The Garden Guide

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


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In the middle of the night the wind rose, and the sea got up; and the boatswain, thinking they would be safer under the lee of the carrack, got the vessel under weigh, and tried to reach the carrack by means of oars; but they could not, for the wind increased to a gale; so that when they tried to return to the position which they had left, they could not. When they saw that they could neither reach the carrack nor the port, they let go two anchors. The gale still increased, and the anchors came home, so that the galliot was drifted close to the rocks; but it pleased our Lord God that the anchors at length found holding ground, so that the vessel did not touch the rocks; for if she had touched, she would have gone to pieces. Meanwhile the gale increased in a frightful way, and every person commended himself to God our Lord, for they thought they would never escape; and the waves rose so high that they broke over the vessel, and she worked much, and made much water, so that the people could do nothing but wait, and hope for the mercy of our most blessed Lord God. If it had been clear they would have made sail, and stood in for the land; but it was dark, and they knew not where they were. The carrack, which was off Carpi, being also in this storm, her people weighed her, and she was like to run foul of the galliot; but it pleased our Lord God to succour her, and she passed without touching; and they let go the anchors of the said carrack, but they would not hold, and she drifted on shore. Before day, she had gone to pieces, so that there was nothing left of her; but her people escaped in a boat, losing all they had on board. The mast and bowsprit of the carrack floated close to the galliot, and if they had touched her, she would have been destroyed; but it pleased our Lord God, and his blessed Mother, to protect the galliot from the wreck of the carrack, so that it did her no damage. But the galliot continued to make much water, insomuch that she was in danger of sinking. They remained in this condition until dawn, when the wind changed, and became fair for the land of Turkey. The yard was, therefore, turned round; but there were few to assist in working the sail, as the greater part of the crew were more dead than alive, so that if death had really come, they would not have cared much. Thus sail was made; and the people of the carrack, who had escaped to an island, fully believed that the galliot had gone down, and that all on board had perished; and they were astonished when they saw the galliot under sail, as they afterwards related, saying that they thought the galliot had sunk after she parted from the carrack; and they added that, before they saw her, they had prayed to God our Lord to deliver the galliot and her crew, and, if she had gone on shore, that the people might be saved. The ambassadors, after they had landed, set about diligently to get the presents, sent by the king, taken out of the galliot and landed. They were all taken on shore, nothing being lost, but this was done with great trouble and danger; for, the galliot being aground, the sea swept into her, and at intervals the swell caused by the tempest broke over her; and in the lulls the men carried the things to the land, and thus all the king's property was saved. In a very short time, however, the galliot was broken up, and her cargo was piled up in a heap. The boatswain of the galliot then said to the ambassadors that, as all these things were now on shore, the Turks would come and take possession of them for their king. In this state of things, some Turks came and asked who they were; and they replied that they were Genoese of Pera, and that they had come in the carrack which was lost in that harbour the night before, and that they wished to convey the property piled on the beach to the other carrack which was at Carpi, and that, if they could procure horses, they would pay for them. The Turks said that they could have horses from the neighbouring villages; and, accordingly, a number of people came with horses on the following Sunday, which conveyed the ambassadors and their property to Carpi, where the other carrack was. The said ambassadors found the carrack in port, and they went to speak with Master Ambrosio, the captain of her, and to relate the disaster which had befallen them, and how the other carrack was wrecked. The captain said that, for the service of the king of Castille, they might use the said carrack as if she was their own, and that they might put all their things on board. He also said that he would tell the Turks of the place, that they were people belonging to the other carrack. So they dressed the ambassador of Timur Beg, who was with them, like a Christian, and said that he came from the city of Pera; for if the Turks had recognized him, they would have killed him. When everything was put on board the carrack, they all understood that God our Lord had performed many miracles for them, in many ways. The first, in the escape from so great and destructive a tempest, for the captain and mariners who were there, said that they had navigated that sea for twelve years, and had never seen one equal to it; the second miracle of our Lord God was displayed in saving the people, and the property of our lord the king, and in their not being robbed by the Turks, or by the mariners; and the third, in the discovery of that other carrack, which, the captain said, was also nearly lost. They remained in that port until the following Tuesday, hoping for a fair wind; and on that day a Turk who was chief of a village, came to the ambassadors, and said to them, that they had taken clothes and other things through the territory of his master, on which they ought to pay duty. He demanded payment; and this was because the Turks had found out that they were not Genoese, nor of the city of Pera; and if they had caught them on shore, they would have detained them. In the afternoon of the same day they made sail, to return to the city of Pera.