The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Iii The Voyage from Constantinople To Trebizond.

Return to Galatea - Pera

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Early on Thursday morning, the 22nd of November, they reached the city of Pera, and the ambassadors caused all their things to be taken to the city; and all their acquaintances said that, considering the tempest, and the place where they were wrecked, it was a wonder they had escaped. The ambassadors desired to find some way of continuing their voyage, but they could not find a ship to enter and navigate the great sea, as winter had already set in, and the ships which were bound for Trebizond, had either not started, or had returned to winter at Pera, and wait until the month of March. The reason why this sea is so dangerous is that it is round, and three thousand miles in circuit, and it has only one entrance, namely the strait near the city of Pera. It is surrounded by very high mountains, and many great rivers fall into it. The sea boils and rises into great waves, when the wind springs up. This sea is also dangerous because, when ships approach the strait, it is very difficult to know it, and if they miss it, they go on shore and are lost, as has happened many times; also, if when the strait is made out, and the vessel is near it, any of the gales arise, she is in danger of being driven on shore, and in this manner a vessel was lately lost which was coming from Caffa {'Of one thousand Turkish vessels which skim over the waters of this sea every year, five hundred are said to be wrecked as a matter of course. The winds sometimes will blow from all the four quarters of heaven within two hours time, agitating the waters like a boiling cauldron. Dense fogs obscure the air during the winter, by the assistance of which the Turkish vessels continually mistake the entrance of a valley, called the false Bogaz, for the entrance of the Bosphorus, and are wrecked perpetually.'-Curzon's Armenia}. At this time six Venetian galleys arrived at the great city of Constantinople, to meet the ships which were coming from Tana. The emperor ordered them to be brought close to the city, and said to the captains that the harbour was his, that he was at peace both with them and with the Genoese; and that they must not attack each other. The Genoese and Venetians, therefore, made a truce, for a certain period, and the Venetian ships passed. The ambassadors were obliged to remain in the city of Pera all the winter, as they could not find a ship. At length they secured a galliot of nineteen pairs of oars, and they caused her to be armed, which cost a large sum of money; and she was armed and ready by the month of March. The owners of this galliot were Master Nicholas Pisano, and Master Lorenzo Veneciano. The ambassadors secured this galliot, so as to reach the winter quarters of Timur Beg, before he left them; and the first vessel which entered the great sea, during that year, was the above mentioned galliot.