Bibliography

Extracts from
A Derrotero, or Log-Book

Francisco Albo

The author, formerly Contramaestre (Boatswain) on the Trinidad, became the Victoria's pilot as it approached Brazil. He is referred to as Alvo or Alvaro in the Hakluyt edition's Table of Contents, but as Albo on the first page of his account in that edition. The latter spelling is used here, and this extract provides Albo's account of the voyage until they reached the entrance to the Pacific Ocean. In this online edition, parenthetical phrases are as follows:

(phrase):  As printed in original,
[phrase]:  An insertion by the Hakluyt editor,
{phrase}: An insertion in this online edition.

Icons in the text below are links to Google Earth 3D views of:
Placename or position mentioned in Albo text. Same, mentioned in both Albo and Pigafetta texts
Same, mentioned in Pigafetta text Placename mentioned but not visited.
Same, mentioned in Bautista text Modern placename displayed for reference purposes
Same, mentioned in Anonymous Portuguese text Anchorage
Same, mentioned in Magellan text   
In Google Earth's Places column, a misplaced placename. 3D view shows misplaced position (red bullet) and correct position (blue or green bullet)
  • Click any icon within the text to open Google Earth. Then double-click any placename in Places column or 3D view to zoom in on that location. Zoom has no effect for offshore locations, since it would simply display the water surrounding that location.
  • Both Albo and Pigafetta give latitude but—with one exception (below)—not longitude data. Therefore, the latter values have been assigned based on other information; bearings, distance, landfall description, etc.
  • An un-named location is identified by the date it was written, or by latitude mentioned.
  • View the fleet's track from Seville to the western mouth of the Strait of Magellan.
Key to Footnotes
*, †, ‡, ^from Hakluyt printed edition
§, §§, Δadded to this online edition

Tuesday, 29th day of November {1519}, I began to take the altitude of the sun whilst following the said voyage; and whilst in the vicinity of Cape St. Augustine, and in 7° altitude on the S. side, and at a distance from the said cape a matter of 27 leagues to S. W.§

§ If the Victoria was at 7° south latitude, with Cape St. Augustine to the southwest, then the ship was at about 33° 38' west longitude {-33.642101°}. If so, this would place it about 130 miles, or 43 {not 27} leagues from the Cape.

Wednesday, 30th of said month, I took the sun in 76°, and its declination was 22° 59', and its polar altitude was 8° 59', and the course was S.S.W.

On the 1st of December, Thursday, the sun had 78° meridian altitude, and 23° 4' declination, and our distance {from the equator} 11° 4', and the course was S.S.W.

Friday, the 2nd of the said month, I took the sun in barely 80°, and its declination was 23° 3', the altitude was just 13°, and the couse S.S.W.

Saturday, the 3rd of the said month, I took the sun in 82° 15', which had 23° 13' declination, and our distance was 14° 58', and the course was S.S.W.

Sunday, the 4th of the said month, the sun had 83° altitude, and 23° 17' declination; and our distance came to be 16° 17', and the course was S.S.W.

Monday, 5th of the said month, I took the sun in barely 84°, and it had 23° 21' declination; and our distance to the South came to be 17° 13', and the course was S.S.W. ¼ W.

Tuesday, 6th of the said month, the sun had 85° meridian altitude, and 23° 25' declination; and the height to the S. Pole came to be 18° 25'; the course was S.W. ¼ S.

Wednesday, 7th of the said month, I took the sun in 86° 30', and it had 23° 29' declination; our distance from the line came to 18° 57', and the course was to W.S.W.

Thursday, 8th of the said month, I took the sun in 86° 30', and it had 23° 29' declination; and so our altitude came to be 19° 59', and the course was S.W., and we sounded here, and found bottom at 10 fathoms; and this day we saw land, flat beaches, and it was the day of the Conception of our Lady.

