The author’s departure from the Downs.
I sailed from the Downs early on Saturday, January 14, 1699, with a fair wind, in His Majesty’s Ship the Roebuck; carrying but 12 guns in this voyage and 50 men and boys with 20 months’ provision. We had several of the King’s ships in company, bound for Spithead and Plymouth, and by noon we were off Dungeness.
A caution to those who sail in the channel.
We parted from them that night, and stood down the Channel, but found ourselves next morning nearer the French coast than we expected; Cape de Hague bearing south-east and by east 6 leagues. There were many other ships, some nearer, some farther off the French coast, who all seemed to have gone nearer to it than they thought they should. My master, who was somewhat troubled at it at first, was not displeased however to find that he had company in his mistake: which as I have heard is a very common one, and fatal to many ships. The occasion of it is the not allowing for the change of the variation since the making of the charts; which Captain Halley has observed to be very considerable. I shall refer the reader to his own account of it which he caused to be published in a single sheet of paper, purposely for a caution to such as pass to and fro the English Channel. And my own experience thus confirming to me the usefulness of such a caution I was willing to take this occasion of helping towards the making it the more public.
Not to trouble the reader with every day’s run, nor with the winds or weather (but only in the remoter parts, where it may be more particularly useful) standing away from Cape la Hague, we made the start about 5 that afternoon; which being the last land we saw of England, we reckoned our departure from thence: though we had rather have taken it from the Lizard, if the hazy weather would have suffered us to have seen it.
His arrival at the canary islands.
The first land we saw after we were out of the Channel was Cape Finisterre, which we made on the 19th; and on the 28th made Lancerota, one of the Canary Islands of which, and of Allegrance, another of them, I have here given the sights, as they both appeared to us at two several bearings and distances.
Santa Cruz in Tenerife; the road and town, and Spanish wreck.