Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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  Page 435  

AND WINDS IN THE INDIES             435

is extremely difficult and perilous, but during the two sea¬
sons it is veiy easy, pleasant, and safe, excepting only the
latter part of the South-wind season. It ought not, there¬
fore, to excite your surprise that the Indians, who are a very
timid people and ignorant of the art of navigation, under¬
take pretty long and important voyages ; such as from Ben¬
gale to Tanassery, Achem, Malacca, Siam, and Makascar, or to
Maslipatam, Ceylon, the Maldives, Moka, and
They are of course very careful to avail themselves of the
favourable Season for going and the favourable season for
returning. It often happens, however, that they are de¬
tained beyond the proper time, overtaken by bad weather,
and wrecked. This is indeed sometimes the case with
Europeans, although they be far better Sea-men, bolder
and more skilful, and the condition and equipment of
whose vessels are so greatly superior. Of the two inter¬
mediate Season,s, the one which follows the South wind is
without comparison the more dangerous, being much more
subject to storms and sudden squalls. That wind, even
during the season, is generally more impetuous and unequal
than the North wind. I must not omit to notice in this
place, that toward the end of the Season of the South-wind
and during the rains, although there be a perfect calm out
at sea, yet near the coast,s, for a distance of fifteen or twenty
leagues, the weather is extremely tempestuous. The cap¬
tains of European and other vessels should consequently be
careful to approach the coast of the Indies, that of Surate or
Maslipatam, for instance, just after the termination of the
rains; otherwise they incur great risk of being dashed on

Such is the order of the seasons in the Indies, so far at
least as my observations justify me in speaking upon the
subject. I wish it were in my power to trace every effect
to its true cause; but how is it possible to unravel these
profound secrets of Nature ! I have imagined, in the first
place, that the air by which our Globe is surrounded ought
to be considered one of its component parts, just as much
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