The first Voyage of M. Martine Frobisher, to the
Northwest, for the search of the straight or passage
, written by Christopher Hall, Master in the
Gabriel, and made in the yeere of our Lord 1576.
THE 7. of June being Thursday, the two Barks, viz.
the Gabriel, and the Michael & our Pinnesse set saile
, and bare down to Detford, and there we
ancred: the cause was, that our Pinnesse burst her
boultsprit, and foremast aboard of a ship that rode at
, else wee meant to have past that day by the
Court then at Grenewich
The 8. day being Friday, about 12 of the clocke we
wayed at Detford
, and set saile all three of us, and bare
downe by the Court, where we shotte off our ordinance
and made the best shew we could: Her Majestie beholding the same, commended it, and bade us farewell, with
shaking her hand at us out of the window. Afterward
shee sent a Gentleman aboord of us, who declared that
her Majestie had good liking of our doings, and thanked
us for it, and also willed our Captaine to come the next
day to the Court to take his leave of her.
The same day towards night M. Secretarie Woolly
came aboorde of us, and declared to the company, that
her Majestie had appointed him to give them charge to be
obedient, and diligent to their Captaine, and governours
in all things, and wished us happie successe.
The 12. day being over against Gravesend
, by the
castle or blockehouse, we observed the latitude, which
was 51. degrees 33. min. And in that place the variation
of the Compasse is 11 . degrees and a halfe.
The 24. day at 2. of the clocke after noone, I had
sight of Faire yle, being from us 6. leagues North and
by East, and when I brought it Northwest and by North,
it did rise at the Southermost ende with a litle hommocke, and swampe in the middes.
The 25. day from 4. to 8. a clocke in the forenoone,
the winde at Northwest and by North a fresh gale, I
cast about to the Westward, the Southermost head of
Shotland called Swinborne head Northnorthwest from
me, and the land of Faire yle, West Southwest from
me. I sailed directly to the North head of that said land,
sounding as I ranne in, having 60. 50. and 40. fathoms,
and gray redde shels: and within halfe a mile of that
Island, there are 36. fathoms, for I sailed to that Island
to see whether there were any roadesteede for a Northwest winde, and I found by my sounding hard rockes,
and foule ground, and deepe water, within two cables
length of the shoare, 28. fathome, and so did not ancre
but plied to and fro with my foresaile, and mizen till
it was a high water under the Island. The tide setteth
there Northwest and Southeast: the flood setteth Southeast, and the ebbe Northwest.
The 26. day having the winde at South a faire gale,
sayling from Faire yle to Swinborne head, I did observe
the latitude, the Island of Fowlay
being West Northwest
from me 6. leagues, and Swinborne head East southeast
from me, I found my elevation to be 37. degr. and my
declination 22. degr. 46. min. So that my latitude was
59. degr. 46. min. At that present being neere to Swinborne head, having a leake which did trouble us, as
also to take in fresh water, I plyed roome with a sound,
which is called S. Tronions, and there did ancre in seven
fathoms water, and faire sande. You have comming in
the sounds mouth in the entring 17. 15. 12. 10. 9. 8.
and 7. fathoms, and the sound lyeth in North northwest,
and there we roade to a West sunne, & stopped our
leake, and having refreshed our selves with water, at a
North northwest sunne, I set saile from S. Tronions the
winde at South Southest, and turned out till wee were
cleare of the sound, and so sailed West to go cleare of
the Island of Fowlay
. And running off toward Fowlay,
I sounded, having fiftie fathome, and streamie ground,
and also I sounded Fowlay being North from mee one
league off that Islande, having fiftie fathome at the South
head, and streamie ground, like broken otmell, and one
shell being redde and white like mackerell.
The 27. day at a South sunne I did observe the latitude,
the Island of Fowlay
being from me two leagues East
Northeast: I found my selfe to be in latitude 59. degrees,
59. min. truly observed, the winde at South Southwest
I sailed West and by North.
From 12. to foure a clocke afternoone, the wind at
South, a faire gale the shippe sailed West and by North
6. leagues, and at the ende of this watch, I sounded
having 60. fathome, with little stones and shels, the
Island from us 8. leagues East.
The first of July, from 4. to 8. a clocke, wee sailed
West 4. glasses 4. leagues, and at that present we had
so much winde that we spooned afore the sea Southwest
The 3. day we found our Compasse to bee varied one
point to the Westwards: this day from 4. to 8. a clocke
we sailed West and by North 6. leagues.
