Diary of the Portolá Expedition, 1769-70
By Miguel Costansó
Compiled Feb. 7, 1770
Miguel Costansó, an engineer, was one of many soldiers, settlers and missionaries who, on instructions of Fr. Junípero Serra, accompanied Gaspar de Portolá (California governor, 1768-70) on the expedition from San Diego to San Francisco (and back) from July 14, 1769, to Jan. 24, 1770. For Serra, a Franciscan padre, the purpose was to find suitable locations for missions; for Portolá, it was to establish a settlement at Monterey Bay. The party overshot Monterey Bay, instead discovering San Francisco Bay, and naming several places (such as Carpinteria and San Luis Obispo) along the way.
From Aug. 8 to Aug. 13, the party passed through the Santa Clarita Valley, crossing at Elsmere Canyon on the 8th and camping at Castaic Junction on the 11th before heading down the Santa Clara River Valley toward the Pacific Ocean.
On Feb. 7, 1770, while at the Presidio at San Diego, Costansó compiled his notes from the trip into a diary which became the official record of the expedition ultimately finding its way into the hands of Charles III, King of Spain.
Diary of the Journey by Land Made to the North of California
by Order of his Excellency the Marques de Croix, Viceroy, Governor and Captain-General of New Spain, Etc., Etc.;
By Instruction of the Most Illustrious Don Joseph De Galvez,
of the Council and Court of his Majesty
in the Supreme Council of the Indies, Inspector-General of all the Tribunals,
Royal Exchequers, and Departments of Finance of his
Majesty in the same Kingdom,
and Intendant of the King’s Army, Etc., Etc.;
Performed by the Troops Detailed for this Purpose
under the Command of the Governor of the Peninsula of California,
Don Gaspar de Portola, Captain in the Dragones de España Regiment.
The departure having been fixed for the 14th of July, the governor ordered out six soldiers and a corporal to explore the country for the distance of the first two days’ marches. These soldiers left on the morning of the 12th, and returned on the afternoon of the following day with the information that they had found a watering-place sufficient for the men and horses at a distance of six or seven leagues.
Friday, July 14, 1769.
After giving water to the animals, as we knew there was none in the place where we were to sleep, we started in the afternoon and proceeded for two leagues. We halted in a canyon, to which we gave the name of San Diego, where there was an abundance of pasture.
From San Diego to the canyon of the same name, 2 leagues. Distance from San Diego, 2 leagues.
Saturday, July 15.
In the morning we broke camp at the place mentioned, and arrived at the spot previously reconnoitered by the scouts; it was given the name of La Poza de Osuna, and also of San Jacome de la Marca the former by the soldiers, the latter by the missionary fathers. This place is a very picturesque and attractive canyon. In parts it is probably more than two thousand yards wide; it is entirely covered with pasture, with some groves of trees, and has much water collected in pools. Towards the west, and beside one of these, we pitched our camp at one o’clock in the afternoon. On our way we came upon two Indian villages one about midway, the other in the very canyon where we encamped. All the country through which we passed was rich in pasture and not at all rough. We headed constantly to the northwest and north-northwest as the lay of the land permitted; [the country] was composed of hills of moderate height sloping into various canyons, all of which ran down to the sea, and the waters found their way into them by various creeks in which a quantity of salt accumulates.
The Indians of the canyon immediately came to see us; they approached little by little, full of suspicion, and as they were greeted and presented with some strings of glass beads they quieted down and became so familiar with us that they occasioned annoyance.
The scouts were sent out during the afternoon, and returned on the following morning with news that they had found a watering-place at a suitable distance.
To La Poza de Osuna, 4 leagues. Distance from San Diego, 6 leagues.
Sunday, July 16.
We broke camp in the afternoon, and, directing our course to the north and north-northwest over high, hilly country like that just covered, we went through two very pleasant canyons. In the first we saw an Indian village [and the inhabitants] came out to receive us as we passed. One of these made a speech and welcomed us, to which we replied only by gestures and signs of appreciation, but without stopping. They accompanied us for a long distance and showed us some small watering-places to one side of the road. We halted in the second canyon near a small Indian village, and close by the watering-place selected. This was a spring of good water situated on the eastern side of the canyon, and as it was somewhat scanty it was necessary to dig a pool in front of it to receive its small supply, and to wait until it filled in order to water the animals.
