U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Methods and results : voyages of discovery and exploration on the northwest coast of America from 1539 to 1603 : Appendix No. 7--Report for 1886 online

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Online LibraryU.S. Coast and Geodetic SurveyMethods and results : voyages of discovery and exploration on the northwest coast of America from 1539 to 1603 : Appendix No. 7--Report for 1886 → online text (page 8 of 12)
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The Gulf of the Farallones of the U. S. Coast and Geo-
detic Survey. (Seep. 222.)

Correction to Ferrelo, — 1° 00' and a "little more."

This gulf, extending from Point San Pedro, in latitude
37° 35', to Point Eeyes, in latitude 38° 00', and embrac-
ing the Farallones de los Frayles, was seen by Cabrillo
and Ferrelo, as is shown by 1 heir narratives, on their first
return from the northward, ]'"riday, the 16th of Novem-
ber, 1542.

Whether they intended the name to include this great
bight is doubtful, althongh Cabrillo called it a "great
gulf," but this may mean ouly the bight between Point
Eeyes and Ballenas Point. There are no pines south of
those which are on the ridges near Mount Tamalpais* un-
til we reach Point San Pedro and then they are sparse
until the crest-line is reached about latitude 37° 25'.

' Poftus Novas Albionis, Drake, 38° and 38° 30'.

El Puerto de San Francisco, Vizcaino.

Sir Francis Drake's Bay.

Drake's Bay, latitude 38° 00'.

Drake's Bay is a capital harbor in northwest winds,
such as Drake encountered. It is easily entered, shel-
tered by high lands, and a vessel may anchor in three
fathoms close under the shore in good holding ground.
Drake's vessel drew thirteen feet of water "to make her
swim," and it would appear that when she was leakin"
he moved her to the beach and careened her.

If ho had been insido the Estcro Limantour,of which
he could not have detected the eutranct from his ves-
sel, he would necessarily have been very close to either
shore. And had he seen it he would not have dared
to enter it without sounding it out. It has only thirteen
feet of water on the bar at the highest tides, and he
would not have hazarded his vessel in entering such a
doubtful anchorage. Nor would h e have risked^the pos-

ain of BMOhe*' *'^'""""'*''y'^^'' "'« Tamal iDdLins, The Table Mount -






protectiou, aud is sheltered from all winds. It has ex-
tensive lorests, and an infinite number of very great
pines, straight and smooth, fit for masts and yards; like-
wise evergreen oaks of a prodigious size proper for
building ships. Hero also are rose-trees, white thorns,
firs, willows, and poplars; large clear lakes, fine pastures,
and arable lands. * » • xhe sea ahouuds with oys-
ters, lobsters, crabs, etc. Also huge sea wolves and
whales. This harbor is surrouuded with rancherias of
Indians, a well-looking affable people; » » * ^yjio
expressed great concern when the Captain aud tender
sailed out of this harbor on the third of January, 1603,
• • • in search of the Cabo Mendocino.

"Hero" (p. 116).

" They were forcibly carried southward from forty-eight
to thirty-eight degrees, where they found the land low'
acd plain, with some few hills covered with Snow. June
17th, [1579,] (p. 117) they came to a convenient harbour
and continued there till Jnly 23rd, during which, though
in the height of Summer, yet they had constant nipping-
Cold (neither for fourteen days could they see the Sun
for the fogginess of the Air), • » • the Trees being
without Leaves, and the Ground without Grass, even in
June and July: » * * Tho' the real Cause of this
Extremity is uncertaiu, yet it is judged to proceed from
the large Continent of America and Asia, near together,
northward of this place, from whose high Mountains, al-
ways covered with Snow, the North-West Winds, which
usually blow on those Coasts, bring this almost unsuf-
ferable sharpness, which the Sun in his greatest Heat is
not able to dissolve, from whence the Earth is so barren,
and the Show lies at their Doors almost in tho midst of
Summer, hut is never off their Hills, from whence pro-
e«eded those stinking Fogs through whi ch the Sun can-
not pierce, nor draw tho Vapors higher into the Air, ex-

