Wednesday morning everything was prepared for our departure from Maluco. The Kings of Tadore, of Giailolo, and of Bachian, and a son of the King of Tarenate had come to accompany us as far as the island of Mare. The ship “Victoria” made sail and stood out a little, waiting for the ship “Trinity”; but she had much difficulty in getting up the anchor, and meanwhile the sailors perceived that she was leaking very much in the hold. Then the “Victoria” returned to anchor in her former position. They began to discharge the cargo of the “Trinity” to see if the leak could be stopped, for it was perceived that the water came in with force as through a pipe, but we were never able to find out at what part it came in. All that day and the next we did nothing else but work at the pumps, but without any advantage. Hearing this, the King of Tadore came at once to the ships, and occupied himself with us in searching for the leak. For this purpose he sent into the sea five of his men, who were accustomed to remain a long time under the water, and although they remained more than half-an-hour they could not find the fissure. As the water inside the ship continually increased, the king, who was as much affected by it as we were, and lamenting this misfortune, sent to the end of the island for three other men, more skilful than the first at remaining under water.
Sunday the 8th December, we fired many bombards, rockets, and fireballs to celebrate the Conception of our Lady. Monday in the afternoon, the King came to the ships with three women who carried his betel. It is to be observed that no one can take women about with him except the king. Afterwards the King of Giailolo came to see again our gun exercise.
Some days later, as the day of our departure grew near, the king showed us a sincere affection, and among other obliging things, said to us that it seemed to him that he was a sucking child whom its mother was about to leave, and that he remained disconsolate all the more now that he had become acquainted with us and liked several things of Spain, for which reason he entreated us not to delay our return thence to Tadore. Meantime, he begged us to leave him some of our swivel guns for his own defence. He warned us at the same time not to navigate except by daylight, on account of the shoals and reefs which exist in these seas; but we answered him that because of our need to arrive in Spain as soon as possible, we were obliged to navigate night and day: he then added that, being unable to do anything else, he would pray God every day to bring us home in safety.
During this time Pedro Alfonso de Lorosa had come to the ships with his wife and property to return with us. Two days after, Kechilideroix, son of the King of Tarenate, came with a prahu well filled with men, and approaching the ships requested Lorosa to come into his prahu; but Lorosa, who suspected him, refused to do so, and told him he had determined on going away with those ships to Spain. For the same suspicion he advised us not to receive him in the ships; and we did not choose that he should come on board when he asked to do so. It was known later that Kechili was a great friend of the Portuguese captain of Malacca, and had the intention of seizing Lorosa and of conducting him thither; and on that account he severely reprimanded those persons with whom this Portuguese lived, for having let him depart without his permission.
Sunday morning this same king came on board the ships and wished to see how we fought, and how we discharged the bombards, at which he was greatly pleased, for in his youth he had been a great warrior.
The same day I went on shore to see how the cloves grow, and this is what I observed. The tree from which they are gathered is high, and its trunk is as thick as a man’s body, more or less, according to the age of the plant. Its branches spread out somewhat in the middle of the tree, but near the top they form a pyramid. The bark is of an olive colour, and the leaves very like those of the laurel. The cloves grow at the end of little branches in bunches of ten or twenty. These trees always bear more fruit on one side than on the other, according to the seasons. The cloves are white when they first sprout, they get red as they ripen, and blacken when dry. They are gathered twice in the year, once about Christmas and the other time about St. John’s day, when the air in these countries is milder, and it is still more so in December. When the year is rather hot, and there is little rain, they gather in each of these islands from three to four hundred bahars of cloves. The clove tree does not live except in the mountains, and if it is transferred to the plain it dies there. The leaf, the bark, and the wood, as long as they are green, have the strength and fragrance of the fruit itself. If these are not gathered when just ripe they get so large and hard that nothing of them remains good except the rind. It is said that the mist renders them perfect, and indeed we saw almost every day a mist descend and surround one or other of the above-mentioned mountains. Among these people everyone possesses some of these trees, and each man watches over his own trees and gathers their fruit, but does not do any work round them to cultivate them. This tree does not grow except in the five mountains of the five Maluco islands. There are, however, a few trees in Giailolo and in a small island between Tadore and Mutir named Mare, but they are not good.
There are in this island of Giailolo some trees of nutmegs. These are like our walnuts, and the leaves also are similar. The nutmeg, when gathered, is like the quince in form and colour, and the down which covers it, but it is smaller. The outside rind is as thick as the green rind of our walnuts, beneath which is a thin web, or rather cartilage, under which is the mace, of a very bright red, which covers and surrounds the rind of the nuts, inside which is the nutmeg properly so called.
There also grows in Tadore the ginger, which we need to eat green, instead of bread. Ginger is not a tree, but a shrub, which sends out of the earth shoots a span long like the shoots of canes, which they also resemble in the shape of the leaves, only those of the ginger are narrower. The shoots are good for nothing; that which makes ginger is the root. When green, it is not so strong as when it is dry, and to dry it they use lime, or else it would not keep.
The houses of these people are built like those already described, but are not so high above the ground, and are surrounded with canes after the fashion of a hedge. The women here are ugly, and go naked like the others, having only their middles covered with cloth made of bark. The men also are naked, and notwithstanding that their women are ugly, they are exceedingly jealous; and amongst other things which displeased them, was that we came ashore without cloaks, because they imagined that might cause temptation to their wives. Both men and women always go barefoot.
Since I have spoken of cloth, I will relate how they make it. They take a piece of bark and leave it in water until it has grown soft; they then beat it with wooden clubs to extend it in length and breadth, as much as they please; thus it becomes like a veil of raw silk with filaments enlaced within it, so that it appears as if it was woven.
Their bread is made with the wood of a tree like a palm tree, and they make it in this way. They take a piece of this wood, and extract from it certain long black thorns which are situated there; then they pound it, and make bread of it which they call sagu. They make provisions of this bread for their sea voyages.
Every day there came from Tarenate many boats laden with cloves, but we, because we were waiting for the king, would not traffic for those goods, but only for victuals: and the men of Tarenate complained much of this.
On Saturday the Moorish King of Giailolo came to the ships with many prahus, and we made him a present of a green damask robe, two ells of red cloth, some looking-glasses, scissors, knives, combs, and two gilt goblets, which things pleased him very much, and he said to us that, as we were friends of the King of Tadore, we were also his friends, since he loved that king like one of his own sons. He invited us to come to his country, promising to do us great honour. This king is powerful, and held in sufficient respect throughout all these islands. He is very old, and his name is Raja Jussu.
Friday, the 15th of November, the king told us that he thought of going himself to Bachian to get the cloves which the Portuguese had left there, and asked us for presents to give to the two governors of Mutir in the name of the King of Spain. Meanwhile, having come close to our ships, he wished to see how we shot with the cross-bow, with guns, and with a swivel gun, which is a weapon larger than an arquebuse. He himself fired three times with a cross-bow, but he did not care to fire with a gun.
Opposite Tadore there is another very large island, called Giailolo, and it is so large that a prahu can with difficulty go round it in four months. It is inhabited by Moors and Gentiles. The Moors have two kings, one of whom, according to what the King of Tadore related to us, has had six hundred children, and the other has had five hundred and twenty-five. The Gentiles have not got so many women as the Moors, and are less superstitious. The first thing they meet in the morning when they go out of their houses is the object which they worship throughout that day. The king of these Gentiles is named Rajah Papua. He is very rich in gold, and inhabits the interior of the island. There grow here among the rocks bamboos as thick as a man’s leg, full of water, which is very good to drink. We purchased many of them.