Friday, 9th of the said month {December}, I took the sun in 88°, and its declination was 23° 31'; and our distance from the equinoctial line towards the South part came to be 21° 31', and the course was S.S.W., and we arose in the morning {10 December} to the right of St. Thomas {now, Cabo de São Thomé }, on a great mountain, and south slopes along the coast in the S.S.W. direction; and on this coast, at 4 leagues to sea, we found bottom at 25 fathoms, free from shoals; and the mountains are separated one from another, and have many reefs round them; and in Brazil and St. Thomas there are many rivers and ports; and going along the coast 6 leagues there are many shoals 2 leagues out to sea, and there is a depth of 12 fathoms on them, and 10, and 8; but the coast runs N.E. and S.W. to Cape Frio, and there are many islands and rivers.

At Cape Frio there is a very large river {now, Lagoa de Araruama }, and to the N.E., at three leagues distance, there is the peak of a high mountain and three islands §; and the cape is in 23°, and at the said cape there are three islands, and you leave them outside. Passing the said cape there is a large bay, and at its entrance there is a low island {probably, Ilha Paquetá }, and the bay within is very large, with many ports; it extends two leagues from the mouth, and it is called Bay of St. Lucy; and if you wish to pass the island, you leave it on the left hand, and (the entrance) is narrow; but there is a depth of 7 fathoms, and a foul bottom; but outside there is a depth of 20 to 25 fathoms, and within, where there is anchorage, there are 18 fathoms.

§ The Google Earth 3D view (Islands off Cabo Frio) shows there are more than three islands here. Perhaps Albo saw the three largest ones, and didn't notice the smaller islands in the chain.

In this bay there are good people, and plenty of them, and they go naked, and barter with fish-hooks, and looking-glasses, and little bells, for victuals. There is a good deal of brazil wood, and this bay is in 23°, and we entered here the day of St. Lucy {13 December}, and remained till the day of St. John, which is the 27th of the month of December; and we set sail the same day, and went to W.S.W., and found seven islets, and to the right of them there is a bay, and it is called the Bay of Kings; it has a good entrance, and in this neighborhood, on the 31st of the month, I took the sun in 86° 45', and its declination was 22° 8', and our latitude came to be 25° 23' §.

§ The current Bay of Kings (Baia dos Reis) is at 44.466832° W, 23.167188° S., or almost 300 miles northeast of Albo's 25° 23' (25.38333° S.)—a latitude quite close to the current Baia de Paranaguá. Assuming his latitude was reasonably correct, he may have mistaken Baia de Paranaguá for Baia dos Reis, which seems likely judging by the ship's positions on its way south, as noted by the links which follow.

Sunday, 1st of January of the year 1520, I took the sun in 84° 40', and it had 21° 58' declination; and the altitude came to be 27° 40'; and the course was to S.S.W.

Wednesday the 4th, I took the sun in 84° and 21° 29' of declination, with an altitude of 27° 29',§ and on the previous days the first day was to the S.W., and on the others to W., and on the fourth day at S.W. ¼ S.

§ The underlined text is omitted in the Hakluyt edition, and it is assumed here that Albo's 27° 29' on 4 January should be 28° 29'. Otherwise, the ship sailed (drifted?) about 12 miles in the wrong direction (north) since Sunday, which is unlikely.

Thursday, the 5th, the sun was in 81° 30' of altitude, and 21° 19' of declination; so that our distance from the line came to be 29° 49', and the course was S.W. ¼ S.

On the 6th, the day of the Kings, the sun was in barely 80°, and had 21° 8' of declination; and the altitude from the pole § came to be 31°, and the course was S.W. ¼ W.

§ Albo's “altitude from the pole” is equivalent to polar altitude; that is, latitude.

Saturday, the 7th, I took the sun in 78°; it had 20° 56' of declination, and our parallel was 32° 56'; the course was to S.W. ¼ S., and we went along the coast.

On the 8th I did not take the sun, but we went to S.W. ¼ S., and at night we sounded and found 50 fathoms; and we altered the course, and went on the 9th of the said month to W.S.W.; and in the morning we sounded, and found 15 fathoms, and we went till midday, and saw land, and there I took the sun in 76°, and it had 20° 31' of declination; and at night we anchored in a bottom of 12 fathoms—34° 31'.

