Sunday 9th November – Day Eight
The place where we believe Columbus anchored is a tongue of Great Inagua jutting northwest into the sea. Just inside its west coast offering an open roadstead and a sandy bottom, there is a small creek running from the sea paralleling the coast inland to the northwest. Farther south, a large pond running southwest-northeast gives the impression that this point is cut off from the rest of the island by a creek. Here is how Columbus describes his anchorage on 19 October, folio 15 recto, 44 – 15 verso, 1,2: “this here I call Cabo Hermoso (Cape Beautiful) – I believe it is an island apart from Saometo and still there is another small one in between” This is too close a correspondence to be ascribable to chance, and besides, there is nothing that remotely resembles this geography on Long Cay- Fortune Island.
In the course of exploring Saometo/Isabela Columbus mentions how he enjoyed the songbirds and wondered at the flight of parrots that obscured the sun. This afternoon we endeavored to find a tree-bound flock of green Inagua parrots with their blue tipped wings, yellow bills, and red gorgets. Alas, despite touring a promising section of bush, none were found. Our guide, Mr Henry Nixon, warden of the National Park famous for its flamingos considered the Inagua parrots so numerous that they were considered nuisances. Ergo, they still exist after more than five hundred years.
Tomorrow we depart for the Hogsty Reef with what we hope will remain an east wind. Absence of communication will keep us mute for the next two days.