Gumilla having gone but little above the confluence of the Meta, it is not surprising that he had no knowledge of the bifurcation of the Orinoco, which is found by the sinuosities of the river to be one hundred and twenty leagues distant from the Raudal of Tabaje.
He asserts that, having several times gone up the former of these rivers as far as the Raudal of Tabaje, situate in the latitude of 1 degree 4 minutes, he never saw a river flow in or out that could be taken for the Rio Negro.
It is surprising that their existence was not known to D'Anville, who, in his fine map of South America, marks the inconsiderable cascades of Marimara and San Borja, by the names of the rapids of Carichana and Tabaje. The Great Cataracts divide the Christian establishments of Spanish Guiana into two unequal parts.
The Indians remained rowing in the boat, without towing or pushing it forward with their arms, and wearying us with their wild cries. We passed the Canos of Uita and Endava on the west. It was night when we reached the Raudal de Tabaje.
From similar motives, which must appear very chimerical to the naturalists of Europe, the Jesuits Olmo, Forneri, and Mellis, removed a village of Jaruros to three different spots, between the Raudal of Tabaje and the Rio Anaveni.
I waited the appearance of the stars in vain: the sky was exceedingly black; and the hoarse sounds of the cascades of the Orinoco mingled with the rolling of the distant thunder. Early in the morning of the 13th April we passed the rapids of Tabaje, and again disembarked. Father Zea, who accompanied us, desired to perform mass in the new Mission of San Borja, established two years before.
He was in error by more than 5 degrees 10 minutes of latitude; for I found, by observation, at the mission of Atures, thirteen leagues south of the rapids of Tabaje, the latitude to be 5 degrees 37 minutes 34 seconds.
After having passed the rapids of Tabaje, and the Raudal of Cariven, near the mouth of the great Rio Meta, we arrived without accident at Carichana. The missionary received us with that kind hospitality which he extended to us on our first passage.