[Footnote 218: Perhaps we ought to read Balsam of Mecca.—E.]
At our departure on the 15th of July, five small vessels were missing by chance, which we learnt from a man who had escaped from a foist. This day we sailed 80 miles S.W. by S. The 16th our course was S.E. with very little wind, making only 30 miles till night; and before sunrise 50 miles farther. The 17th we sailed S.E. till night 100 miles; and from thence till sunrise 16 miles, S.E. by S. On the 18th we steered S.E. 140 miles during the day, which was dusky; and in the night 50 miles S.E. by E. The 19th sailing E. by S. with a brisk wind till nine in the morning, we came among certain islands called Atfas, almost entirely desert, and only inhabited by people who come from other islands to fish and seek for pearls, which they get by diving to the bottom of the sea in four fathom water. They drink rain water, which is preserved in cisterns and ponds. We remained here all night, having ran 100 miles. On the 20th we came to an island 20 miles from the land named Khamaran, where we got provisions and good water. In this island there was a ruinous castle, altogether unoccupied, and about fifty houses built of boughs of trees, besides a few other huts scattered over the island. The inhabitants were barefooted and quite naked, of a small size, and having no head-dresses but their hair, and merely conceal their parts of shame by means of a clout. They are all mariners, having a few barks and small craft, the planks of which are sewed together by rope, and are entirely destitute of iron work, with sails curiously made of mats, constructed of the barks of the palm or date tree, and folding together like a fan. The cordage and cables are made of the same materials. They trade to the main land in these barks, and bring from thence abundance of dates, jujebs, and a sort of white buck-wheat. They make a good quantity of Mecca ginger, and procure plenty of frankinsence from Bista. They reduce their buck-wheat to meal on a piece of marble, about the size of the stone on which colours are ground by painters, on which another stone about half an ell long and like a rolling pin or roller is made to work so as to bruise the corn. Immediately after this it is made into a paste and baked into thin cakes. This is their bread, which must be made fresh every day, otherwise it becomes so dry and hard that there is no eating it. Both fish and flesh are to be had here in sufficient abundance. From the islands of Akhefas or Atfas to this island of Khamaran the distance is 40 miles.
[Footnote 219: In Ramusio only 40 miles.—Astl. I. 90. d.]
[Footnote 220: This is called the land of the Abissins in the edition of Ramusio.—Astl. I. 91. a.]