National Geographic : 1894 Dec 29
192 J. W.Redway-The First Landfall of Columbus. statement, " I looked for the largest island and determined to make for it." Now there is only one other neighboring island southwest of Watling, and that is Long island. Moreover, no part of Long island is visible from Watling. Not only is it in visible from the masthead, but it is about twice the distance given in the log; still more, neither its shape nor its dimensions conform to the description in the log. Even the careful'Captain Becher incorrectly translates the passage " cargu z las velas, por andar todo aquel diafasta la noche,".saying, " I made sail, contin uing on until night," etc. But cargar las velas means to shorten sail-not to crowd on more canvas. Major errs in translating the same passage, saying, " I started for the purpose of sailing," etc. Captain Fox notices these errors and translates the passage correctly. Indeed, there can be no question about it, for it is the recognized nautical expression in the Spanish language for the act which in English is to " clew up." Just why Watling island should have received the sanction of so many authorities it is difficult to understand, unless it is the fact that this island has two rather large interior lakes; but, under any circumstances, lakes are about the most transitory features of the earth's surface, and the lagoon of low, sandy shores is almost ephemeral; it is found today, and tomorrow it has dis appeared. The storm which throws up a spit or walls in a cove today will just as readily undo its work tomorrow. After a lapse of four hundred years the presence or absence of a lagoon counts for nothing. It is freely admitted that in the foregoing paragraphs the pos itive identification of Samane as the first landing-place has not been made. It is believed, however, that material evidence has been added to the question. It is hardly necessary to say that the testimony of any one map counts for but little; but the case is different when we take the consensus of many maps, and in future researches undoubtedly early maps will play a part sec ond only in importance to the log. In closing this paper, there fore, it is suggested that thorough and systematic search for evi dence among early maps be made. In the past such search has always been highly fruitful in its results; there is no reason why it should not be equally fruitful in the future.
1895 Apr 20