Second Voyage of James Welsh to Benin, in 1590.
In the employment of the same merchants, John Bird and John Newton, and with the same ship as in the former voyage, the Richard of Arundel, accompanied by a small pinnace, we set sail from Ratclif on the 3d September 1590, and came to Plymouth Sound on the 18th of that month. We put to sea again on the 22d, and on the 14th October got sight of Fuertaventura, one of the Canary islands, which appeared very rugged as we sailed past. The 16th of October, in the lat. of 24 deg. 9’ N. we met a prodigious hollow sea, such as I had never seen before on this coast; and this day a monstrous great fish, which I think is called a gobarto, put up his head to the steep-tubs where the cook was shifting the victuals, whom I thought the fish would have carried away. The 21st, being in lat. 18 deg. N. we had a counter-sea from the north, having in the same latitude, on our last voyage, encountered a similar sea from the south, both times in very calm weather. The 24th we had sight of Cape Verd, and next day had a great hollow sea from the north, a common sign that the wind will be northerly, and so it proved. The 15th November, when in lat. 6 deg. 42’ N. we met three currents from west to north-west, one after the other, with the interval of an hour between each. The 18th we had two other great currents from S.W. The 20th we saw another from N.E. The 24th we had a great current from S.S.W. and at 6 P.M. we had three currents more. The 27th we reckoned to have gone 2-1/2 leagues every watch, but found that we had only made one league every watch for the last 24 hours, occasioned by heavy billows and a swift current still from the south. The 5th December, on setting the watch, we cast about and lay E.N.E. and N.E. and here in lat. 5 deg. 30’ our pinnace lost us wilfully. The 7th, at sunset, we saw a great black spot on the sun; and on the 8th, both at rising and setting we saw the like, the spot appearing about the size of a shilling. We were then in lat. 5 deg. N. and still had heavy billows from the south.
[Footnote 317: Hakluyt, II. 618. Astley, I. 203.]
[Footnote 318: In a side note, Astley conjectures this to have been a great shark.]
We sounded on the 14th December, having 15 fathoms on coarse red sand, two leagues from shore, the current setting S.E. along shore, and still we had heavy billows from the south. The 15th we were athwart a rock, somewhat like the Mewstone in England, and at the distance of 2 leagues from the rock, had ground in 27 fathoms. This rock is not above a mile from the shore, and a mile farther we saw another rock, the space between both being broken ground. We sounded off the second rock, and had ground at 20 fathoms on black sand. We could now see plainly that the rocks were not along the shore, but at some