The Explorers, 1492-1774

TRANSLATION: Diary of Sebastian Vizcaino

Until the next day, when we set sail, they [Indians I remained on the beach shouting. This port was given the name of San Diego.

“Departure from the Port of San Diego and Arrival at the Island of Santa Catalina”

We left the port of San Diego, as has been said, on a Wednesday, the 20th of the said month, and the same day the general ordered Ensign Sebastian Melendes to go ahead with the frigate to examine a bay which was to windward some four leagues, and directed that the pilot should sound it, map it, and find out what was there. He did so, and the next day ordered the return to the captain’s ship. He reported to the general that he had entered the said bay, that it was a good port, although it had at its entrance a bar of little more than two fathoms depth, and that there was a very large grove at an estuary which extended into the land, and many Indians: and that he had not gone ashore. Thereupon we continued our voyage, skirting along the coast until the 24th of the month, which was the eve of the feast of the glorious Santa Catalina, when we discovered three large islands. We approached them with difficulty because of a head-wind, and arrived at the middle one, which is more than twenty-five leagues around.

On the 27th of the month, and before casting anchor in a very good cove which was found, a multitude of Indians came out in canoes of cedar and pine, made of planks very well joined and calked, each one with eight oars and with fourteen or fifteen Indians, who looked like galley-slaves. They came alongside without the least fear and came on board our ships, mooring their own. They showed great pleasure at seeing us, telling us by signs that we must land, and guiding us like pilots to the anchorage. The general received them kindly and gave them some presents, especially to the boys. We anchored, and the admiral, Ensign Alarcon, Father Fray Antonio, and Captain Peguero, with some soldiers, went ashore. Many Indians were on the beach, and the women treated us to roasted sardines and a small fruit like sweet potatoes.

Translated by Herbert Eugene Bolton in “Spanish Exploration in the Southwest,” 82-83, published by Barnes & Noble.