To Juan Fernandez

After a lengthy but indecisive engagement with a well-armed French vessel, the St-Joseph both ships worked along the South American mainland towards Callao in search of prizes, but pickings were slim. 

Things picked up after an unsuccessful raid on the Panamanian gold mining town of Santa María when they took the Asunción, a heavily laden merchantman, and Selkirk would have been put in charge of the prize. 

Dampier, however, took off some much-needed provisions and flour and abruptly set the ship free, arguing that she gain was not worth keeping. 

Dampier's persistent indecision and inconsistency caused such friction between the two commanders and when they decided to part company in May 1704 Selkirk elected to remain with Stradling.

The Cinque Ports continued to cruise off the coast of Central and South America until August, then moved back to Juan Fernandez in September. At that point, a hurried refit convinced Selkirk that the vessel was unseaworthy and he declared he would leave the ship there rather than sail any further in her. 

Selkirk left with 'his Clothes and Bedding, with a Firelock, some Powder, Bullets, and Tobacco, a Hatchet, a Knife, a Kettle, a Bible, some practical Pieces, and his Mathematical Instruments and Books' but seems to have had second thoughts on his way ashore. Stradling, however, refused to allow him back on board. 


© Ian Hughes 2017