A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 750 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 06.

[Footnote 271:  In Arabic Al Bab is the gate, and Al Abwah the gates.  By the Turks it is called Bab Bogazi, a general name for all straits; and the babs by the English sailors.—­Ast.]

[Footnote 272:  Rather Roban or Ruban.—­Ast.]

[Footnote 273:  The island of Prin.—­E.]

Besides this channel of the Arabians[274], there are many others by which we may safely enter the straits; but we shall only mention one other, which they called the channel of Abyssinia, between the Island of the Gates, or Prin, and the promontory opposite to Possidium, which is on the Abyssinian shore, and is about five leagues broad; but in this space there are six great high islands, which being seen by sailors while without the straits are apt to put them in fear that there is no passage that way; but between all these islands there are large channels of great depth all of which may be taken without danger, or leaving them all on the right hand, we may pass in safety between them and the coast of Abyssinia.  At noon on the 29th of January 1541, I took the altitude of the sun, which at its great height rose 62-3/4 degrees above the horizon, the declination of this day being 15 degrees, whence the latitude of the promontory Possidium and mouth of the straits is 12 deg. 15’ N. The pilot took the same altitude with me, and being taken on the land, it cannot but be accurate.

[Footnote 274:  From this expression it is probable that Don Juan had described the channel between the island of Pria and the shore of Arabia, or rather the pilot island.—­E.]


Continuation of the Voyage, from the Straits of Bab-el-Man-dub, to Massua.

On the same night, two hours after midnight, we set sail from the mouth of the straits, and by day-light on the 30th we saw the land of both the Arabian and African coasts, being nearer to the latter.  The wind blew hard at E.S.E. till noon, and we sailed to the N.W. and by W. making our way by a channel between the first islands and the coast of Abyssinia, till that day unknown to the Portuguese, being about 4 leagues distant from that coast.  An hour after sunrise, we saw a range of islands along the coast, most of them low, stretching from S.E. to N.W. and which extended about 60 leagues.  Continuing our course in this channel with a fair wind, we saw many little islands on either side, at whatsoever part we cast our eyes.  In this channel of the Abyssins, as it is called, it is not proper to sail by night, nor unless the wind is in the poop, as if the wind should change there is not room to turn to windward, neither can we come to anchor till so far forward as the first of the first islands, when we shall observe to seawards nine little islands, and from thence forwards the sea remains free and open to seaward, but towards the land there still are many islands.  Some of these islands are about two leagues distant from the coast, but the greatest part of them are close to the land.  The length of this channel, between the three first islands and the coast of Abyssinia is about 8 leagues, and the safest navigation is nearer the continent than the islands:  But in my opinion no one ought to venture upon this passage without a pilot of the country.

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