" The Capitana and Fragata had no sooner left tho
harbor of Monterey to seek for the Cabo de Mendocino,
than they had a formidable wind which lasted to the
sixth of January, the day of the Los [Santos] Reyes, and
carried them beyond the Puerto de San Fi-anc^sco. And
the day after that of Los Reyes, which was tho 7th of
Januarj', the wind suddenly shifted to the northwest and
blew sou.ewhat fiercely, but they were able to make some
headway ; and the Fragiita concluding there was no ne-
cessity to seek a harbor from this wind continued her
voyage; and the Capitana thinking they were in com-
pany did not show a light ; so in the morning they were
not in sight of each other, and the General returned
■ with the Capitana to the Puerto de San Francisco to wait
for the Fragata ; but they did not hear of her until they
returned to Mexico. Another reason which prompted
the Capitana to put into Puerto de San Francisco, was
to make a reconnaissance of it, and learn if anything
was to he found of the ship San Angustin, which came
upon the coast in 1595, * * » under the Pilot Sebastian
Rodriguez Cermenoil; and being in this port she was



sibility of attack from the Indians in buch a contracted

place. He doubtless anchored in Drake's Bay, and the

reef In his plan represents in a crude manner the reef off

the easternmost point of Point Eeyes Head. In a rongh

sketch of his anchorage it is called Portus Novas Al-


The "World Encompassed" describes Drake leaving

the coast in latitude 43° and going southward, as follows:

"And he drew baoke agalne without landing, til we catne

within thirtie-eight degrees towards the line. lu which

height, it ijleased God to send us into a faire and good

bay, with a good wind to enter the same."
In the " Hero " the narrator says :
" From the height of 48 degrees, in, which now we were,

to 38, we found the land, by coasting alongst it, to bee

but low and reasonable plaine ; every hill (whereof we

saw many, but none verie high), though it were in June,

and the Sunne ju his nearest approach onto them, being

covered with snow.

" In 38 degrees 30 minutes, wc fell in with a conven-
ient and fit harborough, aud Juno 17th came to an an-
chor thereiu." * • *
Continuing in llii: " World Encompassed," the narratoi

writes :

" In this bay vtb aukered (he seventeenth of June, and

the peo p of tlie-Conntery, having their houses close by
the water's side, shewed themselves unto us, and sent a
present to our Generall. ' " " Our Generall called
this countery Nova Albion, and that for two causes: the
one, in respect of the white bankes and cliffes, which ly
towardes the sea ; and the other, because it might have
some affinitio with our countrey in name, which some-
time was so called.

" There is no part of earth here to bee taken up,
wherein there is not some speciall likelihood of gold or

"At our departure hence our Generall set up a monu-
ment to onr being there." _ » * »

From a recent visit to Drake's Bay (1886), we feel as-
sured he was anchored close under the point. From this
place he -could not see any fair indication of there beiug
a lagocpi like the Estero de Limantonr. Moreover, that
he was not in that estero would appear by the follow-
ing precautions he took against any surprise by the na-
tives :

"The third day following, viz, the 21st, our ship hav-
ing received a leake at sea, was brought to anchor neerer
the shore, that, her goods being landed, she might be re-
paired ; but for that we were to preuent any danger that
might chance against our safety, our Generall first of all
landed his men, with all necessary promission,to build
tents and make u fort for the defence of our selves and
goods; and that wee might vnder the shelter of it with
more safety (what ever should befal) end our business"
(p. 122). "When they [the Indians] came to the top of
hill, at the bottom whereof wee had built our fort, they
made a stand." " * *

On the sketch of Portus Nova; Albionis there is the le-
gend, " Fffida corporum laceraetione et crebris in monti-
bus sacrifiesis hujeis Novi Albionis portns itioela; Drecis
jambis coronote deceslum deflent."

(By horrible lacerations of their bodies and by fre-
quent sacrifices in the mountains, the inhabitants of this




cept the fierce Winds do sometimes scatter them ; and
when gone, the Fogs return as before."

Chap. VI., p. 118. * * *

"Next day after their coming to Anchor in the har-
bour afore-mentioned, the Natives of the Country discov-
ering them, sent a Man to them in a Canoe, with all Ex-
pedition. » k * June 23, their Ship being leaky,
came nearer the shore to Land their Goods; but to pre-
vent any surprize, the General sent his Men ashore first
with all necessaries for making Tents, and a Fort for se-
curing their Purchase ■ * » * their Houses are dug
round within the Earth, and have from the surface to the
Ground, Poles of Wood set np and joined together at tho
Top like a Spired Steeple, which being covered with
Earth, no water can enter(p. 120), andarevery warm, tho
Door being also the Chimney to let out tho Smoke, which
are made Slopous, like the Scuttle of a Ship * » *
(p. 1"21). The Generalhaving experienced the treachery
of other Infidels, provided against any Alteration of
their mind, setting up Tents, and intrenching themselves
with Stone Walla; which done they grew more Secure.
* * * The Indians * * * coming to tho Top of the
Hill, at the Bottom whereof they had built their Fort,
thej made a stand, where their chief speaker wearied him-
self, .and them with a long oration, &c. (p. 123), their Hioh
or King appeared. , • » »