The country was pleasant, covered with undergrowth and some trees called alisos, and exceedingly abundant in pasture. This canyon was given the name of San Alejo.
To San Alejo, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 9 leagues.
Monday, July 17.
In the afternoon we left the place just mentioned, the country having already been examined by the scouts. We travelled for three leagues. The country was of the same character as that just covered; that is, composed of low hills of black earth, readily traversable and easy of approach, and covered with pasture. We came to the watering-place situated in a moderately wide canyon. The water issued from two different springs and stood in pools, about which it formed some miry places or marshes, covered with reeds and pasture. We pitched our camp upon a slope on the western side of the canyon, and gave the place the name of Santa Sinforosa. From our camp one could see, on the top of a low hill, an Indian village. [The inhabitants,] warned of our coming by their neighbors of San Alejo, sent two of their number to beg leave to come and visit us. We gave them to understand by signs that they should defer the visit until the following day; but forthwith they went back to their village, and in a short time all the inhabitants came [to our camp] there must have been as many as forty men, well-built and good-looking. The leader or chief soon afterwards began his harangue with loud cries and odd grimaces, but, without giving him time to finish, we made presents to him and his people of some glass beads and sent them away.
In the morning they returned and remained quietly amongst us until our departure.
To Santa Sinforosa, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 11 leagues.
Tuesday, July 18.
The watering-place found by the scouts was a little more than two leagues from Santa Sinforosa, a distance that we covered in the afternoon. The country over which we passed was also hilly. The place where we halted was exceedingly beautiful and pleasant, a valley remarkable for its size, adorned with groves of trees, and covered with the finest pasture. It must have been nearly a league wide, and different canyons opened into it on the north and northeast. The watering-place consisted of a pool or marsh of considerable extent. We camped on a rising ground within the same valley, towards the west. [To the valley] we gave the name of San Juan Capistrano.
The Indians in the neighborhood, warned of our coming, came out to meet us, so confident, it seemed, and certain of our friendship that they brought all their women. The captains or caciques made their usual speeches to us.
To San Juan Capistrano, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 13 leagues.
Wednesday, July 19.
We rested at this place, and in the early morning sent out the scouts to reconnoiter the country as far as they could go, but so as to return to camp before nightfall. Seven men with the sergeant of the presidio of the Californias set out for this purpose. The natives came to our quarters very early and in greater number than on the preceding day there must have been more than two hundred souls of both sexes. They mingled with us with as much familiarity as they could have done with their own countrymen and friends. We greeted them and made them presents, but the novelty made such an impression on them that they did not want to leave us, however much we tried to get rid of them, and they remained until very late watching and observing us.
Thursday, July 20.
We set out very early in the morning, following one of the canyons that terminated on the northern side of the valley of San Juan Capistrano. This canyon afterwards turned to the northeast, and, for this reason, we left it so as not to go out of our course. After passing some hills, we came into another spacious and pleasant canyon adorned with groves of trees and covered with pasture. The day’s journey was two leagues. To this place we gave the name of Santa Margarita.
The watering-place was ample; the water, fresh and good, stood in several pools; nevertheless within this same canyon there was a large pond of brackish water. The natives of the near-by villages, numbering about seventy persons of both sexes, immediately came to welcome us; we gave the women some glass beads and sent them away.
To Santa Margarita, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 15 leagues.
Friday, July 21.
We broke camp in the morning, and, taking the course to the northwest, we left the canyon of Santa Margarita. The road was over low hills, and after [travelling] for two leagues, we halted on the western side of the canyon. The watering-place consisted of some pools, and there was sufficient pasture. In this place we saw some native women, but very few Indians could be seen. We gave it the name of Cañada de los Rosales, on account of the great number of rose bushes we saw.
To Los Rosales, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 17 leagues.
Saturday, July 22.
We left Los Rosales, and, following the course to the northwest over a road of low hills and gullies, we arrived at the watering-place, distant about three leagues from our starting point. The water was held in a pool of small size but of considerable depth, in a canyon on the eastern side of which we pitched our camp on level ground covered with pasture.
Near the camp there was a small Indian village; the people remained with us, very happy and contented, during the greater part of the day. At this place the missionary fathers baptized two children of these natives that were dying, for which reason we gave the place the name of the Cañada del Bautismo.
To the Cañada del Bautismo, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 20 leagues.
Sunday, July 23.
