July 7, 1497: I am starting this log before I set sail tomorrow so I can record many of the things that have happened prior to now. I have been given the responsibility of four ships, the Sao Gabriel, Sao Rafael, Berrio, and a supply ship. These ships have been given to me by the order of King Manuel I. The King has ordered me to find a water route from Portugal to India. Along with these four ships, King Manuel I has assigned me 170 men, mainly middle class to lower class people, not including myself, to go on this voyage. Our first stop on our tip will be at the Cape Verde Islands, where we will restock on supplies the we will need for the trip to Cape of Good Hope. To get to the cape we will be traveling far away from the coast to escape the winds and waves created by the shores. To navigate this far away from land I, along with another pilot, will be navigating the journey using a compass, an astrolabe, and astronomical charts. I cannot make an estimate on how long I feel the trip will last, for I have not a clue how far India is away from the Cape of Good Hope. Now I must get sleep, for I will be to excited for any rest tomorrow, so I will close the first entry in my journal praying for good weather tomorrow.
July 8, 1497: This morning the crew loaded the food and supplies upon the boat. I saw them loading the exact things I ordered. Some of these things were beer and water. I was hoping to bring wine, but my advisors warned me that the wine would turn into vinegar once exposed to the heat we would be entering. Once my advisors told me that it would also be a bad idea to bring along fruits and vegetables. Along with the beer and water, I also saw the crew take the meats, breads, and cheeses onboard. After making sure all of the supplies got onboard, I made one trip from bow to stern of each ship, double checking that everything made it aboard safely. Finally we set sail from Port Tagus, in Portugal, on a journey to India.
August 2, 1497: Today the crew and I have reached the Cape Verde Islands. The trip so far has been better than one could expect. There has been good weather, and showing from the barometer we can expect good weather for the next couple of days. The crew has been very disciplined on the first trip. Everyone has done exactly what they have been assigned to do. For entertainment after the crew gets drunk they meet around the amidships and sing songs together. The crew has stayed unexpectedly pleasant and contempt. I feel this will all change once the beer supply starts running low. The food has stayed very well preserved. I have had a very well rounded diet of meats, cheeses, and beer, for most of my meals. The crew seems fine with their daily diet of meat and beer. After we get done restocking the ship, we will be back on the path to India.
August 9, 1497: Our stay here on the Cape Verde Islands has been very pleasant. The people have given us what we need to move on, and the crew has been again unexpectedly kind to the natives here. We restocked on all of our supplies, especially the cheeses and meats. After we thank the people we will be shipping off into the Atlantic on a course for adventure.
September 15, 1497: Much of the food has now become rancid. The meats have become rotten, the butter has gone bad, and beer has run out. For the past week, and I expect until we reach land the crew and I will be eating a strict diet of sauerkraut, hardtack, and algae plagued water. I feel that it had been a bad decision sailing away from the coast, for there is no land in sight to restock on all of our supplies. As I had expected form earlier, the crew has become more dreadful since the beer has ran out, and I have heard rumors of a possible revolt by the crew members against me and my staff. The only good that has come from this voyage so far has been the very good weather we have experienced so far.
November 4, 1497: The rumors of the revolt had been proven false, from what I have seen the crew has had no intention of going against my power, or any of my inferiors power. We have been eating the same diet for the past two months. I feel my sense of taste has dissolved. The crew looks depressed, there hasnít been a singing get together for over a month. A slight few of the members have become a little senile, but after a day of rest, they are ready return to their same tiring duties. The spirits of the crew have become slightly uplifted once we started seeing a few birds fly over the ship. this has brought my spirits up greatly, for by using dead reckoning I believe we will be seeing land within the next week.
November 8, 1497: Yesterday was a day for great joy, we have finally reached the Cape of Good Hope. Once the port of the ship was pulled up to the dock at St. Helenaís Bay, much of the crew ran to get a taste of fresh water once again. After the crew had returned from getting water I ordered them to restock on all supplies. That night we sang and danced merrily, we had a huge feast, and for the first night in a long while we slept with full stomachs. Today we double checked on all of our supplies and set sail ready to take on the voyage of becoming the first Europeans to round the Cape of Good Hope and sail north towards India. The crews spirits had been restored, along with their strength, and I can feel that it will be smooth sailing from here unto India.
November 22, 1947: Today we have rounded the Cape of Good Hope and are all very excited to see how long it will take us to reach India. We must now sail close to the coast until we reach India. For we have now entered into unmapped territories, and none of us have a clue as to what obstacles we will encounter ahead of us. It has been strange throughout the voyage so far, we have traveled such a great distance, and have had no bad fortune in the weather. It has been almost clear skies throughout the entire journey. Some of the crew has said that all good fortune must end abruptly, and with the good fortune we have had so far, if this is true, we will experience a great catastrophe soon.
December 20, 1497: This past week has been terrible. We have been trying to travel up the coast of Africa, but the winds have been pushing us backwards. I feel we havenít moved more than a mile in the past week. I guess this could be the misfortune the crew believed would happen to us. I feel though in this past day the winds might be letting up some, allowing us to move more north. I have told the crew to pray for better weather for tomorrow, or we might have to dock, and wait for the winds to clear, which would push our food supply lower than it already is from this setback.
