Journal of Antonio Pigafetta

9th of July, 1522

Constrained by extreme necessity, we decided on touching at the Cape Verde Islands, and on Wednesday the 9th of July, we touched at one of those islands named St. James’s. Knowing that we were in an enemy’s country, and amongst suspicious persons, on sending the boat ashore to get provision of victuals, we charged the seamen to say to the Portuguese that we had sprung our foremast under the equinoctial line (although this misfortune had happened at the Cape of Good Hope), and that our ship was alone, because whilst we tried to repair it, our captain-general had gone with the other two ships to Spain. With these good words, and giving some of our merchandise in exchange, we obtained two boat-loads of rice.

In order to see whether we had kept an exact account of the days, we charged those who went ashore to ask what day of the week it was, and they were told by the Portuguese inhabitants of the island that it was Thursday, which was a great cause of wondering to us, since with us it was only Wednesday. We could not persuade ourselves that we were mistaken; and I was more surprised than the others, since having always been in good health, I had every day, without intermission, written down the day that was current. But we were afterwards advised that there was no error on our part, since as we had always sailed towards the west, following the course of the sun, and had returned to the same place, we must have gained twenty-four hours, as is clear to any one who reflects upon it. The boat, having returned for rice a second time to the shore, was detained, with thirteen men[281]who were in it. As we saw that, and, from the movement in certain caravels, suspected that they might wish to capture us and our ship, we at once set sail. We afterwards learned, some time after our return, that our boat and men had been arrested, because one of our men had discovered the deception, and said that the captain-general was dead, and that our ship was the only one remaining of Magellan’s fleet.