From the Cañada del Bautismo we came to another canyon, to which we gave the name of Santa María Magdalena, situated to the north-northwest of the first. The road, although over hilly country and somewhat broken ground, was not very laborious. The place had abundant pasture, and was thickly covered with willows and other trees. The watering-place was very copious the water held in pools among reeds and rushes.
To Santa María Magdalena, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 23 leagues.
Monday, July 24.
We set out, and, taking the course to the north-northwest through another canyon that opens into that of Santa María Magdalena, we turned to the west and reached the top of some low hills. Afterwards, crossing a considerable stretch of level country, we entered another canyon, very picturesque, which ran at the foot of a high range, containing a stream of water and many trees. We pitched our camp to the east on level ground. Immediately, there came to visit us the Indians who inhabited a village within the same canyon. They came unarmed and showed unequalled affability and gentleness. They made us gifts of their humble seeds, and we presented them with ribbons and trifles.
To San Francisco Solano, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 26 leagues.
Tuesday, July 25.
We rested in the canyon described, which we called the Cañada de San Francisco Solano. Early in the morning the scouts set out to examine the country; they returned in the afternoon with news of having found a watering-place, but at a distance of six leagues or over.
Wednesday, July 26.
We left San Francisco Solano after midday, having taken the precaution to water the animals. We directed our course to the northwest, over mounds of earth, moderately high and passable, until we descended to a very extensive plain, of which the limit could not be discerned by the eye. After three leagues we halted close to a very small watering-place; it was scarcely sufficient for the people. We called it the Aguage del Padre Gómez as it was discovered by this missionary father who was of our company.
To the Aguage del Padre Gómez, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 29 leagues.
Thursday, July 27.
In the morning we broke camp at the watering-place above mentioned, and, crossing the plain in the direction of the northwest, we arrived, after three leagues, at the watering-place, which was a stream of very good running water. One could see, however, that it was diminishing each day on account of the dry season, the water gradually sinking into the sand. The stream descended from the range, and appeared to have a considerable flow in the rainy season. Its banks are very luxuriant. To this place we gave the name of Santiago.
To Santiago, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 32 leagues.
Friday, July 28.
From Santiago we went to another place of which the scouts gave us particulars. It was not far, in truth, as we arrived after an hour’s march. It is a beautiful river, and carries great floods in the rainy season, as is apparent from its bed and the sand along its banks. This place has many groves of willows and very good soil, all of which can be irrigated for a great distance.
We pitched our camp on the left bank of the river. To the right there is a populous Indian village; the inhabitants received us with great kindness. Fifty-two of them came to our quarters, and their captain or cacique asked us by signs which we understood easily, accompanied by many entreaties, to remain there and live with them. [He said] that they would provide antelopes, hares, or seeds for our subsistence, that the lands which we saw were theirs, and that they would share them with us.
At this place we experienced a terrible earthquake, which was repeated four times during the day. The first vibration or shock occurred at one o’clock in the afternoon, and was the most violent; the last took place at about half-past four. One of the natives who, no doubt, held the office of priest among them, was at that time in the camp. Bewildered, no less than we, by the event, he began, with horrible cries and great manifestations of terror, to entreat the heavens, turning in all directions, and acting as though he would exorcise the elements(?). To this place we gave the name of Río de los Temblores.
To the Río de los Temblores, 1 league. From San Diego, 33 leagues.
Saturday, July 29.
At two o’clock in the afternoon, we started from the Río de los Temblores. We travelled for two leagues, leaving the level country and the coast to enter the mountains, as we feared a lack of water in the plain. We found no water for the animals, but there was sufficient for the people in some little springs or small pools in a narrow canyon close to a native village. The Indians of this village were holding a feast and dance, to which they had invited their neighbors of the Río de los Temblores.
To Los Ojitos, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 35 leagues.
Sunday, July 30.
We left Los Ojitos, where there was another earthquake of no great violence, at half-past six in the morning. We crossed the plain in a northerly direction, steadily approaching the mountains. We ascended some hills which were quite rugged and high; afterwards we descended to a very extensive and pleasant valley where there was an abundance of water, part of it running in deep ditches, part of it standing so as to form marshes. This valley must be nearly three leagues in width and very much more in length. We pitched our camp near a ditch of running water, its banks covered with watercress and cumin. We gave this place the name of Valle de San Miguel. It is, perhaps, about four leagues from Los Ojitos. In the afternoon we felt another earthquake.