(P. 128). "Having finished their Afl'airs the General
and some of his Company made a Journey up into the
Country, to observe their manner of Living, with the Na-
ture and Commodities of the Country ■ " * » the In-
land was far different from the Seashore, it being a very
frnitfnl soil, furnished with all Necessaries, and stored
with large fat Deer, whereof they saw Thousands in an
Herd, &c. * * »

" This Country General Drake called Nova Albion, both
because it had white Cliffs towards the Sea, and that its
Name might have some likeness to England, which was
formerly so called. Before they went hence, the General
caused a Monument to be erected, signifying the English
had been there, and asserted the Eights of Queen Eliza-
beth and her Successors to that Kingdom, all engraven
in a Plate of Brass, and .Nail'd to a great firm Post, with
the Time of their Arrival, the Queen's Name, and the free
Resignation of the Country by the King and People into
her Hands; likewise her Picture and Arais, and nuder-
neath the General's Arms. * * '

" July the 23rd, they [the Indians] took a sorrowful
leave of them, but loth to part with them, they went to
the top of the Hills to keep sight of them as long as pos-
sible, making Fires before, bohiud.and at each side of
them, therein they supposed Sacrifices were offered to
their happy Voyage."


wrecked and driven on shore by a contrary wind ; and
among those who were there at that occurrence was the
chief pilot,

H. Ex. 40-




port of New Albion deplore the depaitnre of Drake now
twice crowned.)

Among the Nicasio Indians of the Nicasio Valley, lying
to the eastward of Drake's Bay, there is said to be a tra-
dition that Drake anchored in this bay ; that some of his
crew deserted and lived among the Indians ; and that he
gave the natives some seeds, and among other things
Bome hard ship-biscuit, which they innooentlv planted.
He also left among^them a sow and a, boar ; and the early
Spaniards report that when they came to this region the
country was filled with wild hogs. '

Ballenas Bay: To the southward of Drake's Bay, and
nearly half way to San Francisco Bay entrance, there is a
small cove somewhat protected by a reef from the north-
west swell. The name Volanos or Bolanos, Vizcaino's
pilot, at once suggests tlie origin of the present name
i. e., the Bay of Bolanos.

La Pauta de los Eeyes, Vizcaino.

Point Eeyes, latitude 38° 00'.

The chart of Vizcaino gives a fair idea of Point Eeyes
and its relation to Drake's Bay, but the latter is exag-
gerated. He has an entrance to a large estero now known
as the Estero de Limantour, or Drake's Lagoon.

For a detailed description of this remarkable headland,
which forms the northorn boundary of the Gulf of the
Farallones, see Davidson's Coast Pilot.

The Isles of St. James, Drake.
Los Frayles, Vizcaino's chart.

Los Farallones de los Frayles of the later Spanish navi-

The North Farallones, the Middle Farallon, and South-
east Far.allon, latitude 37° 42'.

It is a curious fact that neither Cabrillo norFerrelo men-
tion these notable islets, although they describe and name
the great gulf under Point Eeyes Head. Drake's descrip-
tion admits of no" doubt whatever. Vizc^no does not
mention this extensive group of high islets in his narra-
tive, but has five "Frayles" laid down off his port of
San Francisco, doubtless the North Farallones, and a
large islet close inshore and to the southward. This
latter is certainly the largest and highest, or the South-
east Farallon, and it would appear ihat he did not sail
between it and the shore, because he has laid it down
dangerously near to the coast.

This remarkable group of islands forms a uotablc feat-
ure in the navigation of this part of the coast. The
Southeast Farallon is a high rocky islet about one mile
in extent, rising abruptly from deep water, with several
well-defined heads, one of which attains an elevation oi
360 feet This islet may sometimes have been mistaken
for several islets close together. It lies in latitude 37°
42', twenty-four miles broad off the Golden Gate, and
eighteen miles true south of Point Eeyes Head. It is a
wild granitic mass of rock, without a particle of soil and
the resort and breeding-place of thousands of sea-lions
and millions of sea birds. There are two or three land-
ing places around the island.




"A little witbout their Harbour lyo certain Isles, and
by tbem the Islands of St. James, wherein are plenty of
Seals and Fowls, and Landing on one of them the next
day, they supplied themselves with competent Provis-
ion for some time (Hero, p. 129).

