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.
the main-land.  After doubling this point, we found the sea very free, and sailed N.W. and by W. One hour after noon we came to a haven called Marate.  All the coast on our left hand during this day stretched N.N.W. and S.S.E. the land by the sea shore being very low with not even a hillock; but within the land the mountains rise to such a height that they seem to reach the clouds. Marate is a very low desert island and without water, 66 leagues beyond Massua, of a roundish figure, and a league and a half in circuit.  It is about three leagues from the main, and on the S.W. side which fronts the Ethiopean coast it has a very good harbour, safe in all winds, especially those from the eastern points; as on this side two long points stretch out from the island east and west, one quarter N.W. and S.E. between which the land straitens much on both sides, forming a very great and hollow bosom or bay, in the mouth and front of which there is a long and very low island, and some sands and shoals, so that no sea can come in.  This haven has two entries, one to the east and the other to the west, both near the points of the island which form the harbour.  The channel on the east stretches N. and S. one quarter N.W. and S.E. having three fathoms water in the shallowest place, after which it immediately deepens, and within the haven we have four and five fathoms near the shore, with a mud bottom.  During the night the wind was from the east, but less than in the day, and we rode at anchor all night.

[Footnote 285:  The particular enumeration comes only to 46 vessels, so that the number of 64 in the text seems an oversight or transposition.—­E.]

At sunrise on the 23d of February, we set sail from the island and port of Marate, finding seven fathom water and a sandy bottom[286].  At eleven o’clock we came to two small islands far to seawards, one called Darata and the other Dolcofallar[287], from whence to Swakem is a days sail.  From noon we sailed N.W. by W. till even-song time, when we entered the channel of Swakem, in which, after sailing a league N.W. we had certain shoals a-head, on which account we altered our course to W. one quarter N.W. and sometimes W. to keep free of these shoals.  We continued in this course about three leagues, till we saw a great island a-head of us, when we immediately tacked towards the land, and came to an anchor between certain great shoals of stone or sunken rocks, forming a good harbour named Xabaque[288], which in the Arabic means a net.  It might be an hour before sunset when we came to anchor.  This day my pilot took the sun at noon, and found our latitude scarce 19 deg.  N[289].  The shoals of Swakem are so many and so intermingled, that no picture or information were sufficient to understand them, much less to sail through among them; the islands, shoals, banks, rocks, and channels are so numerous and intricate.  At the entrance among these shoals, there is to seaward

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