Necessary preparations for our sea voyage.

Since early morning I was so excited about my future adventure so I could barely share my breakfast with my beloved parents. Mother has noticed my impatience and Father finally released me from the table.

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Of course, all my thoughts now in the harbour and I was running there as thief runs from a nobleman who noticed he missing his bag of coins. Sun was already strong and traders already set their stalls on the streets.

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Finally, I run into the first man in the port and almost hit him to the ground. Without getting him understand what’s happened I demanded him to give me directions to my uncle’s flagman Santa Maria del Juncal. His angry face changed once he heard the name of the ship and he’s pointed there to go.

Sailors were busy loading goods onboard. It is good my uncle has a vast experience at sea as if I would think what to bring to this trip I definitely left behind most important things onshore.

Shipload included:

  • Tools and materials for ship repairs (including hammers, anvils, pickaxes, and spades; pulleys, needles, ropes, and twine; large quantities of canvas to repair sails; lumber to repair hull).
  • Cookware, mostly cauldrons, large bowls, and mess bowls
  • Fishing gear included chain hooks, cord, harpoons, and spears, and fishhooks.
  • Lanterns, ampolettas, hourglasses for ship boys to tell the time.
  • Goods for trade with locals once we reach our destination, which included in bracelets, small belts, mirrors, knives, scissors mostly made from brass and copper (rumors were telling indigenous people never seen such materials before). Coloured clothes, red hats, hair combs, and beads were also stocked.

Food supplies we are taking:

  • Salt pork
  • Couple hundreds of barrels of sardines
  • Couple hundreds of bundles of dry cod
  • Thousands of hardtack
  • Hundreds of casks of wine
  • Thousands of pounds of olive oil
  • Thousands of pounds of cheese
  • 5 cows and 5 pigs to slaughter
  • Hundreds of pounds of dried beans, onions, peas, honey, jam, figs, almonds, nuts, raisins, olives.

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I could not resist to help our expedition and jumped to help carry the load. Uncle was counting our stuff inside and once he saw me, his face smiled. I think it is a good sign and uncle see my passion towards big sea adventure.

Preparation for my greatest voyage to the New World for unbelievable adventures, uncounted fortunes and the greatest fame Spaniard​ could get.

On this day 18th June in the year of our Lord 1618, and I am beginning to write this diary about my voyage to the New World, seeking richness and fame, prosperity and of our Kingdom and spread the words of our Lord.

My name is Alvaro Velaskes and I am the third son of great merchant Basilio Velaskes, prosperous and well-known son of our mighty Kingdom. I am using English, as in the case it will appear in bad hands it would be hard to decrypt my messages. Not many people can read English in New Spain and not much in here. However, if you read these lines, the noble man (and I suppose you are noble as who else could read it), I am either on my deathbed or something bad happened to me.

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I was born in the 1598 year of our Lord in Valencia and through all my years I was supporting my father and elder brothers in trade, looking after stalls and was doing all kind of activities that would all young men do.

Fame and prosperity of our greatest men in New World were going rounds and rounds across the whole continent and even my mother always saw me as a good Catholic and one-day Archbishop or even a cardinal, my thoughts were always there.

Not the least but last, my uncle, who was a captain of a trade ship, had always new interesting and full of bravery stories about his travels around African continent, about his passages to Levant and other remote lands behind Mediterranean. My passion for the sea and new territories was growing as much as his stomach was filling with wine. Pirates, new nations, weird foods and incredible wild beasts encouraged me to beg him to take me with him on his next voyage.

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My whole family, except sisters and the eldest brother, were totally against any talks of me, taking a seaman career. As a third son, my destiny was to become a humble servant of the church of our Lord.

Everything changed a couple of months ago. My uncle just came back from his trade trip to Africa and, as usual came to pay a visit to my Father. While listening new stories and pouring the wine in their glasses I started my old song again and again. And a miracle happened and our Lord has heard my prays: as much wine was spilled on the floor and not less to my uncle’s and Father’s stomachs, the idea of getting me on-board of my Uncle’s fleet began to materialise in their heads.

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At the last, I told them that I could be a holy missionary and bring the words of our Lord to indigenous people of far lands and bring them from the darkness of paganism. Uncle liked the idea and told my father that at least I will have a chance to see myself what is like to be a seaman and once I understand the struggles I will come back and leave this idea forever and please my family becoming clergy.

My noble family expects this voyage will be my first and last sea adventure. Well, let see… To my greatest desire, my uncle revealed his plans for his next voyage where I will be able to show my guts and use all my experience. Tomorrow he set the sails to the New World! We have 5 ships fully loaded with salt meat, oranges, citruses and other stock. Besides that, we have loads of muskets, cannons and enough gunpowder to blow up the whole port of Valencia. We have 300 men and 40 horses.

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