"The 23 of July they took a eorrowfull farewell of vs
but being loath to leave vs, tbey presently run no to the
top of the hils to keepe vs in sight as long asithey could,
making fires. * » *

"Not farre without this barborough did lye certain
Islands (we call them the Islands of Saint James), hav-
ing on them plcntifull and great store of Scales and birds,
with one of which wee fell July 24, whereon we found
such provision as might competently seruo our turne for
a while. We departed againe the day next following,
viz, July 25." (World Encompassed, p. 134.)

Francisco de Volanos, who was with the present expedi-
tion. He recognized the place and afilirmed that they
had left on shore a great quantity of wax, and chests
of silks, and the Greneral was anxious to discover some
vestiges of these.

"The Qapitana came to anchor behind a point of land
which makes this port [Puerto do San Francisco, i. e.
Drake's Bay], and which he called La Punta de los Eeyes ;
but no one was sent ashore that they might be in readiness
for the tender; and on the day following, the Capirana
sailed out in search for her. The wind was northwest
and light and the Capitana moved slowly. • * <•




The North Farallones is a group of four smaller islets
and low rocks gathered together in a somewhat compact
hody. The four principal islets are high, barren, and
almost inaccessible. The highest rises to an elevation
of 158 feet. The group lies six and three-fifths miles
northwest by west from the Southeast Farallon, and
twelve miles south-southwest from the western extremity
of Point Eeyes He.ad.

The depth of water around these islands is thirty
fathoms, and the same continues well in towards the shore
so that it is somewhat strange that Cabrillo, Ferrelo, and
Vizcaino did not go inside of them ; they could not have
been coasting very closely along the main shore.

Frequently these islets are hidden by the fogs even
when the shores are fairly free and visible.

Eio Grande de San Sebastian, Vizcaino's chart.


The mouth of Tomales Bay is in latitude 38° 14'.

This body of water is shown on Vizcaino's chart but no
mention is made of it in the narrative. It is indicated
in the locality of Bodega Bay, six leagues north of Point
Eeyes, by a large river leading many leagues to 'the east-
ward. It might be considered the Estero Americano, but
this stream is quite narrow, not straight, and is not easily
made out from seaward. It is almost certainly Tomales
Bay, which would show the mile- wide entrance between
the rulge of Tomales Peninsula and the equally high land
forming the eastern shore of the bay.

Tomales Bay is ten miles long with a navigable chan-
nel a good distance in. But the bar at the entrance is
generally marked by breakers, and has lees than ten feet
of water upon it at low tide.

On old Spanish charts we find the name sometimes
spelled Tamales; and it would seem a reasonable con- _
elusion that it was named after the Tamal Indians.

The vessels of Cabrillo were compelled by stress of
weather to leave the coast when near Cape San Martin.
From his description I place him about twenty-five miles
nearly south of the present Cape San Martin, which is
the great flanking spur from the m ountains of the Santa
Lucia range. He was sixty miles south by east from the
termination of the range at Carmel Bay, and the mount-
ains are so high that he may possibly have seen them;
but it is more i^robable that he estimated his distance,
and also that the range was cloud-capped.

In the heavy "southeaster'' it is evident that their
small vessels were very seriously in danger, and that for
safety each had to look out for itself.

A rough plotting of their courses clearly indicates that
-they were far away from the coast.

"Echaron unEomero" means that they cast lots to de-
cide who should go on the pilgrimage to tjie church and
make the offering to Our Lady Guadalupe. A marginal
note in Herrera states : "Vote de los Marineros de la Nao
de D. Antonio de Mendof a, b. Nuestra Sefiora del Eosero."

They sight land to the northward of the Slavianski or
Enssian Eiver on the 14th ; the summit of Eoss Mountain
is over 2,200 feet above the sea and only three miles from
the shore. It is in latitude 38° 30', and is visible from
the latitude of Point Eeyes.


This same u ight of Saturday, at four o'clock in the night,
being in the sea about six leagues from the coast, lying
to waiting for the day, with a southeast wind, so great a
storm struck Ihcmfrom Ihe southwest and the south-
southwest with rain and dark cloudy weather, that they
conld not keep \\p a handbreadth of sail, and it made
them scud with a small foresail, with umch labor, all the
night, and the Sunday following the tempest broke upon
them with much greater violence, which continued that
day and night until the following Monday at noon, and
the storm was as great as can bo experienced in Spain.
On Saturday night they lost sight of their consort.

