Journal of Antonio Pigafetta

21st of October, 1520

After going and taking the course to the fifty-second degree of the said Antarctic sky, on the day of the Eleven Thousand Virgins [October 21], we found, by a miracle, a strait which we called the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, this strait is a hundred and ten leagues long, which are four hundred and forty miles, and almost as wide as less than half a league,[66] and it issues in another sea, which is called the peaceful sea;[67] it is surrounded by very great and high mountains covered with snow. In this place it was not possible to anchor[68] with the anchors, because no bottom was found, on which account they were forced to put the moorings[69] of twenty-five or thirty fathoms length on shore. This strait was a round place surrounded by mountains, as I have said, and the greater number of the sailors thought that there was no place by which to go out thence to enter into the peaceful sea. But the captain-general said that there was another strait for going out, and said that he knew it well, because he had seen it by a marine chart of the King of Portugal, which map had been made by a great pilot and mariner named Martin of Bohemia.[70] The captain sent on before two of his ships, one named St. Anthony and the other the Conception, to seek for and discover the outlet of this strait, which was called the Cape de la Baya. And we, with the other two ships, that is to say, the flagship named Trinitate, and the other the Victory, remained waiting for them within the Bay, where in the night we had a great storm, which lasted till the next day at midday, and during which we were forced to weigh the anchors and let the ships go hither and thither about the bay. The other two ships met with such a head wind[71] that they could not weather[72] a cape which the bay made almost at its extremity; wishing to come to us, they were near being driven to beach the ships.[73] But, on approaching the extremity of the bay, and whilst expecting to be lost, they saw a small mouth, which did not resemble a mouth but a corner,[74] and (like people giving up hope[75]) they threw themselves into it, so that by force they discovered the strait. Seeing that it was not a corner, but a strait of land, they went further on and found a bay, then going still further they found another strait and another bay larger than the first two, at which, being very joyous, they suddenly returned backwards to tell it to the captain-general. Amongst us we thought that they had perished: first, because of the great storm; next, because two days had passed that we had not seen them. And being thus in doubt[76] we saw the two ships under all sail, with ensigns spread, come towards us: these, when near us, suddenly discharged much artillery, at which we, very joyous, saluted them with artillery and shouts. Afterwards, all together, thanking God and the Virgin Mary, we went to seek further on.

After having entered inside this strait we found that there were two mouths, of which one trended to the Sirocco (S.E.), and the other to the Garbin (S.W.). On that account the captain again sent the two ships, St. Anthony and Conception, to see if the mouth which was towards Sirocco had an outlet beyond into the said peaceful sea. One of these two ships, named St. Anthony, would not wait for the other ship, because those who were inside wished to return to Spain: this they did, and the principal reason was on account of the pilot[77] of the said ship being previously discontented with the said captain-general, because that before this armament was made, this pilot had gone to the Emperor to talk about having some ships to discover countries. But, on account of the arrival of the captain-general, the Emperor did not give them to this pilot, on account of which he agreed with some Spaniards, and the following night they took prisoner the captain of their ship, who was a brother[78] of the captain-general, and who was named Alvar de Meschite; they wounded him, and put him in irons. So they carried him off to Spain. And in this ship, which went away and returned, was one of the two above-mentioned giants whom we had taken, and when he felt the heat he died. The other ship, named the Conception, not being able to follow that one, was always waiting for it, and fluttered hither and thither. But it lost its time, for the other took the road by night for returning. When this happened, at night the ship of the captain and the other ship went together to discover the other mouth to Garbin (S.W.), where, on always holding on our course, we found the same strait. But at the end[79] we arrived at a river which we named the River of Sardines, because we found a great quantity of them. So we remained there four days to wait for the other two ships. A short time after we sent a boat well supplied with men and provisions to discover the cape of the other sea: these remained three days in going and coming. They told us that they had found the cape, and the sea great and wide. At the joy which the captain-general had at this he began to cry, and he gave the name of Cape of Desire to this cape, as a thing which had been much desired for a long time. Having done that we turned back to find the two ships which were at the other side, but we only found the Conception, of which ship we asked what had become of her companion. To this the captain of the said ship, named John Serrano (who was pilot of the first ship which was lost as has been related), replied that he knew nothing of her, and that he had never seen her since she entered the mouth. However, we sought for her through all the strait, as far as the said mouth, by which she had taken her course to return. Besides that, the captain-general sent back the ship named the Victory as far as the entrance of the strait to see if the ship was there, and he told the people of this ship that if they did not find the ship they were looking for, they were to place an ensign on the summit of a small hill, with a letter inside a pot placed in the ground near the ensign, so that if the ship should by chance return, it might see that ensign, and also find the letter which would give information of the course which the captain was holding. This manner of acting had been ordained by the captain from the commencement, in order to effect the junction of any ship which might be separated from the others. So the people of the said ship did what the captain had commanded them, and more, for they set two ensigns with letters; one of the ensigns was placed on a small hill at the first bay, the other on an islet in the third bay, where there were many sea wolves and large birds. The captain-general waited for them with the other ship near the river named Isles: and he caused a cross to be set upon a small island in front of that river, which was between high mountains covered with snow. This river comes and falls into the sea near the other river of the Sardines.

If we had not found this strait the captain-general had made up his mind to go as far as seventy-five degrees towards the antarctic pole; where at that height in the summer time there is no night, or very little: in a similar manner in the winter there is no day-light, or very little, and so that every one may believe this, when we were in this strait the night lasted only three hours, and this was in the month of October.

