From Iohn Huighen Van Linschoten. His
Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies

Wolfe, London, 1598.


The 95. Chapter.

Of the Iland called the Ascention.

This Iland was discovered upon Ascention daye, and in shew seemeth as great as the Iland of Saint Hellena, but not so high. It is ful of hilles and dales, lying under eight degrees and a halfe, on the South side of the Equinoctiall line, and lyeth Northwest distant from Saint Helena, 190. Spanish miles, and from the Equinoctiall line 140. miles. There is not any fresh water in the Iland, nor one greene leafe or branch. It hath many hilles of a reddish colour, which shew like a certaine Earth in Spaine called Almagro, and is full of stonie hilles, and dryed land, like Saint Helena. There hath beene some shippes there, that missed Saint Helena, and sought for fresh water in that Iland, but could find none. It hath certaine faire and white Sandes about it, and great store of Fish, wherein it surpasseth S. Helena, but in it there are no beastes at all, onely by reason of the great quantitie of Fishes. Ther are so many Birds in it yt it is strange, and they are of the bignesse of young Geese, & came by thousands flying about our ships, crying and making great noyse, and ranne up and downe in the shippe, some leaping and sitting on our shoulders and armes, not once fearing us, so that wee tooke many of them, and wrung of their neckes, but they are not good to eate, because they taste morish. I thinke the cause they are so tame is, because they see but few men, and some desire to goe to them. About that Iland and the Iland of Saint Helena, unto the Equinoctiall line, there are flying Fishes, as great as Herings which flie by great flockes together, two or three Fadome above the water, and flie in that manner at the least a quarter of a mile, untill their wings or finnes be drie, and then they can flie no longer, but fall into the water, and there wet themselves, and then flie againe above the water. The cause why they flie in that sort is, because they are chased by the great fishes, that eate them, and to escape from them, they flie above the water, and some times into the shippes: for many of them fell into our ship, which flew too high, for when their wings are drie they must needes fall.


Plates from the 1598 English edition of Linschoten:
     The True Description of the Island of Ascention ...


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