Sunday, December 10, 1769
To the site of Monterey.



Gaspar de Portolá
The 10th of December, it having been decided that the December expedition should return to San Diego as appears from the report of the third conference which is enclosed, we traveled by the path over which we had come and covered the same distance that we had on the outward journey, which was two hours and a half travel. We halted at a swamp near the Punta de Pinos and the bay which, it was thought, might have been the Port of Monterey.

Miguel Costansó
Before leaving this bay we erected a cross upon the beach with an inscription cut on the wood which said: "Dig! At the foot thou wilt find a writing." This writing is hereinafter transcribed word for word.

"The land-expedition which set out from San Diego on July 14, 1769, under the command of the governor of California, Don Gaspar de Portolá, entered the Canal de Santa Bárbara on August 9; it passed the Punta de la Concepción on the 27th of the same month; and reached the foot of the Sierra de Santa Lucía on September 13; it entered this mountain range on the 17th of the same month; it completed the passage of the mountain range, going completely round it, on October 1; and on the same day came in sight of the Punta de Pinos. On the 7th of the same month, having already examined the Punta de Pinos, and the bays to the north and south of it, without finding any indications of the port of Monterey, it decided to go forward in search of the port. On October 30 the expedition came in sight of the Punta de los Reyes, and the seven Farallones of the port of San Francisco. The expedition endeavored to reach the Punta de los Reyes, but some immense estuaries, which extend inland an extraordinary distance, and which forced it to make a very wide circuit, and other difficulties (the greatest being the lack of provisions) made it necessary for the expedition to turn back, believing that the port of Monterey might possibly be found within the Sierra de Santa Lucía, and fearing that the port might have been passed without having been seen. The expedition turned back from the farthest point of the Estero de San Francisco on November 11; it passed the Punta de Año Nuevo on the 19th of the same month; and arrived again at this Punta and Ensenada de Pinos on the 27th of the same month. From that day to the present, December 9, the expedition was engaged in searching within the mountains for the port of Monterey, skirting the side towards the sea, in spite of its ruggedness, but in vain. Finally, now disappointed and despairing of finding the port, after so many endeavors, labors, and hardships, and without other provisions than fourteen sacks of flour, the expedition sets out to-day from this bay for San Diego. Pray thou Almighty God to guide it, and, sailor, may his Divine Providence take thee to a port of safety."

At this Ensenada de Pinos, on the 9th day of December, 1769.

Note: The engineer, Don Miguel Costansó, observed the latitude of various places along the coast, of which the following are the most important:
San Diego: at the camp on shore occupied by the expedition ... 32°42'
The eastermost native town on the Canal de Santa Bárbara ... 34°13'
La Punta de la Concepción ... 34°30'
The beginning of the Sierra de Santa Lucía towards the south ... 35°45'
Its end at this bay of the Punta de Pinos ... 36°36'
La Punta de Año Nuevo, which is low and composed of reefs. ... 37°04'
Inland near the port of San Francisco, having the Farallones west by north ... 37°35'
I estimate the Punta de los Reyes, which stood to the west-north-west from the same place, as ... 37°44'

The commanders of the packets, whether the San Joseph or El Príncipe, are requested, that if within a few days after the date of the writing they should land on this shore, and inform themselves of its contents, and of the unhappy circumstances of the expedition, they should sail close to the shore, and follow it to San Diego, so that if the expedition should have the good fortune to catch sight of one of the two vessels, and should be able, by means of signals made by flags or gunshots, to indicate the place where the expedition may be, it might aid them with provisions, if that were possible. May God be glorified.

We set out on the march, the weather being clear and cold. We proceeded for a league and a half, and pitched our camp on the other side of the Punta de Pinos. We travelled for a league and a half.