January 21, 1498: After our terrible delay, involving the weather, we have finally reached an African port, in the city of Mozambique. Here is where we have decided to pay an Arab pilot to help us navigate the rest of the way to India. The crew has stayed quiet for the past month, I believe itís because of the strange natives we have been seeing along the coast. Along with my crew, I believe the inhabitants of this land are rather eerie also. (Passage written in Vasco da Gamaís actual journal) "The inhabitants of this country are tawny-colored. Their food is confined to the flesh of seals, whales and gazelles, and the roots of herbs. They are dressed in skins, and wear sheaths over their virile members. They are armed with poles of olive wood to which a horn, browned in the fire, is attached. Their numerous dogs resemble those of Portugal, and bark like them. The birds of the country, likewise, are the same as in Portugal, and include cormorants, gulls, turtle doves, crested larks, and many others."
April 2, 1498: After stopping in a busy trading center of Mobasa, where we were not welcome we decided to travel away from the coast, for a faster route to India. It has only been two days since we have left the sight of shore, and already some of the crew members are questioning the knowledge of the Arab pilot. The food has stayed stable, for we have learned how to rationalize it from our first travel through the Atlantic. With the constant flow of food throughout the ship, a good portion of the crew have stayed happy with their duties upon the ship.
May 17, 1498: Since the departure from shore our speed has increased greatly. From the results of the chip log and reel, I have learned that we have been traveling almost twice the speed we were traveling while along the coast. I have also told some of the crew members that from the wind, waves, bird sightings, and current, I can tell we are getting close to land. With this realization, excitement runs through my veins thinking of being the first European to reach India by land will be an achievement alongside that of Christopher Columbusí. I might even get a public holiday named after myself, "Da Gama Day."
May 20, 1498: This morning we anchored along the coast of India, the Arab pilot told me we have landed in a city called Calicut. Once I came upon the shore I was taken to the ruler of Calicut, where I showed him my objects of great beauty and fortune, the mirrors and glass pearls I was told by King Manuel I to trade for their wonderful spices. The ruler didn't seem very impressed by my items, but I feel after a day or two of bargaining I will be able to make a deal with him.
August 29, 1498: Today we started our voyage home from India. Along with me I have five new guests, all from India. I wasnít planning on taking them when I first arrived, it just sort of happened. When I first arrived in Calicut, as I had wrote earlier I was taken to the ruler of India, as I had found out later, his name was Samudrin Raja. Well, after being taken to the ruler, I tried to trade my mirrors and beautiful glass pearls, but the ruler told me he only traded for precious stones, pearls, and other spices. For the next month I tried strenuously to trade my items for their spices. The trading did not go as I had expected it would. The Indians were stubborn about trading their spices away. Finally about a week ago I just got to frustrated with their stubbornness, and had to result to violence. I took five hostages upon by boat, and made the Indians trade their spices for my wonderful items. After taking the spices and not giving back the hostages our crew set sail for home.
December 16, 1498: We have finally reached the city of Mobasa again, and it has taken us twice as long, for this time we are traveling against the wind, instead of with it. From this great delay we have been eating hardtack, oatmeal, sauerkraut, and algae infested water again for the past week. The crew has been constantly complaining since we have left India. Things have seemed to take a turn for the worse ever since we have left India, maybe this is the bad luck some of the crew had predicted previously in our voyage. I hope this is the worse it gets.
January 14, 1499: Today has truly been a terrible day. Today we had to burn the Sao Rafael for lack of crew members. For the past two weeks or so my brother has been complaining that his crew has been telling him that they feel very weak. I told him this would most likely go away soon. Then he started telling me that his men had been dying. I believed there must have been something in their ships water, so I gave them a barrel of ours. The deaths kept piling up. I had no clue why(found later to be scurvy). The remaining crew stopped only for a short while to pay our respect to the deaths aboard the ship for we knew we must hurry home so we can get out of this nightmare of a journey. I don't think it can get any worse than this.
March 30, 1499: Iíve got to stop jinxing myself. This has had to have been the worst possible past few day as I could have encountered. Just as the crew (only three ships now) had sailed away from the Cape of Good Hope we encountered a giant storm. This storm had separated all three of the ships, and now my crew is all alone, I hope all of the other ships can make it home safely. From past experience of sailing away from the shore I believe this time I will travel along the coast, so whenever we need to restock on food and supplies we can. I wonder what the other two ships are doing? I wonder if they are going to travel along the coast, or take the long risky route we took earlier? Well I will just pray that they are all right.
August 3 1499: We have reached the Cape Verde Islands today, and as we restock, we look back and remember how only one year ago we were just beginning our journey into the unknown, and now that we have returned everyone will be able to travel to India. Spices will now be on everyoneís dinner table. Ok, that might be stretching it, but itís a start. I look back and remember the hard ships the crew encountered on the journey. Also I look back and remember all of the dead bodies laying on the deck and hanging off the gunwales of the Sao Rafael. And finally I look back and remember the terrible storm that separated my ship from the other two, I pray now, as I have every night since the storm, that they have made it back safely.
September 9, 1499: Today the entire country of Portugal rejoiced in honor of my return. For today my one ship crew and I have returned to Port Tagus. We were greeted by King Manuel I as soon as we set foot on shore. As I shook hands with the King I could see all of my men running to their families in great joy. I handed the few spices to King Manuel I and was then welcomed to a feast at the castle in my honor. At the feast everyone was partying as if it were 500 years later. After the diner I had to tell the entire story of my travel over again to all the members of the palace. As I finish this last entry in my journal I wonder if I will return to India, for now that it is accessible to all European sailors.