When we had again passed the line to the northward, and were come to the third degree or somewhat more, we saw crabs swimming that were as red as if they had been boiled; but this was no sign of land. About the eleventh degree, and for many days, more than ten thousand fishes continually followed, or were round about our ship, of which we caught so many that we eat nothing else for fifteen days, and they served our turn well; for at this time we had no meat remaining, and hardly any thing else to eat, our voyage drawing nigh to seven months, which commonly is performed in five, when they take the inner passage. These fishes were no sign of land, but rather of deep sea. At length two birds were caught of the hawk tribe, which gave our people great joy, thinking they had been birds of India, but we found afterwards that they were from Arabia; and when we thought we had been near India, we were in the latitude of Socotoro, an island near the mouth of the Red Sea. Here God sent us a strong wind from the N.E. or N.N.E. on which they bore away unwillingly toward the east, and we ran thus for ten days without any sign of land, by which they perceived their error. Hitherto they had directed their course always N.E. desiring to increase their latitude; but partly from the difference of the needle, and most of all because the currents at that time carried us N.W. we had been drawn into this other danger, had not God sent us this wind, which at length became more favourable and restored us to our right course.
These currents are very dangerous, as they deceive most pilots, and some are so little curious, contenting themselves with ordinary experience, that they do not take the trouble of seeking for new expedients when they swerve, neither by means of the compass nor by any other trial. The first sign of approaching land was by seeing certain birds, which they knew to be of India; the second was some sedges and boughs of palm-trees; the third was snakes swimming at the surface of the water, and a certain substance which they called money, as round and broad as a groat-piece, and wonderfully printed or stamped by nature, as if it had been coined money. These two last signs are so certain, that they always see land next day, if the wind serve; which we did next day, when all our water, for you know they have no beer in these parts, and victuals began to fail us.
We came to Goa the 24th day of October, and were there received in a most charitable manner. The natives are tawny, but not disfigured in their lips and noses, like the Moors and Kafrs of Ethiopia. The lower ranks go for the most part naked, having only a clout or apron before them of a span long and as much in breadth, with a lace two fingers breadth, girded about with a string, and nothing more; and thus they think themselves as well dressed as we, with all our finery. I cannot now speak of their trees and fruits, or should write another letter as long as this; neither have