CHAPTER 2: The Governor's Arrival at Xagua with a Pilot

ON THAT DAY the Governor hove in with a brig he had bought in Trindad and, with him, a pilot by the name of Miruelo, who had been hired because he claimed he had been to the River of Palms and knew the whole northern coast. The Governor had also purchased another vessel, which he left beached at Havana with forty people and twelve horsemen under Captain Alvaro de la Cerda.

The second day after the Governor arrived, his expedition set sail - 400 men and 80 horses in four ships and a brig. The touted pilot we had taken on ran the vessels aground in the shoals called Canarreo [doubtless one of the keys off the western point of Cuba]; and for fifteen days we stood stranded, the keels often scraping bottom. At last a storm from the south raised the water over the shoals enough to lift us off, though dangerously.

No sooner did we reach Guaniguanico than another tempest nearly finished us and, at Cape Corrientes [southwestern Cuba], we had to battle yet another for three days. Finally passing those places, we doubled Cape Sant Anton [the westernmost tip of Cuba] and made for Havana handicapped by contrary winds.

We got within twelve leagues and next day pointed to enter the harbor when a stout south wind drove us toward Florida.

We sighted land Tuesday, April 12 [1528], and sailed up the [west] coast. On Holy Thursday we came to anchor in the mouth of a bay [perhaps Sarasota Bay], at the head of which we could see some houses and habitations of Indians.