21st of October, 1520

[34] Upon reaching fifty-two degrees toward the Antarctic Pole, we discovered most miraculously a strait on the day of the [Feast of the] Eleven Thousand Virgins, whose cape we named the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins. That strait is 110 leagues or 440 miles long, and it is one-half league broad, more or less, and it leads to another sea called the Pacific Sea, and is surrounded by very lofty mountains laden with snow. There it was impossible to find bottom [for anchoring], and [it was necessary to fasten] the moorings on land twenty-five or thirty fathoms away, and if it had not been for the captain-general, we would not have found that strait, for we all thought and said that it was closed on all sides. But the captain-general, who knew that he had to make his journey by means of a well-hidden strait, which he had seen depicted on a map in the treasury of the king of Portugal, which was made by that excellent man, Martin of Bohemia, sent two ships, the San Antonio and the Concepción (for thus they were called), to discover what was at the end of the bay.

[35] We with the other two ships, the flagship, called Trinidad, and the other the Victoria, stayed inside the bay to wait for them. A great storm struck us that night, which lasted until the middle of the next day, and forced us to lift anchor and be driven here and there about the bay. The other two ships suffered a headwind and could not double a cape formed by the bay almost at its end, as they were trying to return to join us; so that they thought that they would have to run aground. But on approaching the end of the bay, and thinking that they were lost, they saw a small opening that did not appear to be an opening, but a cove, and like desperate men they hauled into it, and thus they discovered the strait by chance, and seeing that it was not a cove, but a strait with land, they proceeded farther and found a bay. And then farther on they found another strait and another bay larger than the first two. Very joyful, they immediately turned back to report to the captain-general. We thought that they had been wrecked, first, by reason of the violent storm, and second, because two days had passed and they had not appeared, and also because of certain smoke signals made by two of their men who had been sent ashore to notify us. And so, while in suspense, we saw the two ships, with sails full and banners flying to the wind, coming toward us. Upon approaching us, they suddenly discharged a number of mortars […] and cheers; then, all together, thanking God and the Virgin Mary, we went to explore farther on.

[36] After entering that strait, we found two openings, one to the southeast and the other to the southwest [205]. The captain-general sent the ship San Antonio together with the Concepción to ascertain whether that opening which was toward the southeast had an exit into the Pacific Sea. The ship San Antonio would not wait for the Concepción because it intended to flee and return to Spain, which it did. The pilot of that ship was one Estevão Gomez, and he hated the captain-general exceedingly, because before that fleet was fitted out, he had gone to the emperor to request some caravels to go and explore, but His Majesty did not give them to him because of the com- ing of the captain-general. On that account he conspired with certain Spaniards, and the next night they captured the captain of their ship, a cousin-german of the captain-general, one Alvaro de Mezquita, whom they wounded and put in irons, and in this condition took to Spain. The other giant whom we had captured was in that ship, but he died when they came into the warmer climate. The Concepción, as it was unable to keep up with that ship, waited for it, sailing about here and there. The San Antonio turned back during the night and fled through the same strait .

[37] We had gone to explore the other opening toward the southwest, finding, however, that the same strait continued. We came upon a river that we called the ‘river of Sardines,’ because there were many sardines near it, and so we stayed there for four days in order to await the two ships. During that period we sent a well-equipped boat to dis- cover the cape of the other sea. The men returned within three days, and reported that they had seen the cape and the open sea. The captain-general wept for joy, and called that cape, ‘Cape Deseado,’ for we had desired it for a long time. We turned back to look for the two ships, but we found only the Concepción, and upon asking them where the other one was, João Serrão, who was captain and pilot of the Concepción (and also of that ship that had been wrecked), replied that he did not know, and that he had never seen it after it had entered the opening. We sought it in all parts of the strait, as far as that opening through which it had fled. The captain-general sent the ship Victoria back to the entrance of the strait to ascertain whether the ship was there, and orders were given them, if they did not find it, to plant a banner on the summit of some small hill with a letter in an earthen pot buried in the earth near the banner, so that if the banner were seen the letter might be found, and the ship might learn the course that we were sailing, for this was the arrangement made between us in case we became separated. Two banners were planted with their letters: one on a little eminence in the first bay, and the other in an islet in the third bay where there were many seawolves and large birds.

