the northern side of the entrance there were four or five islands, six leagues from the main land, having much broken and sunken ground among and around them. In the night of the 1st March, there arose a great storm, in which they lost sight of the Hugh Gallant, being then in lat. 49 deg. S. and forty-five leagues from the land. This storm lasted three or four days, in which time the Hugh sprung a leak, and was tossed about in this unknown sea, devoid of all help, being every moment ready to sink. By great exertions, however, she was kept afloat; and on the 15th, in the morning, she got in between the island of St Mary and the main, where she again met the admiral and the Content, which two ships had secured themselves during two days of the storm, at the island of Mocha, in lat. 38 deg. S’.
[Footnote 50: Mocha is in lat. 38 deg. 20’, and the isles of St Mary in 37 deg., both S.]
At this place some of the company went ashore well armed, and were met by the Indians, who gave them a warm reception with their bows and arrows. These Indians were of the district in Chili called Araucania, a country rich in gold, and consequently very tempting to the avaricious Spaniards, which accordingly they had repeatedly invaded, but to no purpose, as the natives always defended themselves so valiantly, that their enemies could never subdue them. On the present occasion, mistaking the English for Spaniards, these brave and desperate Araucans gave Candish a hostile welcome. After this skirmish, Candish went with his ships under the lee of the west side of St Mary’s island, where he found good anchorage in six fathoms. This island, in lat. 37 deg. S. abounds in hogs, poultry, and various kinds of fruit; but the inhabitants are held under such absolute slavery by the Spaniards, that they dare not kill a hog, or even a hen, for their own use; and although the Spaniards have made them converts to Christianity, they use them more like dogs than men or Christians.