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Thome is laid down in twenty-one degrees fifty minutes south latitude. I came into these soundings in latitude twenty-one degrees twenty-five minutes, and carried them in a north-easterly direction to latitude twenty-one degrees thirty-seven minutes, having from twenty-nine to thirty-seven fathoms, and immediately after shoaling to thirty-three fathoms, there was no bottom with one hundred and twenty fathoms of line. The wind then drew round to an east-north-easterly direction, and blew in tremendous squalls, with much rain; and fearing as I did, that if I continued on, bordering along the coast until I came up with the Abrolhos shoals, wbich give broken soundings at least two hundred miles off the land, that the wind might come back to its natural point, the south-east, and embay me, I reluctantly tacked to south-east, and before I could make my easting, I was set to the south of Cape Frio, by a strong current setting about south-southwest or south-west. The wind continued to blow from north to north-north-east heading us up on each tack for twelve days, which entirely disappointed us in our prospect of a fine passage to St. Salvador.”
During this unpleasant period of contrary winds, we were driven nearly into the supposed latitude and longitude of the island of Portuguese Ascension, whose existence is a subject of doubt among navigators; a singular circumstance, considering how completely this sea has been explored for the last hundred years. A description and drawing is given of it by Frezier; but the Russian navigator, Kreuzenstern, a few years ago devoted some time in search of it without success. From the circumstance of seeing several land birds, at the distance of five or six hun
fortress, standing on the spit of the cape, nearly north, when I perceived the color of the water alter suddenly, indicating soundings. I hove the lead with thirtyfive fathoms, and got no bottom. In a few minutes, got eighteen fathoms; next cast fifteen, next twelve, and then nine, when the shịp was hove in stays, and luckily came round, for there is no knowing how much water a few minutes more might have given us. It was now four o'clock. The fortress bore north half east, and were distant from it about two and a half leagues, while this shoal is laid down in all my charts, at the distance of four miles, with four fathoms. This apprehension, and finding no attention paid to my signals for a pilot, I stood off until four o'clock, A. M. when I tacked, and at an early hour again made the land. The land to the north-east of St. Salvador, cannot be mistaken. For ten leagues there are no very prominent parts, although the land is considerably elevated, and somewhat irregular and broken; but it may always be known from six to ten leagues from the cape, by its white, spotted, chalky appearance, somewhat resembling linen spread upon a green sward to bleach."
Not being able to procure a pilot, the commodore determined to run in by his charts, which he effected without any accident. On our approach to this great city, we descried a forest of masts, indicating its great importance as a commercial place. The entrance to the harbor is by no means as safe as that of Rio, and from its width, not so easily fortified. The harbor is one of the most spacious in the world, bordered by a most beautiful picturesque country, in a high state of cultivation in cotton, cocoa, coffee, and sugar. The