[Footnote 152: St Thome, about 5 miles south from Madras, is about 160 English miles nearly north from Negapatam.—E.]
The shipping and landing of men and merchandise at St Thome is very wonderful to those who have not seen it before. The place is so dangerous that ordinary small barks or ships boats cannot be used, as these would be beaten to pieces; but they have certain high barks made on purpose, which they call Masadie or Mussolah, made of small boards sewed together with small cords, in which the owners will embark either men or goods. They are laden upon dry land, after which the boatmen thrust the loaded boat into the stream, when with the utmost speed they exert themselves to row her out against the huge waves of the sea which continually best on that shore, and so carry them out to the ships. In like manner these Masadies are laden at the ships with men and merchandise; and when they come near the shore, the men leap out into the sea to keep the bark right, that she may not cast athwart the shore, and keeping her right stem on, the surf of the sea sets her with her lading high and dry on the land without hurt or danger. Yet sometimes these boats are overset; but there can be but small loss on such occasions, as they lade but little at a time. All the goods carried outwards in this manner are securely covered with ox hides, to prevent any injury from wetting.
In my return voyage in 1566, I went from Goa to Malacca in a ship or galleon belonging to the king of Portugal, which was bound for Banda to lade nutmegs and mace. From Goa to Malacca it is 1800 miles. We passed without the island of Ceylon and went through the channel of Nicobar, and then through the channel of Sombrero, past the island of Sumatra, called in old times Taprobana. Nicobar, off the coast of Pegu, consists of a great multitude of islands, many of which are inhabited by a wild people. These islands are likewise called Andemaon or Andaman. The natives are savages who eat each other, and are continually engaged in war, which they carry on in small boats, chiefly to make prisoners for their cannibal feasts. When by any chance a ship happens to be cast away on those islands, as many have been, the men are sure to be slain and devoured. These savages have no trade or intercourse with any other people, but live entirely on the productions of their own islands. In my voyage from Malacca through the channel of Sombrero, two boats came off from these islands to our ship laden with fruit, such as Mouces which we call Adams apples, with fresh cocoa nuts, and another fruit named Inani, much like our turnips, but very sweet and good to eat. These people could not be prevailed on to come on board our ship, neither would they accept payment for their fruit in money, but bartered them for old shirts or old trowsers. These rags were let down from the ship into their boats by a rope, and when they had considered what they were worth in their estimation, they tied as much fruit as they thought proper to give in exchange to the rope, which they allowed us to hale up. I was told that sometimes a man may get a valuable piece of amber for an old shirt.