The land of this strait on the left hand side looked towards the Sirocco wind, which is the wind collateral to the Levant and South; we called this strait Pathagonico. In it we found at every half league a good port and place for anchoring, good waters, wood all of cedar, and fish like sardines, missiglioni, and a very sweet herb named appio (celery).[80] There is also some of the same kind which is bitter. This herb grows near the springs, and from not finding anything else we ate of it for several days. I think that there is not in the world a more beautiful country, or better strait than this one. In this ocean sea one sees a very amusing chase of fish, which are of three sorts, of an ell or more in length, and they call these fish Dorades, Albacores, and Bonitos; these follow and pursue another sort of fish which flies, which they call Colondriny,[81] which are a foot long or more, and are very good to eat. When these three sorts of fish find in the water any of these flying fish, immediately they make them come out of the water, and they fly more than a cross bow-shot, as long as their wings are wet; and whilst these fishes fly the other three run after them under the water, seeing the shadow of those that fly: and the moment they fall into the water they are seized upon and eaten by the others which pursue them, which is a thing marvellous and agreeable to see.

Vocables des Geants Pathagonians.

Milan Edition. Milan Edition.
Le chef – Her . . idem. Les oreilles – Sane . . id.
Yeulx – Ather . . oter. Les esselles – Salischin . . id.
Le nez – Or . . id. La mamelle – Othen . . oton.
Les silz – Occhechl . . id. La poitrine – Ochy . . ochii.
Paupieres des yeulx  Sechechiel . . id. Le corps – Gechel.
Aux deux narines  Orescho . . id. Le vit – Scachet . . sachet.
La bouche – Xiam . . chian. Le couillons – Scancos . . sachancos.
Les leures – Schiane . . schiaine. Le con – Isse . . id.
Les dentz – Phor . . for. Le foutre – Johoi.
La langue – Schial . . id. Les cuisses – Chiaue . . id.
Le menton – Sechen . . secheri. Le genouil – Tepin . . id.
Les cheueulx[82] – Ajchir . . archiz. Le cul – Schiachen . . schiaguen.
Le visaige – Cogechel. Les fesses – Hoy . . hoii.
La gorge – Ohumer . . ohumez. Le braz – Mar . . riaz.
La copa* (le cou)  Schialeschin. Le poulse – Ohoy . . holion.
Les epaulles – Peles. Les jambes – Choss . . id.
Le coude – Cotel. Les piedz – Teche . . ti.
La main – Chene. Alcalcagno* – There . . tire.
La paulme de la main  Canneghin. La chenille du pied  Perchi . . id.
Milan Edition. Milan Edition.
Le doit – Cori . . id. La plante ou sole du pied  Cartschem . . caotschoni.
Les ongles – Colim . . colmi. Nous – – Chen.
Le cueur – Chol . . tol. Si ou ouy – Rei.
Le grater – Ghecare . . id. L’or – – Pelpeli . . id.
Homo sguerzo* – Calischen . . id. Petre lazure[83] – Secheghi . . sechey.
Au jeune – Calemi . . id. Le soleil – Calexchem . . id.
L’eau – Oli . . holi. Les estoilles – Settere . . id.
Le feu – Ghialeme . . gialeme. La mer – Aro . . id.
La fumée – Jaiche . . giache. Le vent – Om . . oni.
La fortune (storm)  Ohone . . id. A la pignate* – Aschame . . id.
Le poisson – Hoi . . id. A demander – Ghelhe . . gheglie.
Le manger – Mecchiere . . id. Vien icy – Haisi . . hai.
Une escuelle – Elo . . etlo. Au regarder – Conne . . id.
A combatre – Oamaghei . . ohomagse. A aller – Rhei . . id.
Alle frezze* – Sethe . . seche. A la nef[84] – Theu . . id.
Ung chien – Holl . . id. A courir[85] – Hiam . . tiam.
Ung loup – Ani . . id. Al struzzo veelo*[86]  Hoihoi.
A aller loing – Schien. A ses œufs[87] – Jan.
A la guide – Anti. La pouldre d’herbe[87]  Qui.
Aladorer[88] – Os . . id. Mangent[89] – Capac . . id.
Ung papegault[90] – Cheche. Le bonnet – Aichel . . id.
La caige doyseau  Cleo . . id. Coulernoire – Amet . . oinel.
Al missiglion* – Siameni . . id. (oyster) Rouge – Theiche . . faiche.
Drap rouge – Terechai . . id. Jaulne – Peperi . . id.
Al cocinare* – Ixecoles . . irocoles. Le diable grand  Setebos . . id.
La ceincture – Cathechin . . id. Les petitz diables  Cheleule . . id.
Une oye – Chache . . cache.

*The Italian words mixed up in the French MS. show that this MS. was written by Pigafetta, and not translated from his Italian. †None of these words resemble those given by the Jesuit, Falkner, from the language of the Moluche tribe. All these words are pronounced in the throat, because they pronounce them thus.

These words were given me by that giant whom we had in the ship, because he asked me for capac, that is to say bread, since they thus name that root which they use for bread, and oli that is to say water. When he saw me write these names after him, and ask for others he understood (what I was doing) with my pen in my hand.[91] Another time I made a cross and kissed it in showing it to him; but suddenly he exclaimed Setebos! and made signs to me that if I again made the cross it would enter into my stomach and make me die. When this giant was unwell[92] he asked for the cross, and embraced and kissed it much, and he wished to become a Christian before his death, and we named him Paul. When these people wish to light a fire they take a pointed stick and rub it with another until they make a fire in the pith of a tree which is placed between these sticks.