The Account: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relación

By Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; Martin A. Favata et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
How the Governor Came to the Port of Xagua
and Brought a Pilot with Him

At this time the Governor arrived with a brigantine he had purchased in Trinidad, bringing along a pilot named Miruelo. 1 He had taken him because he said that he knew, and had been at, the River of Palms and that he was a very good pilot of the entire north coast. 2 He also left on the coast of Havana another ship which he had purchased, along with Álvaro de la Cerda as captain, with forty men and twelve horses. Two days after the Governor's arrival we set sail with four hundred men and eighty horses in four ships and one brigantine. The pilot whom we had just engaged took the ships through the shoals called Canarreo, 3 so that the following day we ran aground. And there we remained for two weeks, with the keels of the ships often high and dry. Finally a storm from the South flooded the shoals so much that we were able to leave, but not without great danger.

Having departed from there and arrived at Guaniguanico, 4 we almost perished in another storm that overtook us. We encountered another storm at Cape Corrientes, 5 where we spent three days. After this we rounded Cape San Antonio6 and sailed with contrary winds until we were twelve leagues from Havana. The following day, as we were about to enter Havana, a wind from the South blew us away from land. We crossed toward the coast of Florida, sighting land on Tuesday, April 12, 7 and sailed along the coast of Florida. On Maundy Thursday we came upon a bay along that coast, 8 at the head of which we saw several Indian houses and habitations.

-33-

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