1609 - John Jourdain, Servant of the East India Company
The First Visit of a British Ship to the Seychelles
Jan. 19. Aboute nine in the morninge wee descried heigh land, which bare of us E. & by S. At three in the afternoone wee sawe other ilands, which wee made to bee four ilands, and in the eveninge they bare of us N. & by East some five leagues of. And wee stoode with a slacke saile all night untill towards the morninge, and then wee stoode in for the land to seeke water and other refreshinge.
At noone per observacion 4 d. 20 m (4°48’).
Jan. 20. In the morninge, beeinge neere the land, wee slacked our saile and tooke out our skiffe to goe sowndinge before the shipp, and to seeke a good place to anker in.
Soe they came to a small iland (North Island) beeing neerest unto us,which lyeth aboute twoe leagues to the north of the heigh iland (Silhouette Island) where they landed in a faire sandy cove, where wee might have ankored very well ; butt because our men made noe signe of any water wee ankored not. Soe the boate retourned and brought soe many land tortells as they could well carrie. Soe wee stoode alonge towards the other ilands. The tortells were good meate, as good as fresh beefe, but after two or three meales our men would not eate them, because they did looke soe uglie before they weare boyled ; and soe greate that eight of them did almost lade our skiffe. Goinge alonge by the ilands we found ten and twelve fathome within a league of the ilands ; and two leagues of wee had twenty and thirty fathome faire shoaldinge. This eveninge we thought to have ankored at an iland which laye E.N.E. of us, which seemed to be a very fruitfull place and likelye of water; but beinge neere night, and perceyveinge some shoalds and rocks neere the land, and other Hands ahead of us, wee brought our tacks aboard and stoode to the offing N.E. & by N., hopinge the next daie to finde goodankoringe at the other ilands which wee sawe further to the E.N.E. of us (Praslin and neighboring islands). But in our course there was a small iland (Mamelle)which laye aboute two leagues of the shoare, which wee could not double but weare faine to goe betwixt the ilands and it, haveinge faire shoaldinge 15 and 20 fathome.
This small iland is noe other then a rocke, alias ilheo.And being passed this rocke, wee stoode upon a tacke untill midnight, and then with a slacke saile wee stoode for the eastermost ilands with a fresh gale. Wee stoode W. & by N. and W.N.W., for soe wee had brought the body of the ilands of us; haveinge scene this daie above thirty ilands, little and greate, faire shoalding round aboute them, I meane to the northward of them. The distance from the southermost of these ilands to the norther of those wee sawe maye bee neere twenty leagues, close one by annother.
Jan. 21. In the morninge wee stoode in for the land,sending the skiffe before the shipp to sound, as alsoe to finde a good place to anker in. Soe aboute nine in the forenoone wee came to anker in 15 fathome water, within halfe a mile of the land. But wee found it full of small rocks; wherefore wee wayed and went further in, where we found cleare grownd and better rideinge; where wee found very good water in dyvers places, but noe signe of any people that ever had bene there. It is a very good roade betwixt twoe ilands, aboute a mile and a halfe distant from iland to iland ; and there lyeth, betwixt the E.S.E. and S.E. & by E., other three ilands (Cerf, Long and Mayenne Islands)aboute three leagues of from the place where wee ankored ; soe that wee weare in a manner land locked, except towards the E.N.E. and E. To knowe the place where wee ankored,there is a small iland (Mamelle) which lyeth next hand north from the roade aboute two leagues; and there is a rock or ilheo (The Brisans)lyinge betweene the iland where wee ride and the foresaid iland, the roade beinge to the southwards of that. To the W.N.W. there is a very high iland some 10 leagues of, which was the first iland which wee descryed (Silhouette). We ankored in 12 fathome water. The roade is in 4d. 10 m to the southward. .
Jan. 22. Finding a rowlinge to sea to come in out of the E.N.E., wee warped in aboute two cables length farther and anchored in 13 fathome water, very good ground and within a pistoll shott of the shoare; where wee ride as in a pond from the 22th to the 3Oth ditto ; in which time wee watred and wooded at our pleasure with much ease ; where wee found many coker nutts both ripe and greene, of all sorts, and much fishe and fowle and tortells (but our men would not eate any of them, but the tortells wee could kill with staves at our pleasure) and manye scates with other fishe. As alsoe aboute the rivers there are many allagartes (crocodiles); our men fishinge for scates tooke one of them and drevve him aland alive with a rope fastened within his gills. On one of these ilands, within two miles where wee roade, there is as good tymber as ever I sawe of length and bignes, and a very firme timber. You shall have many trees of 60 and 70 feete without sprigge except at the topp, very bigge and straight as an arrowe. It is a very good refreshing place for wood, water, coker nutts, fish and fowle, without any feare or danger, except the allagartes ; for you cannot discerne that ever any people had bene there before us.
The Journal 1608-1617
Ed. By William Foster
Cambridge 1905 (Hakluyt Society)