From 8. to 12. a clocke at noone West and by North
4. leagues. At that present I found our Compasse to
be varied 11. deg. and one 4. part to the Westwards,
which is one point.
The 11 day at a Southeast sunne we had sight of the
land of Friseland bearing from us West northwest 16.
leagues, and rising like pinacles of steeples, and all
covered with snowe. I found my selfe in 61. degr. of
latitude. Wee sailed to the shoare and could finde no
ground at 150. fathoms, we hoised out our boate, and
the Captaine with 4. men rowed to the shoare to get
on land, but the land lying full of yce, they could not
get on land, and so they came aboord againe: We had
much adoe to get cleare of the yce by reason of the fogge.
Yet from Thursday 8. a clocke in the morning to Friday
at noone we sailed Southwest 20. leagues.
The 18. day at a Southwest sunne I found the sunne
to be elevated 33. deg. And at a Southsoutheast sunne
40. deg. So I observed it till I found it at the highest,
and then it was elevated 52. deg. I judged the variation
of the Compasse to be 2. points and a halfe to the
The 21. day we had sight of a great drift of yce,
seeming a firme lande, and we cast Westward to be
cleare of it.
The 26. we had sight of a land of yce: the latitude
was 62. degrees, and two minutes.
The 28. day in the morning was very foggie: but at
the clearing up of the fogge, wee had sight of lande,
which I supposed to be Labrador
, with great store of
yce about the land: I ranne in towards it, and sownded,
but could get no ground at 100. fathom, and the yce
being so thicke, I could not get to the shoare, and so
lay off, and came cleare of the yce. Upon Munday we
came within a mile of the shoare, and sought a harborowe: all the sownd was full of yce, and our boate
rowing a shoare, could get no ground at 100. fathom,
within a Cables length of the shoare: then we sailed
Eastnortheast along the shoare, for so the lande lyeth,
and the currant is there great, setting Northeast, and
Southwest: and if we could have gotten anker ground,
wee would have seene with what force it had runne, but
I judge a ship may drive a league and a halfe, in one
houre, with that tide.
This day at 4. of the cloke in the morning, being
faire and cleere, we had sight of a head land, as we
judged, bearing from us north, and by East, and we
sailed Northeast, and by North to that land, and when
we came thither, wee could not get to the lande for yce:
for the yce stretched along the coast, so that we could
not come to the land, by five leagues.
Wednesday the first of August it calmed, and in the
after noone I caused my boate to be hoysed out, being
hard by a great Island of yce, and I and foure men rowed
to that yce, and sownded within two Cables length of
it, and had sixteene fathome, and little stones, and after
that sownded againe within a Minion shot, and had
ground at an hundreth fathome, and faire sand: we
sownded the next day a quarter of a myle from it, and
had sixtie fathome rough ground, and at that present
being aboord, that great Island of yce fell one part from
another, making a noyse as if a great cliffe had fallen
into the Sea. And at foure of the clocke I sownded
againe, and had 90. fathome, and small blacke stones,
and little white stones, like pearles. The tide here did
set to the shoare.
The tenth I tooke foure men, and my selfe, and rowed
to shoare to an Island one league from the maine, and
there the flood setteth Southwest alongest the shoare,
and it floweth as neere as I could judge so too, I could
not tarry to proove it, because the ship was a great way
from me, and I feared a fogge: but when I came a
shoare, it was a low water. I went to ye top of the
Island, and before I came backe, it was hied a foote
water, and so without tarrying I came aboord.
The 11 . we found our latitude to be 63. degr. and
eight minutes, and this day we entred the streight.
The 12. wee set saile towardes an Island, called the
, which was 10. leagues then from us.
We espied a sound, and bare with it, and came to a
, where we came to an anker, the land bearing East southeast off us, and there we rode al night
in 8. fathome water. It floweth there at a Southeast Moone. We called it Priors sownd, being from the
, tenne leagues.
The 14. we waied, and ranne into another sownde,
where wee ankered in 8. fathome water, faire sand, and
blacke oaze, and there calked our ship, being weake from
the wales upward, and tooke in fresh water.
The 15. day we waied, and sailed to Priors Bay, being
a mile from thence.
The 16. day was calme, and we rode still, without
yce, but presently within two houres it was frozen round
about the ship, a quarter of an ynch thicke, and that
day very faire, and calme.
