A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.

When we had sailed about two hundred miles beyond the Cape of Good Hope, there arose a sudden tempest of contrary wind, which towed us to and fro for seven days in great danger, but we escaped by the blessing of God.  After the cessation of this tempest, and when we had again proceeded other two hundred miles on our voyage, a new tempest arose, which scattered all our ships during six days that it continued, so that we did not all meet again till our arrival at Lisbon in Portugal.  I was in a ship called the St Vincent, belonging to one Bartholomew a Florentine, who was a citizen of Lisbon.  She was a vessel of great size, and carried seven hundred tons of spices of all kinds.  We passed the island of St Helena, near which we saw certain fishes of such enormous bigness that one of them was as large as a great house.  When they rise above water, or gape or yawn, the upper jaw covers all the forehead, as it were a soldier in shining armour, and when they swim along the surface of the deep, the forehead seems three paces broad.  As they swam about near the ships, they raised such a commotion in the sea that we discharged all our artillery to drive them away.  We soon afterwards came to an island named Ascension, where we saw many birds about the size of ducks, which were so stupid that we took them with our hands, yet immediately afterwards they shewed wonderful fierceness.  In that island we saw no outer living creatures besides these birds, which seemed as if they had never seen mankind before, and there were prodigious quantities of fish around its shores.

Having sailed many days beyond that island, we seemed to have returned again into our own world, as the north star, the guide of mariners, appeared to us.  Here we have a good opportunity of refuting the opinion of those who think that it is impossible to sail in the regions of the antartic pole by the guidance of the north star; for it is undeniable that the Portuguese sail by the aid of the north polar star, although entirely hidden from their sight in the antartic region of the sea.  Yet they frequently refresh the virtue of the needle by means of that stone which ever naturally points towards the north.  A few days afterwards we arrived at a fair region, in which are seen many islands called the Astures Acores, so named from the multitude of that species of eagles or hawks which are called acores or azores.  These islands are variously named, as Pico, Martii, Corvo, Flores, St George, Gratiosa and Fyal.  From thence we went to the island of Tercera, where we remained two days.  All these are very fertile, and have abundance of all the necessaries of life.

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