I, meanwhile, remaining on land as accountant of his Highness, with seventy men, and the greater part of the provisions of biscuit, wine, oil, and vinegar being left with me.
Vii.—How Diego Mendez got food for Columbus.[also taken from the last will of Diego Mendez.]
On the last day of April, in the year fifteen hundred and three, we left Veragua, with three ships, intending to make our passage homeward to Spain; but, as the ships were all pierced and eaten by the teredo,1 we could not keep them above water. We abandoned one of them after we had proceeded thirty leagues: the two which remained were even in a worse condition than that; so that all the hands were not sufficient, with the use of pumps and kettles and pans, to draw off the water that came through the holes made by the worms. In this state, with the utmost toil and danger, we sailed for thirty-five days, thinking to reach Spain; and at the end of this time we arrived at the lowest point of the island of Cuba, at the province of Homo, where the city of Trinidad now stands; so that we were three hundred leagues farther from Spain than when we left Veragua for the purpose of proceeding thither,—and this, as I have said, with the vessels in very bad condition, unfit to encounter the sea, and our provisions nearly gone. It pleased God that we were enabled to reach the island of Jamaica, where we drove the two