About some springs in general and about one specific spring located at sea, to the west of this island, close to the island of Navaça.

Translated by Kendal Simmons ’23

On this topic of springs, lakes, and rivers, there is a lot to be said and no matter how much I write, it will not be as much as Pliny wrote in the second book of his Natural History[1] or Isidore in his treatise Ethymologies, De diversitate aquarum[2]. I could very well write a whole book on the subject, and it would be neither the briefest of those from my Natural and General History of the Indies nor any less deserving of admiration. As with other provinces and islands, in the course of this history, I have written some things about these springs in specific places. I will do the same in the second and third volumes, where the Mainland is discussed, as there is no need to have a specific book for this single topic. In Book II, Chapter IX, I write about a marvelous spring and tree on the island of Fierro (Meridian Island), which is one of the Canary Islands. In Chapter VIII of Book XVII, I write about a spring of bitumen that exists on the island of Cuba or Fernandina. And, in Chapter II of Book XIX, I write about another spring of bitumen or liqueur that exists on the island of Cubagua, also known as the Pearl Islands. Each one of these springs is marvelous and very notable in its own way. Now, I will speak about another spring that is at sea, close to the island Navaça, to the west of Hispaniola, which fits in very well with this sixth book of repositories. This island, Navaça, is a deserted and small island along the route between Hispaniola and Jamaica (alias Santiago). It stands at about twelve leagues from both of these islands, which is about eighteen and a half degrees from the equinox. At sea, half a league from Navaça, there are certain shallows. Within those shallows and underneath the water, looking at the seafloor with the naked eye, a stream or channel of fresh water emerges from the depths of the saltwater and rises above it (which is something to behold and marvel at, as it is one of nature’s rarest phenomena). This stream or jet of water is wider than a man’s arm, and it rises so far above the saltwater that it can easily be grabbed. Although I have not seen it for myself, when I wrote this, an honorable citizen of this city, our neighbor, and a credible, wise man named Esteban de la Roca testified to have seen this water and been on par with it, even having drunk from it. He was one of the men to whom they gave much credit in these parts, and he passed from this life after the first part of this Natural History of the Indies was printed. In 1541, the year in which he passed, I was informed of many similar (or almost similar) springs around Navaça that surface from deep within the sea, piercing the saltwater and bursting above it. The reader can find this subject discussed at length in the treatise about matters concerning the governorate and provinces of Yucatan, in Chapter II of Book XXXII. They are very notable things, which I have talked about here. There are more details ahead about the sources of these springs and of the others that were mentioned above.

[1] Plin., book II, chapter 2

[2] Isid., book XIII, chapter 13