Tuesday, 10th January {1520}, I took the sun in 75°; it has a declination of 20°, and our latitude came to 35°. We were to the right of the Cape of Sta. María. Thence forward the coast runs East and West, and the land is sandy; and to the right of the cape is a mountain shaped like a hat, which we named Monte Vidi, now corruptly called Santo Vidio (now Montevidio) and between it and Cape Santa María is a river which we call Rio de los Patos, and from thence we went forward through fresh water, and the coast runs E.S.E. {112° 30'} and W.N.W.{292° 30'} for ten leagues distance; after that it trends N.E. {45°} and S.W.{225°} as far as 34 1⁄3°, with a depth of 5, 4 and 3 fathoms; there we anchored, and sent the ship Santiago along the coast to see if there was a roadstead, and the river is in 33½°.

To the N.E. we found some islets, and the mouth of a very large river, which was the river of Solís (now named rio de la Plata.) and it went to the N. Here they turned back to the ships, and the said ship was away from us a matter of 25 leagues, and they were 15 days in coming; and during this time two other of our ships went in a southerly direction to see if there was a roadstead for staying at; and those went in the space of two days, and the Captain-General went thither, and they found land to the S.S.W., 20 leagues distance from us,§ and they were four days in coming; and on returning we took in water and wood, and we went away from there, tacking from one tack to the other with contrary winds, until we came in sight of Montevidi; and this was on the 2nd day of the month of February, the day of our Lady of the Candlemas; and at night we anchored at 5 leagues from the mountain, and it lay to the S.E. and a quarter S. of us.§§ Afterwards, on the morning of the 3rd, we set sail for the South, and we sounded, and found 4, 5, 6, and 7 fathoms, always increasing in depth; and this day we took the sun in 68° 30'; it had 13° 35' declination, and our latitude came to 35°.

§ Presumably at or near Punta Rasa, about 93 miles from the ship.

§§ The mountain {Cerro de Montevideo} could not possibly have been S.E.¼ S. of the ship, so perhaps the ship was 5 leagues {15 miles} S.E.¼ S. of the mountain.

Saturday, 4th February, we anchored in a depth of seven fathoms, the ship San Antonio having got leaky, and we were there till the 5th, and afterwards we weighed on the 6th, and stood on a south course, and at night we anchored in eight fathoms, and remained there till the next day.

The 7th we set sail to reconnoitre better the coast, and we saw that it tended S.E. ¼ S.; after that we took another tack and anchored in 8 fathoms, and there we took the sun in 66° 30', and it had 12° 15' declination, with which our distance from the equinoctial line to the south came to be 35¾°; after that we sailed the same day, and at night we anchored in 9 fathoms, and stood for Cape Santanton (Cabo Blanco) {now, Cabo San Antonio} it was to the south in 36°, and this was Tuesday, the 7th of the month.

On the 8th we set sail from the said point, and it is north and south with Montevidi, and 27 leagues distant from it; this coast runs N. and S. (the width of the Rio de la Plata is 27 leagues);§ from that place forward we went along the coast round the cape of St. Polonia; {now, Punta Médanos} after that the coast trends from N.E. to S.W. The said cape is in 37° {actually, 36°53' S}, and the land sandy and very low, it has sea of shallow depth for a distance of two leagues from land, or 8, 9, and 10 fathoms; so we ran all this day to the S.W., and the night and day.

§ The 27-league width is puzzling: The river's width varies from about 21 leagues (63 miles) at Montevideo, to 8 leagues (24 miles) at Buenos Aires, and less than that to the west.

Thursday, 9th of February, I took the sun in 63¼° it has 11½° declination, and the altitude came to 38° 30'; {probably, 37° 30'} the coast can be sounded, and not very high nor mountainous, and we made out many smokes along the coast; this coast runs E.W. ¼ N.W. S.E.§, and the point is called Punta de las Arenas.§§

§ The meaning of Albo's E.W. ¼ N.W. S.E. is unclear, and is ignored here.

§§ Now, Punta Mogotes. Not to be confused with the modern Punta Arenas, Chile, within the strait.

On the 10th I took the sun in 62° ⅓, and it had 11° 8' declination, our distance from the equinoctial came to be 38° 48', and the coast runs E. W.,§ and it is a very pretty coast for running in one or other direction.