Fray Juan Crespi
We two said Mass with all the men present. The day having dawned very clear, the commander decided to start, but that first a large holy cross which had been made for the purpose should be set up. On it were inscribed these words: "Dig at the foot and you will find a letter," so that if any of the packets should arrive in this vicinity it would get news of the land expedition, and in accordance with it, would decide to return to San Diego. The letter, which was buried in a bottle at the foot of the cross, copied literally, ran in this manner: THE LETTER BURIED AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS '' The land expedition which left San Diego on the 14th of July, 1769, by order of the governor of California, Don Gaspar de Portola, entered the channel of Santa Barbara on the 9th day of August, passed Point Concepcion on the 27th of the same month; arrived at the foot of Sierra de Santa Lucia on the 13th of September; entered that range on the 17th of the same month; finished crossing the range or completely rounding it on the 1st of October; observed on the same day the Point of Pines and the bays to the north and south of it, without seeing any signs of the harbor of Monterey, and resolved to go on in search of it. On the 30th of October it came in sight of the point of Los Reyes and the farallones of the port of San Francisco, seven in number. The expedition attempted to reach Point Eeyes, but some immense estuaries which penetrate extraordinarily into the land made it necessary to make a very long detour. And there were other difficulties, the greatest being the lack of provisions, which made it necessary to return, thinking that the harbor of Monterey might perhaps be within the mountains and that the expedition had passed it without seeing it. It started on the return from the head of the estuary of San Francisco on the 11th of November; passed Point Aiio Nuevo on the 19th of the same month, and again arrived at this Point and Bay of Pines on the 27th of the same month. From that day until the present 9th of December it has made efforts to find the harbor of Monterey within the range, skirting it by the shore, in spite of its ruggedness, but in vain. At last, disappointed and despairing of finding it after such efforts and labors, with no provisions except fourteen sacks of flour, the expedition set out to-day from this bay for San Diego. It prays the All-Powerful God to guide it, and that His Divine Providence may lead thee, sailor, to the port of salvation. At the Bay of Pines, December 9th, 1769."

NOTE
"Engineer Don Miguel Constanzo observed the latitude of several places on the coast, the following being the principal ones:
"San Diego, in the camp occupied by the land expedition, thirty-two degrees and forty-two minutes.
"The most eastern town of heathen on the channel of Santa Barbara, thirty-four degrees and thirteen minutes.
"Point Concepcion, thirty-four degrees and thirty minutes.
"The beginning of Sierra de Santa Lucia, thirty-five degrees and forty-five minutes.
"The end of the range at this bay of the Point of Pines, thirty-six degrees and thirty-six minutes.
'' The point of Afio Nuevo, which is low with rocky reefs, is in thirty-seven degrees and four minutes.
"On land near the harbor of San Francisco, having the farallones west by north, thirty-seven degrees and thirty-five minutes.
"The point of Los Reyes, which was seen to the west-northwest from the same place, thirty-seven degrees and forty-four minutes.

"The commanders of the packets, whether it be the San Jose or El Principe, are begged, if within a few days from the date of this writing they land on this beach, after learning its contents and the sad state of the expedition, to endeavor to keep close to the shore and follow it to San Diego, so that if the expedition should have the good fortune to sight one of the two ships, and by signals with banners or gunshots could make them understand where it is, it would be possible to succor it with provisions. "Blessed be God. The cross was planted on a hill on the edge of the beach of the little bay which lies to the south of the Point of Pines, and at the foot of it the letter was buried. "On the other bay, made by the Point of Pines and the other point, which is judged to be Ano Nuevo, where the sand dunes and a lagoon are, they set up another large cross, and on its arm they carved with a knife these words: 'The land expedition is returning to San Diego for lack of provisions, today, December 9,1769,' so that if any bark should touch in the other large bay it might serve to guide them." These measures concluded, we set out from this bay today, December 10,1769, traveled a league and a half, and halted on the other side of the Point of Pines.


December 9 Day twelve at San Jose Creek, where it flows into Carmel Bay.
December 11 To the Salinas River, below Old Hilltown (Sept. 30).