Portola Expedition: Thursday, November 2, 1769

Day three at San Pedro Creek
California Historical Landmark No. 24

PHS WEB 37AerialPointSanPedroMontara - Copy.jpg

Miguel Costansó


Several of the soldiers requested permission to go hunting, as many deer had been seen. Some of them went quite a long way from the camp and reached the top of the hills so that they did not return until after nightfall. They said that to the north of the bay they had seen an immense arm of the sea or estuary, which extended inland as far as they could see, to the southeast; that they had seen some beautiful plains studded with trees; and that from the columns of smoke they had noticed all over the level country, there was no doubt that the land must be well populated with natives. This ought to confirm us more and more in the opinion that we were at the port of San Francisco, and that this was the estuary of which the pilot Cabrera Bueno spoke; we had seen its entrance between some ravines while descending the slope of the bay. In regard to this, in his sailing-directions, Cabrera Bueno uses the following words: "Through the middle ravine, an estuary of salt water enters without any breakers; coming in, you will find friendly Indians, and you will easily obtain fresh water and firewood." We also conjectured from these reports that the scouts could not have passed to the opposite side of the bay, as it was no mere three days' undertaking to make the detour rounding an estuary, the extent of which was greatly enlarged upon to us by the hunters.


Fray Juan Crespi


Today, All Souls' Day, we two celebrated Mass for the souls in Purgatory, and after Mass some of the soldiers asked permission to go out to hunt, for many deer have been seen. Some of them went quite a distance from the camp and climbed the hills, so that it was already night when they returned. They said that toward the north they had seen an immense arm of the sea, or an estuary, which penetrated into the land as far as the eye could reach, extending to the southeast that they had seen some beautiful plains well adorned with trees, and that the smokes which they saw in all directions left no doubt that the country was thickly populated with heathen villages. This report confirmed us still more in the opinion that we were on the port of Our Father San Francisco, and that the arm of the sea which they told us about was certainly the estuary of which the pilot Cabrera Bueno spoke, the mouth of which we had not seen because we went down to the harbor through a ravine. That pilot, speaking of it, uses these words: "Through the opening in the center enters an estuary of salt water without any breaking of the waves at all, and by going in one will find friendly Indians and can easily take on water and wood." We conjectured also from these reports that the explorers could not have crossed to the opposite shore which was seen to the north, and consequently, would not succeed in exploring the point which we judge to be that of Los Reyes, for it would be impossible in the three days that they were to be gone to make the detour that they would unavoidably have to make to round the estuary, whose extent the hunters represented as being very great.


November 1 Day two at San Pedro Creek
November 3 Day four at San Pedro Creek
Portola Expedition 1769 Diaries