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Text on page 9
saw the North Star very low, and at the same time sighted the Southern Constellation, or Antarctic Pole, otherwise called the Croisade, from being composed of four stars in the form of a cross, though it is distant 27A from the Pole. Yet it is the nearest by which the pilots can be guided as to their latitude. Here you see a strange quantity of fish, about as big as those called mullet, which have wings like bats, by means of which, when pursued by the larger fish, they dart out of the water and fly a long way until their wings are dry. So, on the other hand, when they are in the air, the sea birds, of which there is a vast multitude, give them chase and catch them, unless they first regain the sea. Many of them fell on our ships, and when once they fall on something hard where there is no water, they cannot raise themselves again. Thus we got some fresh food (and much pleasure too in watching the chase), for this fish is delicate and good eating. But it was a marvellous sight to see in so deep sea and in this quarter so vast a number of fish, that wTe might say we saw the whole sea covered with them, and all in a turmoil, though it was calm.1 There were also big ones, such as bonitos and albachores,2 and many other kinds, of which we caught with lines enough to supply the ship; and porpoises too, with harpoons attached to pieces of wood, then lifting them by strength of arm. I have seen these flying fish everywhere near the line, both on this and on
1 For another description of the flying fish see Haivkins's Voyages, Hak. Soc., pp. 60, 152. Sir Richard Hawkins likens the pursuit to the chase as conducted by men: aThe dolphins and bonitoesare thehoundes, and the alcatraces (cormorants) the hawkes, and the flying fishes the game.a
2 Both kinds of tunny, and mentioned by nearly all voyagers. * The
word albacora, as it is written in Sp. and Port., is evidently Arabic.
Dozy and Engelmann, however, express themselves unable to trace it
in the Arabic dictionaries. It is probably el-bakra, u the cow-(fish)a7,
according to the common practice of naming marine animals after those
of the land.of the land.