To the Valle de San Miguel, 4 leagues. From San Diego, 39 leagues.
Monday, July 31.
We left this camping-place at seven o’clock in the morning, and, crossing the ditch over which we had to lay a bridge on account of the depth, we travelled for two leagues to the west-northwest through fields of dry grass and thickets, which detained us for a long time as it was necessary to clear a path at every step. We crossed a very muddy stream and camped farther on in an open clear spot in the same valley, and close to a gap which was seen to the west. At half-past eight in the morning we experienced another violent earthquake.
Through the same Valle de San Miguel, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 41 leagues.
Tuesday, August 1.
We rested to-day, and the scouts went out to explore the country.
At ten o’clock in the morning there was an earthquake, which was repeated with violence at one o’clock in the afternoon; and one hour afterwards we experienced another shock. Some of the soldiers asked permission to go hunting mounted on their horses and others [to go] on foot, with the intention of killing some antelopes, as many of these animals had been seen. They are a species of wild goat with horns somewhat larger than those of the goats. These soldiers, on their return, said that they had seen a river of fine water from sixteen to seventeen yards wide that rises near the gap of the valley to the south, and at the foot of a low hill that was in sight of our camp, and, at the most, half a league distant.
Wednesday, August 2.
In the morning we broke camp, and travelling towards the west, we left the valley by an opening formed between low hills. Later we entered quite an extensive canyon containing many poplars and alders, among which a beautiful river flowed towards the north-northwest, and turning the point of a small steep hill it afterwards continued its course to the south.
To the north-northeast one could see another water-course or river-bed which formed a wide ravine, but it was dry. This water-course joined that of the river, and gave clear indications of heavy floods during the rainy season, as it had many branches of trees and debris on its sides. We halted at this place, which was named La Porciúncula. Here we felt three successive earthquakes during the afternoon and night.
To the Río de la Porciúncula, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 43 leagues.
Thursday, August 3.
We forded the Río de la Porciúncula, which descends with great rapidity from the canyon through which it leaves the mountains and enters the plain. We directed our course to the west-southwest over high level ground and, after a march of three leagues, we reached the watering-place, to which we gave the name of the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos. This was a large spring situated in a marshy place where there stood some alder trees of very large girth; the marsh was covered with grass, fragrant plants, and watercress. Hence the water flowed through a deep ditch towards the southwest. All the country that we saw on this day’s march appeared to us most suitable for the production of all kinds of grain and fruits. On our way we met the entire population of an Indian village engaged in harvesting seeds on the plain.
In the afternoon there were other earthquakes; the frequency of them amazed us. Someone was convinced that there were large volcanoes in the mountain range that lay in front of us extending towards the west. We found sufficient indications of this on the road that lies between the Río de la Porciúncula and the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos, as the scouts saw, adjoining the mountains, some large swamps of a certain material like pitch which was bubbling up.
To the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos, 3 leagues, From San Diego, 46 leagues.
Friday, August 4.
From the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos, skirting the mountains, over a good level road covered with grass, we reached the Ojos de Agua del Berrendo, a name we gave the place because we caught there one of these animals alive its leg had been broken on the preceding afternoon by a musket-shot from a volunteer soldier who had not been able to overtake it. The watering-place was situated in a hollow surrounded by low hills near the seacoast. Here we found an Indian village [and the inhabitants were] very good-natured. They came at once to our quarters with trays of seeds, nuts, and acorns; to these presents we responded with our strings of glass beads, which they hold in high esteem.
To the Ojo de Agua del Berrendo, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 48 leagues.
Saturday, August 5.
The scouts who had set out to examine the coast and the road along the beach returned shortly afterwards with the news of having reached a high, steep cliff, terminating in the sea where the mountains end, absolutely cutting off the passage along the shore. This forced us to seek a way through the mountains, and we found it, although it was rough and difficult.
