The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK V.

CHAPTER I.
COASTING TOWARD THE EASTERN END OF HISPANIOLA—MEETING
WITH PINZON—AFFAIR WITH THE NATIVES AT THE GULF OF
SAMANA.

[ 1493.]

It was on the 4th of January that Columbus set sail from La Navidad on his return to Spain. The wind being light, it was necessary to tow the caravel out of the harbor, and clear of the reefs. They then stood eastward, toward a lofty promontory destitute of trees, but covered with grass, and shaped like a tent, having at a distance the appearance of a towering island, being connected with Hispaniola by a low neck of land. To this promontory Columbus gave the name of Monte Christi, by which it is still known. The country in the immediate neighborhood was level, but farther inland rose a high range of mountains, well wooded, with broad, fruitful valleys between them, watered by abundant streams. The wind being contrary, they were detained for two days in a large bay to the west of the promontory. On the 6th they again made sail with a land breeze, and weathering the cape, advanced ten leagues, when the wind again turned to blow freshly from the east. At this time a sailor, stationed at the masthead to look out for rocks, cried out that he beheld the Pinta at a distance. The certainty of the fact gladdened the heart of the admiral, and had an animating effect throughout the ship; for it was a joyful event to the mariners once more to meet with their comrades, and to have a companion bark in their voyage through these lonely seas.

The Pinta came sweeping toward them, directly before the wind. The admiral was desirous of having a conversation with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and seeing that all attempt was fruitless from the obstinacy of the adverse wind, and that there was no safe anchorage in the neighborhood, he put back to the bay a little west of Monte Christi, whither he was followed by the

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