The 17. day we waied, and came to Thomas Williams
The 18. day we sailed North northwest, and ankered
againe in 23. fathome, and tough oaze, under Burchers
, which is from the former Island, ten leagues.
The 19. day in the morning, being calme, and no
winde, the Captaine and I tooke our boate, with eight
men in her, to rowe us a shoare, to see if there were
there any people, or no, and going to the toppe of the
Island, we had sight of seven boates, which came rowing
from the East side, toward that Island: whereupon we
returned aboord againe: at length we sent our boate
with five men in her, to see whither they rowed, and
so with a white cloth brought one of their boates with
their men along the shoare, rowing after our boate, till
such time as they sawe our ship, and then they rowed
a shoare: then I went on shoare my selfe, and gave every
of them a threadden point, and brought one of them
aboord of me, where hee did eate and drinke, and then
carried him on shoare againe. Whereupon all the rest
came aboord with their boates, being nineteene persons,
and they spake, but we understoode them not. They
bee like to Tartars, with long blacke haire, broad faces,
and flatte noses, and tawnie in colour, wearing Seale
skinnes, and so doe the women, not differing in the
fashion, but the women are marked in the face with blewe
streekes downe the cheekes, and round about the eyes.
Their boates are made all of Seales skinnes, with a keele
of wood within the skin: the proportion of them is like
a Spanish shallop, save only they be flat in the bottome,
and sharpe at both ends.
The twentieth day wee wayed, and went to the Eastside of this Island, and I and the Captaine, with foure
men more went on shoare, and there we sawe their
houses, and the people espying us, came rowing towards
our boate: whereupon we plied toward our boate: and
wee being in our boate and they ashoare, they called
to us, and we rowed to them, and one of their company
came into our boate, and we carried him a boord, and
gave him a Bell, and a knife: so the Captaine and I
willed five of our men to set him a shoare at a rocke,
and not among the company, which they came from, but
their wilfulnesse was such, that they would goe to them,
and so were taken themselves, and our boate lost.
The next day in the morning, we stoode in neere the
shoare, and shotte off a fauconet, and sounded our
trumpet, but we could heare nothing of our men: this
sound wee called the five mens sound, and plyed out of
it, but ankered againe in thirtie fathome, and oaze: and
riding there all night, in the morning, the snow lay a
foote thicke upon our hatches.
The 22. day in the morning we wayed, and went
againe to the place where we lost our men, and our
boate. We had sight of foureteene boates, and some
came neere to us, but wee could learne nothing of our
men: among the rest, we intised one boate to our ships
side, with a Bell, and in giving him the Bell, we tooke
him, and his boate, and so kept him, and so rowed downe
to Thomas Williams Island
, and there ankered all night.
The 26. day we waied, to come homeward, and by
12. of the clocke at noone, we were thwart of Trumpets
The next day we came thwart of Gabriels Island
at 8. of the clocke at night we had the Cape Labrador
as we supposed West from us, ten leagues.
The 28. day we went our course Southeast.
We sailed Southeast, and by East, 22. leagues.
The first day of September in the morning we had
sight of the land of Friseland, being eight leagues from
us, but we could not come neerer it, for the monstrous
yce that lay about it. From this day, till the sixth of
this Moneth, we ranne along Island, and had the South
part of it at eight of the clocke, East from us ten leagues.
The seventh day of this moneth we had a very terrible
storme, by force whereof, one of our men was blowen
into the sea out of our waste, but he caught hold of the
foresaile sheate, and there held till the Captaine pluckt
him againe into the ship.
The 25. day of this moneth we had sight of the Island
, which was then East from us.
The first day of October we had sight of the Sheld,
and so sailed about the coast, and ankered at Yarmouth
and the next day we came into Harwich
The language of the people of Meta incognita.
| Argoteyt, a hand. || Callagay, a paire of breeches.|
| Cangnawe, a nose. || Attegay, a coate.|
| Arered, an eye. || Pollevetagay, a knife.|
| Keiotot, a tooth. || Accaskay, a shippe.|
| Mutchatet the head || Coblone, a thumbe.|
| Chewat, an eare. || Teckkere, the foremost finger.|
| Comagaye, a legge. || Ketteckle, the middle finger.|
| Atoniagay, a foote.|| Mekellacane, the fourth finger.|
| ||Yacketrone, the litle finger.|