We then set out from the Ojos del Berrendo in the afternoon, and, directing our course to the northwest towards the point where there appeared to be an opening in the range, we entered the mountains through a canyon formed by steep hills on both sides. At the end of the canyon, however, the hills were somewhat more accessible and permitted us to take the slope and, with much labor, to ascend to the summit, whence we discerned a very large and pleasant valley. We descended to it and halted near the watering-place, which consisted of a very large pool. Near this there was a populous Indian village, [and the inhabitants were] very good-natured and peaceful. They offered us their seeds in trays or baskets of rushes, and came to the camp in such numbers that, had they been armed, they might have caused us apprehension, as we counted as many as two hundred and five, including men, women, and children. All of them offered us something to eat, and we, in turn, gave them our glass beads and ribbons. We made three leagues on this day’s journey. To the valley we gave the name of Santa Catalina; it is about three leagues in width and more than eight in length, and is entirely surrounded by hills.
To the Valle de Santa Catalina, or Valle de los Encinos, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 51 leagues.
Sunday, August 6.
We rested to-day, and received innumerable visits from natives who came from various parts to see us. They had information of the appearance of the packets on the coast of the Canal de Santa Bárbara. They drew on the ground the outline or map of the channel and its islands, tracing the course of our ships. They also told us that, in former times, there had come to their country bearded people, dressed and armed like ourselves, indicating that they had come from the east. One of the natives related that he had been as far as their lands, and had seen places or towns composed of large houses, and that each family occupied one of its own. He added further, that at the distance of a few days’ marches about seven or eight to the north we would arrive at a large river which flowed between rugged mountains and could not be forded; and that farther on we would see the ocean which would hinder us from continuing our journey in that direction. However, we left the verification of the information of these geographers to the test of our own eyes.
Monday, August 7.
We crossed the Valle de Santa Catalina, which is nearly three leagues wide, and pitched our camp at the foot of the mountains that we had to enter on the following day. There was, among rushes and reeds, more than enough water for the people, but very little for the animals.
Through the same Valle de los Encinos, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 54 leagues.
Tuesday, August 8.
We entered the mountain range, the road having been already marked out by the pioneers who had been sent ahead very early in the morning. Part of the way we traveled through a narrow canyon, and part over very high hills of barren soil, the ascent and descent of which were exceedingly difficult for the animals. We descended afterwards to a little valley where there was an Indian village; the inhabitants had sent us messengers to the Valle de Santa Catalina, and guides to show us the best trail and pass through the range. These poor fellows had prepared refreshments for our reception, and, as they saw that it was our intention to move on so as not to interrupt the day’s march, they made the most earnest entreaties to induce us to visit their village, which was off the road. We had to comply with their requests so as not to disappoint them. We enjoyed their hospitality and bounty, which consisted of seeds, acorns, and nuts. Furthermore, they furnished us other guides to take us to the watering-place about which they gave us information. We reached it quite late. The day’s march was four leagues.
The country from the village to the watering-place is pleasing and picturesque on the plain, although the surrounding mountains are bare and rugged. On the plain we saw many groves of poplars and white oaks, which were very tall and large. The watering-place consisted of a stream, containing much water, that flowed in a moderately wide canyon where there were many willows and poplars. Near the place in which we camped there was a populous Indian village; the inhabitants lived without other protection than a light shelter of branches in the form of an inclosure; for this reason the soldiers gave to the whole place the name of the Ranchería del Corral.
To the Ranchería del Corral, 4 leagues. From San Diego, 58 leagues.
Wednesday, August 9.
Before our eyes extended vast mountain chains which we had necessarily to enter if we wished to continue our course to the north or northwest, as these were the directions most advantageous and most convenient for our journey. We feared that the more we penetrated into the country the greater the difficulties might be, and that we might be led very far from the coast. It was decided, therefore, to follow the canyon in which we had camped, and the course of the stream, if possible, as far as the sea. To this purpose the scouts, who had been sent out early in the morning, had orders to proceed as far as they could, and to find out if there were any obstacles on the road. For this reason the people and animals rested to-day.
A multitude of Indians came to the camp with presents of seeds, acorns, and honeycombs formed on frames of cane. They were a very good-natured and affectionate people. They expressed themselves admirably by signs, and understood all that we said to them in the same manner. Thus they gave us to understand that the road inland was very mountainous and rough, while that along the coast was level and easy of access; that if we went through the interior of the country we would have to pass over five mountain ranges, and as many valleys, and that on descending the last range we would have to cross a full and rapid river that flowed between steep banks.
During the night the scouts returned and reported that the land which led to the coast was level and contained plenty of water and pasture; they had not been able to see the ocean, although they had travelled for about six leagues following the course of the canyon.
Thursday, August 10.
