The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918 Page: 108
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
gators makes them very apprehensive of being engaged with the
land."2 A further deterrent was the dense pall of fog that so
often hung over the land, concealing reefs and headlands, and
which has accounted for so many lost ships in our own time.
The wrecking of the San Agustin near Point Reyes, and the nar-
row escape of the Espiritu Santo and the Jesus Maria from de-
struction near Cape Mendocino were effective reminders of the
perils of the upper coast.3
The most serious lacuna in the exploration of the coast be-
tween Mendocino and San Lucas,-the failure to discover San
Francisco Bay,-was doubtless due in part to the fog curtain
which so often obscures the mouth of the bay. However, a more
potent reason must have been the fact that the entrance is flanked
to the north by Point Reyes, and guarded in front by the Faral-
lones. Fear of complication with these and with the reefs that
might lie behind the Farallones drove the Spanish pilots farther
to seaward and outside the latter islets. And, in view of the
southeasterly trend of the coast below Point Reyes, the more
direct course for the galleons was actually the one pursued to the
right of the Farallones.
Furthermore, the instructions carried by the galleons discour-
aged any departure from the routine track; and a too inquisitive
pilot or captain, who would deviate from the beaten path to ex-
plore the land to his left, was prevented by the fear that his
curiosity would be invoked against him in the residencia which
was taken at the conclusion of the voyage.4 After all, these were
preeminently merchant ships, and the business of exploration lay
outside their field, though chance discoveries were welcomed.5
2A Voyage Round the World in the Years MDGXL, I, II, III, IV, 335.
3For the case of the San Agustin see below; for the other galleons
see Morga, Sucesos, in B. and R., XVI, 28.
4Las instrucciones que se dan a los Generales de los Galeones de esta
carrera de la Nueva Espaia, o a los que les subcedan en el cargo para
que las guarden, cumplan y executen, hagan cumplir y guardar a todos los
oficiales, pasageros, Gente de Mar y Guerra en el discurso del Viage en
ida, estada y buelta, 1743, Archivo de Indias, 68-6-38; and Arandia,
Ordenanzas de Marina, 1757,
""Si el Bagel tomare puerto en parage poco conocido por algun acaso o
necesidad, procurara sacar su plano, si es posible. . . . Y recalando
siempre sobre las costas de California, o si por accident fuera otra la
que se viere, notard todo lo que reconozca de particular de las corrientes.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918, periodical, 1918; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/m1/114/: accessed May 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.