The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ruy Gonzalez De Clavijo

Ischia Capri Stromboli

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On Saturday she passed by an island which is called Ischia, and another called Procida. They are both uninhabited. The same day she was off an inhabited island called Trape {Capri ?}, in the dominions of the king of Naples, where there is a fine town. On the same day, she passed Cape Minerva on the main land, and two high hills, between which there is a city called Amalfi, where they say the head of St. Andrew is preserved. {Cape Minerva, now called Cape Campanella, opposite Capri. 'Once ennobled by the celebrated temple of Minerva.'-G. Knight, p. 111} At the hour of vespers, they beheld two masses of smoke fall from the heavens and reach the sea, and the water rose with violence, and with a great noise, and obscured the heavens, covering them with clouds: so they luffed the vessel as much as they were able, because they said that if those masses reached the carrack, they would surely sink her. On Sunday, at daylight, they passed between two uninhabited islands, bare and without trees, named Arcu and Firucu; and a little further on, on the left hand side, another came in sight, with a high hill, which is called Stromboli; and it has a mouth out of which comes smoke and fire; and in the night great flames issued out, with a mighty noise. They also saw another island on the right hand, called Lipari, which is inhabited, and subject to King Lanzalago. In this island the veil of the blessed Saint Agueda is kept: and the island used to burn, but, owing to the prayers of the blessed Saint Agueda, it ceased to burn, together with other neighbouring islands; and when the other islands burn they take out this veil, and presently the fire ceases. On Monday they passed amongst certain uninhabited islands called Salinas, Strangolin, and Bolcani {Salina, Stromboli, and Vulcano}, and a great smoke issued from them, with much noise; and the same day they passed two desert islands called Paranea and Panarin. On Tuesday, the 17th of July, the vessel was becalmed between these two islands; and in the night a heavy gale of wind sprung up, which lasted until the morning. At noon on Wednesday the sails of the carrack were split, and she ran under bare poles, being in great danger. The storm lasted until Wednesday night, and the islands of Strangol and Bolcante {Stromboli and Vulcano} sent forth great volumes of fire and smoke; and during the tempest the captain caused the litanies to be sung, and every one sought mercy from God. The prayers being concluded, and the tempest still raging, a bright light appeared on the mast head of the carrack, and another light was seen on the bowsprit, which is that part of the ship ahead of the forecastle; and another on the yard arm, which is over the poop; and all who were on board the carrack saw these lights, for they were called up to see them, and remained some time to see if they would disappear; but they did not cease to shine during the storm; and presently all those on board went to sleep, except the captain and certain mariners, whose duty it was to keep watch. The captain, and two mariners, who were awake, heard the voices of men in the air, and the captain asked the mariners if they heard that noise; they replied that they did; and all this time the tempest did not abate. Soon afterwards they again saw those lights, returned to the places where they had been before; so they awoke the rest of the crew, who also saw the lights, and the captain told them of the voices he had heard. These lights remained as long as it would take to say a mass, and presently the storm ceased. The next day they were near the said islands, and in sight of Sicily, with fine weather and a fair wind. But they continued amongst these islands until the following Thursday, owing to the calms which prevailed.