We travelled for three leagues through the canyon which still ran in the same direction west-southwest. We halted on the bank of the stream which, at the time of our arrival, flowed with considerable volume, but, shortly after, dried up with the heat of the sun just as the scouts told us they had noticed on the previous day. This peculiarity we afterwards observed in other streams; they flowed by night and became dry by day.
All the soil of this canyon is very boggy, treacherous, and of a whitish color; the animals sank into it at every step. This canyon was given the name of Santa Clara.
Through the Cañada de Santa Clara, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 61 leagues.
Friday, August 11.
We set out very early in the morning; the canyon still ran in the same direction west-southwest. After three leagues we halted near a populous village situated on another stream of running water. This emerges from the range through a narrow gorge and empties into the Cañada de Santa Clara, which at this point has a greater width. This village must contain over two hundred souls, who live with no better protection than the Indians of the [Ranchería del] Corral, that is to say, within a similar inclosure of branches.
In the afternoon, seven chiefs or caciques came with a large following of Indians armed with bows and arrows, but with the bowstrings loosened in sign of peace. They brought generous presents of seeds, acorns, nuts, and pine-nuts, which they spread out before us. The chiefs inquired who was in command of us, and offered to the commander and his officers, as a mark of distinction, various necklaces of some little black and white stones; in hardness and substance they greatly resemble coral, and only differ from it in color. To-day we have probably seen more than five hundred Indians.
Through the Cañada de Santa Clara, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 64 leagues.
Saturday, August 12.
In the afternoon, we broke camp and steadily followed the canyon over a road broken by streams and gullies formed by the watershed of the mountain range which is drained by them during the rainy season. We halted on the bank of one of them which still carried a considerable amount of water. We covered three leagues on this day’s march.
Some natives from a village within sight came with their trays of seeds and pine-nuts; these they offered us with the same liberality and willingness as the others.
Through the Cañada de Santa Clara, 3 leagues. From San Diego, 67 leagues.
Sunday, August 13.
We marched for two leagues, steadily descending the canyon with the intention of reaching the coast which we presumed to be already near. We pitched our camp at a short distance from the stream henceforth we shall call it, with greater propriety, a river, on account of its volume at this place, increased by various streams which empty into it on both sides of the canyon.
From this place we observed a spacious plain, covered with grass and with some trees, extending to the south and west as far as the sea. Near our camp there was a very small Indian village; the inhabitants lived in huts thatched with grass, of a spherical form like the half of an orange, each having a vent in its upper part through which the light entered and the smoke escaped.
Through the Cañada de Santa Clara, 2 leagues. From San Diego, 69 leagues.
Monday, August 14.
We broke camp in the morning, directing our course to the west-southwest for a distance of two leagues. We reached the coast, and came in sight of a real town the most populous and best arranged of all we had seen up to that time situated on a tongue or point of land, right on the shore which it was dominating, and it seemed to command the waters. We counted as many as thirty large and capacious houses, spherical in form, well built, and thatched with grass. We judged from the large number of people that came out to meet us, and afterwards flocked to the camp, that there could not be less than four hundred souls in the town.
These natives are well built and of a good disposition, very agile and alert, diligent and skillful. Their handiness and ability were at their best in the construction of their canoes made of good pine boards, well joined and calked, and of a pleasing form. They handle these with equal skill, and three or four men go out to sea in them to fish, as they will hold eight or ten men. They use long double-bladed paddles and row with indescribable agility and swiftness. All their work is neat and well finished, but what is most worthy of surprise is that to work the wood and stone they have no other tools than those made of flint; they are ignorant of the use of iron and steel, or know very little of the great utility of these materials, for we saw among them some pieces of knives and sword-blades which they used for no other purpose than to cut meat or open the fish caught in the sea. We saw, and obtained in exchange for strings of glass beads and other trinkets, some baskets or trays made of reeds, with different designs; wooden plates and bowls of different forms and sizes, made of one piece so that not even those turned out in a lathe could be more successful.
They presented us with a quantity of fish, particularly the kind known as bonito (this was the season to catch it, judging from the ease with which they took it); it had as good a taste and as delicate a flavor as that caught in the tunny-fisheries of Cartagena de Levante and on the coasts of Granada.
The engineer who accompanied this expedition observed. on the beach, the latitude of this town using the English octant; for the meridian altitude of the sun, facing it, he found