This furnishes a sufficient proof of the strength of the current in the Bahama channel; for it will be remembered that he ran over to Cuba with a fair wind. After contending for four days, until the 24th November, with light winds against the force of these currents, he arrived at length opposite the level island whence he had set out the week before when going to Babeque.

On Monday the 19th, he resumed his voyage for the island, afterwards named Hispaniola, which some of the Indians called Bohio, and others Babeque; yet it afterwards appeared that Babeque was not Hispaniola, but the continent, for they called it Caribana . The Indian word Bohio signifies a house or habitation; and as that term was applied to the island of Hispaniola, it seemed to denote that it was full of Bohios or houses.

All told we found enough to whet appetite. But still the Indians said south, and Babeque and Bohio! At last we had sailed to the very eastern end of Cuba and turned it as we might turn the heel of Italy. A great spur that ran into the ocean the Admiral dubbed Alpha and Omega, and we planted a cross. It fell to me here to save the Admiral's life.

When the dawn broke sullenly we were beaten back to Cuba, and a great promontory against which truly we might have been dashed stood to our north and shut out coast of yesterday. Here we hung a day and night, and then the wind lulling and the sea running not so high, we made again for that island which might be Babeque.

Five hundred Indians met him, accompanied by their king, a fine young man of about twenty years of age. He had around him several counselors, one of whom appeared to be his tutor. To the steady questions where gold could be found, the reply as steady was made that it was in "the Island of Babeque." This island, they said, was only two days off, and they pointed out the route.

The wind having shifted to north, which was contrary to the course they had been steering, the vessels bore up and returned to Rio de Mares. On the 12th of November the ships sailed out of Rio de Mares to go in quest of Babeque, an island believed to abound in gold, and to lie E. by S. from that port.

If they talked about gold he would listen to them; and so the cacique brought him a piece of gold the size of his hand and, breaking it into pieces, gave it to him a bit at a time. This the Admiral took to be sign of great intelligence. They told him there was gold at Tortuga, but he preferred to believe that it came from Babeque, which may have been Jamaica and may have been nothing at all.

If they talked about gold he would listen to them; and so the cacique brought him a piece of gold the size of his hand and, breaking it into pieces, gave it to him a bit at a time. This the Admiral took to be sign of great intelligence. They told him there was gold at Tortuga, but he preferred to believe that it came from Babeque, which may have been Jamaica and may have been nothing at all.

The identity of this port with the one now known as Neuvitas el Principe seems certain, from the description of its entrance, Columbus, it appears, did not visit its interior. On the 19th November the ships sailed again, in quest of Babeque.

Sailing from Puerto Santo or Baracoa on the 4th of December, he reached the extremity of Cuba the following day, and striking off upon a wind to the S.E. in search of Babeque, which lay to the N.E., he came in sight of Bohio, to which he gave the name of Hispaniola. On taking leave of Cuba, Columbus tells us that he had coasted it a distance of 120 leagues.