N. to the equinoctial; in which
parts they suffer so much by extreme heats and want of wind, that they
think themselves happy when past it.
Sometimes the ships stand quite
still and becalmed for many days, and sometimes they go on, but in such
a manner that they had almost as good stand still. The atmosphere on the
greatest part of this coast is never clear, but thick and cloudy, full
of thunder and lightening, and such unwholesome rain, that the water on
standing only a little while is full of animalculae, and by falling on
any meat that is hung out, fills it immediately with worms.
All along that coast, we oftentimes saw a thing swimming in the water
like a cocks comb but much fairer, which they call a _Guinea ship_.
It is borne up in the water by a substance almost like the swimming
bladder of a fish in size and colour, having many strings from it under
water, which prevent it from being overturned. It is so poisonous, that
one cannot touch it without much danger. On this coast, between the
sixth degree of north latitude and the equator, we spent no less than
thirty days either in calms or contrary winds. The 30th of May we
crossed the line with great difficulty, directing our course as well as
we could to pass the promontory, but in all that gulf of Guinea,
and all the rest of the way to the Cape, we found such frequent calms
that the most experienced mariners were much astonished.
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