§ Actually, the coast runs about E. by N. {78.75° (from Bahía Blanca to Punta Mogotes).}

On the 11th of the said month, I took the sun in 62°, it was 10° 47' declination, and the altitude came to be 38° 47', and the course was W.¼N.W. §, and the coast ran east and west from the Point de las Arenas; to this place there is a very good coast, with soundings, with many little green hills and low land.

§ Possibly, Albo means N.W.¼W. (312.18750°)

Sunday the 12th, we did not take the sun, but from the day before till midday we began to run to S.W. and to S.W. and a quarter W., and to W.S.W., and W. and a quarter S.W., but I calculate that the whole course was W.S.W., and this run was from midday of the 11th, till nightfall of the 12th, and at that hour we anchored in 9 fathoms, and further on in 13 fathoms, and after that we had anchored we saw land, and we set sail to the N., and this was on the 13th, and in the morning we were alongside of some shoals, where the Victoria bumped several times.

Item: The same day we were at anchor, and we did not take the sun's altitude, and we were in soundings of 7 fathoms, and we remained there till the 14th, and the said day I took the sun in 60½°, and it had 9° 41' declination, and our altitude came to 39° 11'.

On the 15th of the said month I took the sun in 60°, and it had 9° 13' declination, and our distance came to be 39° 19', and we sailed a south course.

Thursday the 16th, we could not take the sun until the 18th, and on that day we were in 39¼°; and the next day, the 19th, we were in 39⅓°, and this day we went to S.W., and we went by this course, and could not take the sun until the 20th of the month.

On the 20th I took the sun in 57°, it had 7° 27' declination, and our distance to the south came to 40° 17'.

On the 21st, I took the sun in 55°, it had 7° 4' declination, our altitude came to 42° 4', the course was S. W. ¼ W., and we sounded and found bottom at 55 fathoms.

Wednesday the 22nd, I took the sun in 53°, it had 6° 41' declination, and our distance came to 43° 26', the course was S. W. ¼ W.; at night we sounded and found bottom at 55 fathoms.

On the 23rd I took the sun in 53¼°, it had 6° 18' declination, our altitude from the line came to 43° 3', and our course was W.N.W.

On the 24th {February} I took the sun in 53°, it had 5° 54' declination, our altitude from the pole § came to 42° 54', and our course was W.N.W., and we were to the right of a very large bay, to which we gave the name of St. Matthew, because we found it on his day; we entered well in, and could not find bottom until we were entirely inside, and we found 80 fathoms, and it has a circuit of 50 leagues, and the mouth is to the N.W., and it is in the altitude of 42½°. §§

§ As above, “altitude from the pole” is polar altitude, or latitude.

§§ The original has “… á la cual pusimos nombre de la bahía de San Matia, … .” That is, San Matías {in English, Saint Matthias—not Matthew, and the date is his feast day}. The modern Golfo San Matías is at about 41° 30' S. (-41.5°). If Albo's “circuit of 50 leagues” (about 150 miles) means its approximate circumference, this should be about 90+ leagues (275 miles).

On the 25th I did not take the sun, but I took it on the 26th, in 51⅔°, and it had 5° 7' declination, by which we found ourselves in 43° 27' to the south of the line, and the coast runs N.W. S.E. ¼ N.S.

On the 27th I took the sun in 50¼°, and it had 4¾° declination, and so our altitude came to be 44°; and here to the right hand we found a bay§, and three leagues before it there are two rocks, and they lie East and West with the said bay, and further on we found another [bay], and there were in it many sea wolves, of which we caught eight, and on this land there are no people, but it is very good land, with pretty plains without trees, and very flat country.

§ Possibly, Golfo Nuevo. Albo's “another [bay]” may be Golfo San Jorge.

Tuesday, 28th, I took the sun in 48½°, and it had 4° 21' declination, and so we found ourselves in 44° 21', and the course was to the south, and at night we saw land to W.N.W.

On the 29th I took the sun in 48½°, and this day it had 4° declination, by which we found ourselves in 45½°, and the course was to S.S.W. and to W.S.W. until I took the sun, and afterwards we were two days that we could not take it.

