Of the further incidents of the tedious journey it is needless to write. It is enough to say that for forty-six days — from the 15th of May to the 1st of July — the little party plodded on, following the track of the advance-division of the land-expedition under Rivera y Moncada. With what joy and gratitude they at last looked down upon the harbour of San Diego, and realized that the first object of their efforts had now indeed been achieved, may be readily imagined. Out in the bay lay the San Carlos and the San Antonio, and on the shore were the tents of the men who had preceded them, and of whose safety they were now assured; and when, with volley after volley, they announced their arrival, ships and camp replied in glad salute. And this responsive firing was continued, says Palou, in his lively description of the scene, “until, all having alighted, they were ready to testify their mutual love by close embraces and affectionate rejoicing to see the expeditions thus joined, and at their desired destination.” Yet one cannot but surmise that the delights of reunion were presently chilled when those who had thus been spared to come together fell into talk over the companions who had perished by the way. History has little to tell us of such details; but the sympathetic reader will hardly fail to provide them for himself.
The condition of things which the governor and the president found confronting them on their arrival was indeed the reverse of satisfactory. Of the one hundred and thirty or so men comprising the combined companies, many were seriously ill; some it was necessary to dispatch at once with the San Antonio back to San Blas for additional supplies and reinforcements; a further number had to be detailed for the expedition to Monterey, which, in accordance with the explicit instructions of the visitador general it was decided to send out immediately. All this left the San Diego camp extremely short-handed, but there was no help for it. To reach Monterey at all costs was Portolà’s next duty; and on the 14th of July, with a small party which included Fathers Crespi and Gomez, he commenced his northwest march.