Part of a Letter from the Viceroy of Mexico
to the King of Spain dated September 24, 1559


The fleet which went to colonize La Florida and the Punta de Santa Elena set out from the port of San Juan de Ulua on June 11. It sailed with fair mild winds for seventeen days, at the end of which time they were in the [longitude] of the Rio del Espiritu Santo some twenty leagues to the south of it, in latitude 27 15"; from there they sailed six days to the southeast, south-southeast, and south, until they came upon Los Alacranes [which lie] north-east by [southwest] in 27, [they being] to the southwest of them.

From there they took another tack toward the northeast in quest of the coast of La Florida. At the end of eight days, it being then the eve of the Visitation of Santa Isabel, they sighted the coast of La Florida in 29 :30' [north] latitude eight leagues to the westward from the Bahfa de Miruelo. 'T'here the fleet cast anchors, and they took on water, wood, and grass. There they experienced some trouble from the severe weather that came on.

From that place the fleet set sail on July 17 in quest of the port of Ochuse, sending a frigate in advance to explore along the coast. As the pilot who was in the frigate did not recognize the port of Ochuse, the fleet sailed past it and went on, to anchor in the Bahia Filipina, which was discovered by Guido de las Bazares. Thence the governor, Don Tristhn de Arellano, sent in search of the port of Ochuse, as he had information that it was the best port and the most secure one there was on all that coast.

A frigate, sailing eastward along the same coast along which the fleet had come, found the port of Ochuse, which is some twenty leagues from the Bahia Filipina, and thirty-five leaves more or less from the Bahia de Miruelo, so that it is between these two in 30 20" latitude. When the frigate returned with the news, they at once decided to go thither with the fleet, and because it seemed best that the horses should go by land, they were taken ashore at the Bahia Filipina, and some of the companies also went by land to the said port of Ochuse with about one hundred and forty horses which remained from the more than two hundred and forty they took, for the rest had died at sea.

At the entrance to this Bahfa Filipina where Guido had been, the fleet had some difficulty on account of the shallow bottom as well as of the strong current, and of the weather, which freshened. The fleet set out from this Bahia Filipina for the port of Ochuse on the day of our Lady of August, for which reason they gave the bay the name of Santa Maria Filipina. It is one of the best ports to be found in the discovered part of the Indies; the lowest water it has at the entrance is eleven cubits, and inside it has from seven to eight fathoms. It is a very spacious port and has a width of three leagues fronting the spot where the Spaniards now are.

The entrance over the bar is half a league wide, and has very good marks at the entrance, there being a reddish ravine at the eastern side, dividing the bay. The ships can anchor in four or five fathoms a crossbow shot from land. The port is so secure that no wind can do them any damage at all. There were some few Indian huts, which seemed to be for fishermen. The country is apparently very good. It has many walnuts, grapes, other trees, which bear fruit, and much forest, much game and wild fowl, and many fish of numerous varieties and good. They also found a cornfield.



Locating Luna's Port of Ochuse