Monday, the thirteenth of the said month of November,
at the hour of Vesper.s, the weather cleared up and the
wind veered to the west, and immediately they made sail
and went in search of their consort steering towards the
land, praying to God that they might discover her, as
they much feared that she would be lost ; they were run-
ning to the north and to the north-northwest; with the
wind west and west-northwest ; and the following Tues-
day at daybreak they had sight of the laud, and they
were able to hold on until the evening, and they could
see that the land was very high, and they cruised along
the coast to see If there was any port where they might
take shelter ; and so great was the swell of the sea that
it was fearful to behold ; and the coast was hold, and the



and at four hours in the night, commencing to blow
strongly the wind from the south-southeast, and from the
southwest, with showers, and heavy clouds, and a great
sea that nearly engnlfed them, and at dawn, it blowing
tremendously, it was not possible to run, except with the
least amonnt of sail, before the wind, and on account of
the strong sea, wintl, and dense clouds, one vessel lost
sight of the other, and that one vessel threw overboard
everything that could lighten her, from the deck, because
the storm was very great ; and on the Capitana, seeing
themselves in the greatest danger, they vowtd a j)ilgrim-

age [eeharon un Eomero] to our Lady of the Rosary and
the blessed Mother of Pity, for her mercy, and she favored
them with a little fair weather. And Monday, on the
thirteenth of said month, they were heading towards the
land, in search of the other vessel, and during the night
they kept a lookout, in order not to lose sight of any-
thing, and to search for some shelter, and to make the




Cabo do Finos, Cabrillo, 40° "and more."

Northwest Cape, Russian. (See pp. 224, 228, 236.)

This is the bold hig'h spur of the coast mountains nearly
overhanging Fort Ross Cove, in latitude 38° 31'. This
gives a correction to Cabrillo and Ferrelo of, — 1° 29'.

The vessels were not near enough to the coast to see
the details of the shore-line.

This bold shoulder with the forests upon it was the dis-
tinguishing mark for the Russian ships when making the
small harbor of Fort EosS. The massive character of the
orography is well exhibited in the latest editions of the
Coast Survey charts.

Cabrillo's description is good, even to the direction of
the ooast-liue.

The Russian name " Northwest Cape " was not really
applied to the capo above described, but to the compara-
tively low rocky point at the northwest part of the Fort
Ross Cove. (See Davidson's Coast Pilot.)


mountains very lofty, and at evening they lay to for rest ;
it is a coast running northwest to southeaat; they iier-
oeived the land at a point frhich projects into the Ocean,
which forms a cape, and the point is covered with trees,
and it is in forty degrees.

Punta de Arena.

Point Arena, latitude 38° 57'.

This point liea thirty-seven miles uorthwest, along a
straight coast-liuo, from the Northwest Cape at Fort Ross
Cove; and Cabrillo could not hUvo seen the point itself
when he was in his latitude of Cabo de Pinos. But he
could have readily mado out the high mountains lying
sevea or eight miles southeast of Point Arena and border-
ing the coast. Moreover, if he sailed along the shore be-
yond Cabo de Pinos before the gale struck him (as they
iipparently got observations of the sun q.t noon), he may
have actually seen Point Arena. As he had seen no
point with such marked peculiarities it is strange he did
not describe it. The long terrace land stretches out three
miles from the base of the mountains and terminates in
vertical cliffs from two hundred and sixty feet to forty
and fifty feet i:i height, with whitish faces, in the sun-

Cabrillo's Friday is an error, as shown by the contest ;
it Hhonid bo Thursday. •

Bala do Pinos, Cabrillo.

La Bahia de los Pinos, Ferrelo, 39° and " more."

Ensenada de los Frayles.

The Gulf of the Faralloues.

Drake's B.iy, latitude 38° 00' ; correction to Ferrelo,
—1° 00' and " more." (See p. 214.)

The " Great Gulf" of Cabrillo may possibly bo intended
to embrace the bight from Point Reyes Head to Point Bo-
neta, or even to Point San Pedro. It could not have been
intended for Bodega Bay, because this has no character-
istics of a great gulf, and there have been no pines upon
Bodega Head, Point Tomalos, or the eastern shore ot the
bay since its occupation in the last fifty years; nor is
there any indication of such a growth previously. On
the other hand, a part of the ridges and all the gulches
from Mount Tamalpais'are even yet forest clad. This is
quite a marked feature from seaward. Moreover, the re-
ported latitude carries the location to the Gulf of the

Wednesday, the fifteenth day of the said month, they
had sight of their consort, for which they gave many

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Online LibraryU.S. Coast and Geodetic SurveyMethods and results : voyages of discovery and exploration on the northwest coast of America from 1539 to 1603 : Appendix No. 7--Report for 1886 → online text (page 8 of 12)