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 THIRTY-SEVEN
What Happened When I Wanted to Leave

After we rested in Mexico City for two months, I wanted to return to these kingdoms. 1 As the ship was about to set sail in October, a storm came and grounded the ship, and it was lost. Seeing this, I decided to wait until winter was over, since it is a season of rough weather for sailing. During Lent, when winter had passed, Andrés Dorantes and I left Mexico City for Veracruz to board our ship. We waited there until Palm Sunday, when we boarded. We remained on board more than two weeks waiting for the wind. The ship we were on was taking on a great deal of water. I left it and went to others that were about to sail, but Dorantes remained aboard that ship. On the tenth of April three ships sailed out of the port, and we traveled together for 150 leagues. On the way, two ships were taking on a lot of water. One night we got lost from this convoy because their pilots and sailing masters, as it later seemed, did not dare continue onward with their ships and returned to the port from which they had sailed. We did not notice this or have any more news of them and continued our voyage.

On the fourth of May we arrived in the port of Havana, which is on the island of Cuba, where we waited for the two other ships until the second of June, thinking they would come. Then we left there, greatly fearing that we would encounter Frenchmen, who several days earlier had captured three of our ships. When we arrived at the island of Bermuda, 2 a storm overtook us, of the sort that often overtakes all who pass through there, according to those who frequently sail that area. All night long we feared we were lost. It pleased God for the storm to end in the morning, and we continued our voyage. Twenty-nine days after our departure from Havana, we had sailed 1,100 leagues, the distance given from there to the settlement of the Azores.

The following day, passing the island named Corvo, 3 we met a French ship. At noon she began to pursue us, hauling with her a caravel she had captured from the Portuguese, and gave us chase. That afternoon we saw another nine sails, but they were so far away that we were unable to tell if they were Portuguese or if they belonged with those who were pursuing us.

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