By Martha Vail

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Additional resources for Exploring the Pacific, Revised Edition (Discovery & Exploration)

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A large mass of land was sighted. Schouten worried that there was no passage to the Pacific besides the Strait of Magellan, but the Eendracht rounded a rocky headland that Le Maire named for the lost ship, Cape Hoorn. ” As the Eendracht sailed farther into the Pacific during May, its crew saw a great vaa-taie, a double-hulled canoe. They followed it to its home island, Tafahi in Tonga. From Tonga, the expedition sailed 1,000 miles (1,609 km) below the equator and anchored off Futuna and Alofi. The men of the Eendracht rested two weeks on the islands, trading European goods for food and water.

The Spanish were convinced that a strait had to exist in the New World’s southern hemisphere. Geographers and cartographers agreed. Globes constructed by the German geographer Johannes Schöner in 1515 and 1520 indicated that such a strait might exist between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Such bold conjecture would prove to be right. MAGELLAN’S VOYAGE: FROM PORTUGAL TO SPAIN In 1515, a Portuguese soldier, Fernão de Magalhães drew up a plan for reaching the Spice Islands from the west. He had heard about the recent discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Balboa and believed that the Spice Islands were within a few days’ sail of South America.

Their spirits were lightened by the warm trade winds that guided the ships into the Pacific. “Well was it named Pacific, for during this period we met with no storms,” recorded Pigafetta. Because no Europeans had ever sailed these waters, they had no maps. The ships meandered west without sighting a single island. Pilot Francisco Albo recorded the armada’s route. His notes make it clear that slight variations in their course would have led the ships to the Marquesas or to Tahiti. A month out from the strait, men began to die of hunger and disease.

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