Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The first Voyage of M. Martine Frobisher, to the Northwest, for the search of the straight or passage to China, written by Christopher Hall, Master in the Gabriel, and made in the yeere of our Lord 1576.

The 7. of Iune being Thursday, the two Barks, viz. the Gabriel, and the Michael M. Matthew Kinderslye was Captaine of the Michael. and our Pinnesse set saile at Ratcliffe, and bare down to Detford, and there we ancred: the cause was that our Pinnesse burst her boulsprit, and foremast aboard of a ship that rode at Detford, else wee meant to haue 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 vs, and bare downe by the Court, where we shotte off our ordinance and made the best shew we could: Her Maiestie beholding the same, commended it, and bade vs farewell, with shaking her hand at vs out of the window. Afterward shee sent a Gentleman aboord of vs, who declared that her Maiestie had good liking of our doings, and thanked vs for it, and also willed our Captaine to come the next day to the Court to take his leaue of her.

The same day towards night M. Secretarie Woolly came aboorde of vs, and declared to the company, that her Maiestie had appointed him to giue them charge to be obedient, and diligent to their Captaine, and gouernours in all things, and wished vs happie successe.

The 12. day being ouer against Grauesend, by the castle or blockehouse, we obserued the latitude, which was 51. degrees 33. min. And in that place the variation of the Compasse is 11. degrees and a halfe.

Faire Island. The 24. day at 2. of the clocke after noone, I had sight of Faire yle,47 being from vs 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.

Shotland. 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, hauing 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 vnder the Island. The tide setteth there Northwest and Southeast: the flood setteth Southeast, and the ebbe Northwest.

The 26. day hauing the winde at South a faire gale, sayling from Faire yle to Swinborne head, I did obserue the latitude, the Island of Fowlay being West Northwest from me 6. leagues, and Swinborne head East southeast from me, I found my eleuation By eleuation he meaneth the distance of the sunne from the zenith. to be 37. degr and my declination 22. degr. 46 min. So that my latitude was 59. degr. 46. min. S. Tronions. At that present being neere to Swinborne head, hauing a leake which did trouble vs, as also to take in fresh water, I plyed roome with a sound, which is called S. Tronions, and there did ancre in seuen fathoms water, and faire sande. You haue 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, and stopped our leake, and hauing refreshed our selues 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. Fowlay Island. And running off toward Fowlay,48 I sounded, hauing fiftie fathome, and streamie ground, and also I sounded Fowlay being North from mee one league off that Islande, hauing fiftie fathome at the South head, and streamie ground, like broken otmell, and one shell being redde and white like mackerell.

Latitude 59. deg. 59. min. Here they begin to saile West and by North. The 27. day at a South sunne I did obserue 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 obserued, 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 hauing 60. fathome, with little stones and shels, the Island from vs 8. leagues East.

July the first. The first of Iuly, 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 2. leagues.

The 3. day we found our Compasse to bee varied one point to 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. The Compasse varying Westwards one point. At that present I found our compasse to be varied 11 deg. and one 4. part to the Westwards, which is one point.

The Island of Friseland. The 11. day at a Southeast sunne we had sight of the land of Friseland bearing from vs West northwest 16. leagues, and rising like pinacles of steeples, and all couered 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 eleuated 33. deg. And at a Southsoutheast sunne 40. deg. So I obserued it till I found it at the highest, and then it was eleuated 52. deg. The variation of the needle two points and a halfe to the West. I iudged the variation of the Compasse to be 2. points and a halfe to the Westward.

A great drift of yce. The 21. day we had sight of a great drift of yce, seeming a firme land, and we cast Westward to be cleare of it.

The latitude of 62. degrees 2. min. The 26. we had sight of a land of yce: the latitude was 62. degrees, and two minutes.

Sight of land supposed to haue been Labrador. The 28. day in the morning was very foggie: but at the clearing vp of the fogge, we 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 haue gotten anker ground, wee would haue seene with what force it had runne, but I iudge a ship may driue a league and a halfe, in one houre, with that tide.

This day at 4. of the clocke in the morning, being faire and cleere, we had sight of a head land, as we iudged, bearing from vs 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 fiue leagues.

August. 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 sounded 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 iudge so too, I could not tarry to prooue 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 the top of the Island, and before I came backe, it was hied a foote water, and so without tarrying I came aboord.

They enter the Streit in the latitude of 63. deg. and 8. min. 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 Gabriels Island, which was 10 leagues then from vs.

We espied a sound, and bare with it, and came to a Sandie Baye, where we came to an anker, the land being East southeast off vs, 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 Gabriels Island, tenne leagues.

The 14, we waied, and ranne into another sownde, where wee ankered in 8. fathome water, faire sand, and black oaze, and there calked our ship, being weake from the wales vpward, 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 Island.

The 18. day we sailed North northwest, and ankered againe in 23. fathome, and tough oaze, vnder Burchers Island, which is from the former Island, ten leagues.

Sight of the Countrey people. The 19. day in the morning, being calme, and no winde, the Captaine and I tooke our boat, with eight men in her, to rowe vs a shoare, to see if there were any people, or no, and going to the toppe of the Island, we had sight of seuen boates, which came rowing from the East side, toward that Island: whereupon we returned aboord againe: at length we sent our boate with fiue 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 shore my selfe, and gaue euery 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 vnderstoode them not. The description of the people.49 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, saue 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 vs, came rowing towards our boate: whereupon we plied toward our boate: and wee being in our boate and they ashoare, they called to vs, and we rowed to them, and one of their company came into our boate, and we carried him a boord, and gaue him a Bell, and a knife: 5 of our men taken by the people. so the Captaine and I willed fiue of our men to set him a shoare at a rocke, and not among the company, which they come from, but their wilfulnesse was such, that they would goe to them, and so were taken themselues, 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 hear nothing nothing of our men: this sound wee called the fiue mens sound, and plyed out of it, but ankered againe in thirtie fathome, and ooze: and riding there all night, in the morning, the snow lay a foote thicke vpon our hatches.

The 22. day in the morning we wayed, and went againe to the place we lost our men, and our boate. We had sight of foureteene boates, and some came neere to vs, but wee could learne nothing of our men: among the rest, we intised one boate to our ships side, with a Bell, and in giuing 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.

They returne. The 26. day we waied, to come homeward, and by 12. of the clocke at noone, we were thwart of Trumpets Island.

The next day we came thwart of Gabriels Island, and at 8. of the clocke at night, we had the Cape Labrador as we supposed West from vs, 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 vs 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 vs ten leagues.

The seuenth 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 of Orkney, which was then East from vs.

The Sheld. 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.
Cangnawe, a nose.
Arered, an eye.
Keiotot, a tooth.
Mutchatet, the head.
Chewat, an eare.
Comagaye, a legge.
Atoniagay, a foote.
Callagay, a paire of breeches.
Attegay, a coate.
Polleuetagay, a knife.
Accaskay, a shippe.
Coblone, a thumbe.
Teckkere, the foremost finger.
Ketteckle, the middle finger.
Mekellacane, the fourth finger.
Yacketrone, the little finger.

47 Midway between Orkney and Shetland.

48 Foula, the most westerly of the Shetlands, round in form, is 12 miles in circuit.

49 Esquimaux.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55