On Friday, 2nd of March, I took the sun in 43° 50', it had 3° 10' declination, with which our distance came to be 47°; and after that we did not take the sun again until we entered a port called St. Julian, and we entered there on the last day of March, and remained there till the day of St. Bartholomew, which is the 24th of August, and the said port is in 49⅔°, and there we caulked the ships, and many Indians came there, who go covered with skins of antas§, which are like camels without humps, and they carry some bows of canes very small like the Turkish, and the arrows are like theirs, and at the point they have a flint tip for iron, and they are very swift runners, and well made men, and well fashioned. We sailed thence on the 24th of the said month of August, and went along the coast to S.W. ¼ W., a matter of 30 leagues, and found a river called Santa Cruz, and we entered there on the 26th of August, and remained till the day of S. Lucas, which is the 18th of the month of October, and there we caught much fish, and we took in water and wood, and this coast is well defined and with good marks.

§ The word “anta” is now associated with the South American tapir found in Brazil and surrounding areas. But according to Falkner {note 88:23, p. 154}, it had been used to describe both the tapic and the guanaco. The Indians were probably wearing skins of the guanaco, which agrees with his “like camels without humps” description.

Thursday, the 18th of October, we sailed from the said river of Santa Cruz, with contrary winds, we went for two days tacking about, and then we had a fair wind, and went to the S.S.W. for two days, and in that time we took the sun in 50⅔°, and it was on the 20th.

On the 21st of the said month, § I took the sun in exactly 52°, at five leagues from the land, and there we saw an opening like a bay, and it has at the entrance, on the right hand a very long spit of sand, and the cape which we discovered before this spit, is called the Cape of the {11,000} Virgins, and the spit of sand is in 52° latitude, and 52½° longitude, §§ and from the spit of sand to the other part, there may be a matter of 5 leagues, and within this bay we found a strait {Angostura Primera} which may be a league in width, and from this mouth to the spit you look East and West, and on the left hand side of the bay there is a great elbow, within which are many shoals, but when you enter the strait, keep to the North side, and when you are in the strait to the S.W., in the middle of the channel, and when you are in the strait, take care of some shallows less than three leagues from the entrance of the straits, and after them you will find two islets of sand, and then you will find the channel open, proceed in it at your pleasure without hesitation; and passing this strait we found another small bay, and then we found another strait of the same kind as the first {Angostura Segunda}, and from one mouth to the other runs East and West, and the narrow part runs N.E. and S.W., and after we had come out of the two straits or narrows, we found a very large bay, and we found some islands, and we anchored at one of them; {Isla Isabel?} and took the sun, and found ourselves in 52⅓°, and thence we came in S.S.E. direction, and found a spit on the left hand {probably, Isla Dawson), and from thence to the first mouth there will be a matter of 30 leagues; after that we went to S.W. a matter of 20 leagues, and there we took the sun, and we were in 53° latitude. In this strait there are a great many elbows, and the chains of mountains are very high and covered with snow, with much forest. After that we went to N.W. and a quarter W., and in this course there are many islets; and issuing from this strait the coast turns to the north, and on the left hand we saw a cape with an island, and we gave them the name of Cape Fermoso Δ and Cape Deseado, and it is in the same latitude as the Cape of the Virgins, which is at the beginning of the straits, and from the said Cape Fermoso we afterwards went to N.W. and to N., and to N.N.E., and we went in this course two days and three nights, and in the morning we saw land of pointed hills, and it runs North and South (thus runs the coast of the South sea) and from this land to Cape Fermoso there is a matter of 20 leagues, and we saw this land the 1st December {1520}.

§ 21 October is the Feast Day of Saint Ursula and hence, her 11,000 virgins.

§§ Apparently reckoned from Tenerife (16° 38' 22" W), and here added to Albo's longitude to conform to Greenwich Prime Meridian. His coordinates are off by about 40 miles {note yellow line}; an impressive calculation given that longitude measurement was almost impossible in his time, and Tenerife was more than 6,000 miles distant.

Δ Fermoso is an older form of Hermoso. Now, Cabo Pilar.