March 3, 1513

The weather is good, the ships are ready, and I will find the fountain of youth. After losing my title of Adelantado of Puerto Rico that I gained after sailing with Christopher Columbus I asked king Ferdinand for a grant to allow me to search for the island of Bimini near Cuba for the fountain of youth. He allowed me to set off on the voyage. Although, I had to acquire my own vessels. I obtained one of Columbus’s ships, the Santa Maria, and two other ships the Santiago, and my last ship the San Cristóbal. Two of which are large caravels and one is a Bergatin. Although there was rain the last night, the sea is still calm and perfect for sailing. Once I load my sixty-crew members onto my ships I will set off for the fountain of youth.

March 10,1513

I am so glad to be out of Puerto Rico, the loss of my title of governor of Puerto Rico to that low life Diego Columbus is embarassing. However we have been sailing for eleven days now. A storm broke out and the deck of the Santa Maria and my ship the Santiago. I had the crew remove the water with buckets. Luckily no damage was done. Sailing is hard, the blue of the ocean and the blue of the sky are the same color here. The lack of a noticeable horizon makes one dizzy. One of the young deckhands, who has never worked on a boat before learned he had seasickness and is now always throwing up, and now another man has fallen overboard. However the rest of the crew is very strong and are hard workers. Luckily the food is still plentiful and conditions are fair. This should not be an extraordinarily hard voyage.

March 14, 1513

Me and another member of my crew used one of my astrolabes today and have found that we are a little north of 24°N latitude. We have been exploring a string of small tropical islands and the water here is so clear that I can see small fish of many colors. All of this information means that I am in the Bahamas. I have been here before with Christopher Columbus but I have been further exploring it and I have found many plants and animals. I have seen I rodent that lives in the rocks of the island that is as big as my arm. I found a few wild asses, an iguana, and a flock of brightly colored pink birds that stood on only one leg. A crewmember of mine found a spiny fish and he ate it. He was dead the next morning.

March 24,1513

I have decided to leave the Bahamas in search of Bimini. I have stayed here long enough and these islands have already been claimed for Spain. My crew gathered fruits for the trip. The fruit won’t last long but it will prevent scurvy for the time being. Five people have already contracted the illness. My crew is listening well and working hard. This should not be a long voyage but it should be very fruitful. There were a few fights between my crewmembers. I will bring honor to Spain with my soon-to-be findings. The glorious kin Ferdinand will be pleased.

March 27,1513

According to my compass I have been heading northwest for the last 24 days. And yet no new land, and no fountain of youth. I hope I hit land soon or the king and queen will be angered. Imagine if I found the Fountain of Youth, Spain could use it to sell to others and make a huge profit. Spain could become the richest land in the world. But if things have been going the way they have yesterday we wont even find land. Yesterday there was a storm with winds so powerful that it blew loose items from the deck into the air. Some metal object went flying into the foremast of the San Cristóbal making a large rip in the mast from top to bottom. We had two spare masts but the incident set us back three hours. Wait… some said they spotted land. This is great; the fountain of youth may be closer than we thought.

March 29,1513

The man who spotted land was correct. We have hit the large island north of Cuba but we still have not found the Bimini islands. When we set sail again hopefully we will find the Bimini islands and the fountain of youth. We explored the island today for a very long time. I named this island Tierra la Florida, which means land of flowers because of the large beds of brightly colored flowers and in honor of Easter season. This is a beautiful and bountiful land that Spain will enjoy to colonize. I have written down the coordinates for future exploration, although I had to use a very old cross-staff to find the coordinates because the metal object that hit the foremast of the San Cristóbal turned out to be my only astrolabe. Also two men were working with the hogg truss when it snapped and knocked them over board. We fixed the rope but we never found the men.

April 7,1513

I have been exploring this land for eleven days. There are many fresh water springs here but none that make me youthful. I have found many plants and animals in the marsh are of the everglades. I found many birds with long necks, plants whose roots rise from the surface of the water, and a green lizard the size of a man. Truly the honorable King Ferdinand will want to see this monstrous lizard. But the great resources of wood and fresh water will make colonization easy and will help the economy of Spain. I must leave this place today and head south around the island to hopefully find the island with the fountain of youth.

April 8.1513

Today while sailing around the east coast of Florida my three ships slowed down. The current became so strong that we moved at the pace of a snail. My masts were filled with air but still my boat went very slow. Once Florida is colonized by Spain, we can use this stream of water to sail quickly back to Spain. This could increase the rate of trading and the amount of goods brought to Spain from the new island. And since the island is bountiful with riches and materials this currant could be the best thing ever. Spain, and I, will become rich with this. I used my chip log and reel and calculated the speed at three knots. I charted the current and will bring it back to king Ferdinand when I return.

April 20, 1513

I herd a yell today from the deck, so I ran from my captains quarters onto the stern deck of the ship. I looked through my telescope and saw islands with jagged peaks. They looked hunched over as if they were suffering people. I named these island Los Martires which is Spanish for the martyrs. Also today three people in my crew got scurvy and two others have a mystery illness and are now vomiting uncontrollably. I think they will die in the next three days. In order to prevent scurvy within the rest of the crew I started to distribute some of the very large, and very orange tangerines that I found in Florida.

May 8,1513

Today I have spotted some islands to the west of the Florida Island. I think that tomorrow I will stop there and check what the island has to offer. These might be the Bimini islands. If they are than I will soon drink from the fountain of youth and bring the waters back to the king and claim the fountain for Spain. But if these are not the Bimini islands and I don’t find the fountain of youth I will still return to Spain wealthy with much land and riches. But all in all the success of the trip rides upon what I find on this island.

May 9, 1513

Today we arrived onto the island. There I saw an amazing spectacle. There were hundreds of turtles nesting on the beach and laying eggs. This is why I named the island the Tortugas, which is Spanish for turtles. There was not much else on the island. I found no fresh water anywhere on the island and that is why I added the word dry to the front of the islands name so now it is the Dry Tortugas. I think that it is time I return to Spain to share my findings. I have not found the fountain of youth. But I have acquired much land and other things the king will enjoy. So I do not feel remorseful, my findings were bounteous and I will return to Spain a hero.


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