The captain-general waited for the ship with his other ship near the river of Isleo, and he had a cross set up in an islet near that river, which flowed between high mountains covered with snow and emptied into the sea near the river of Sardines. Had we not dis- covered that strait, the captain-general had determined to go as far as seventy-five degrees toward the Antarctic Pole, where in that latitude, during the summer season, there is no night, or if there is any night it is but short, and so in the winter with the day.

[38] In order that your most illustrious Lordship may believe it, when we were in that strait, the nights were only three hours long, and it was then the month of October. The land on the left-hand side of that strait turned toward the southeast and it was low. We called that strait the ‘strait of Patagonia,’ where one finds the safest of ports every half league in it, excellent waters, the finest of wood (but not of cedar), fish, sardines, and missiglioni, while smallage, a sweet herb (although there is also some that is bitter), grows around the springs, of which we ate for many days as we had nothing else. I believe that there is not a more beautiful or better strait in the world than that one. In that Ocean Sea one sees a very amusing fish hunt: the fish [that hunt] are of three sorts, and are one cubit and more in length, and are called dorado, albicore, and bonito, which follow the flying fish called colondrini, which are one span and more in length and very good to eat. When the above three kinds [of fish] find any of those flying fish, the latter immediately leap from the water and fly, as long as their wings are wet, more than a crossbow’s flight. While they are flying, the others run along behind them under the water following the shadow of the flying fish; the latter have no sooner fallen into the water than the others immediately seize and eat them: it is a truly beautiful thing to see .

[39] Words of the Patagonian giants:

1] For head her
2] For eye other
3] For nose or
4] For eyebrows occhechel

5] For eyelids sechechiel

6] For nostrils oresche

7] For mouth xiam

8] For lips schiahame

9] For teeth phor
10] For tongue schial
11] For chin sechen
12] For hair archir
13] For face cogechel
14] For throat ohumez
15] For occiput schialeschin
16] For shoulders pelles
17] For elbow cotel
18] For hand chene
19] For palm of hand canneghin For finger cori
21] For ears sane
22] For armpit salischin
23] For breasts othen
24] For chest ochij
25] For body gechel
26] For penis sachet
27] For testicles sacaneos
28] For vagina isse

29]  For communication with women io hoi

30]  For thighs chiaue

31]  For knee tepin

32]  For rump schiaguen

33]  For buttocks hoij

34]  For arm mar

35]  For pulse holion

36]  For legs coss

37]  For foot thee

38]  For heel tere

39]  For ankle perchi

40]  For sole of foot caotscheni

41]  For fingernails colim

42]  For heart thol

43]  For to scratch gechare

44]  For cross-eyed man calischen

45]  For young man calemi

46]  For water holi

47]  For fire ghialeme

48]  For smoke giaiche

49]  For no ehen

50]  For yes rey

51]  For gold pelpeli

52]  For lapis lazuli secheg

53]  For sun calexchen

54]  For stars settere

55]  For sea aro

56]  For wind oni

57]  For storm ohone

58]  For fish hoi

59]  For to eat mechiere

60]  For bowl elo

61]  For pot aschanie

62]  For to ask ghelhe

63]  For come here hon si

64]  For to look choime

65]  For to walk rey

66]  For to fight oamaghce

67]  For arrows sethe

68]  For dog holl

69]  For wolf ani

70]  For to go a long distance schien

71]  For guide anti

72]  For snow then

73]  For to cover hiam

74] For ostrich, a bird hoihoi For its eggs iam
76] For the powder of the herb

they eat chapae
77] For to smell os
78] For parrot cheche
79] For birdcage cleo
80] For missiglioni siameni
81] For red cloth terechai
82] For cap aichel
83] For black ainel
84] For red taiche
85] For yellow peperi
86] For to cook yrocoles
87] For belt cathechin
88] For goose cache
89] For their big devil Setebos
90] For their small devils Cheleule

All the above words are pronounced in the throat, for such is their method of pronunciation.

[40] That giant whom we had in our ship told me those words; for when he, upon asking me for capac, that is to say, bread, as they call that root which they use as bread, and oli, that is to say, water, saw me write those words, and afterward when I, with pen in hand, asked him for other words, he understood me. Once I made the sign of the cross, and, showing it to him, kissed it, he immediately cried out ‘Setebos’, and made me a sign that if I made the sign of the cross again, Setebos would enter into my body and cause me to die. When that giant was sick, he asked for the cross, and embraced it and kissed it many times. He decided to become a Christian before his death; we called him Paul. When those people wish to make a fire, they rub a sharpened piece of wood against another piece until the fire catches in the pith of a certain tree, which is placed between those two sticks.

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