Original Document
Original Document
David Peterson De Vries, On the multitude of fish in the Delaware River, 1633.

The 14th, at night, it began to rain hard, and the wind was from the south-west, which made it warm. In the morning we had high water, which caused the yacht to float finely. We loosened the rope from the tree, to which it had been made fixst, in order to get from the yacht, because the shore was so bold there, and let her drift into the river. As the ice was already very soft, like snow, we resolved not to wait for the lndians, as they had been driven away, and could not assist us in those things for which we had come, so that it was a hopeless voyage for us.
Going down the river, we arrived below the Minqua's kill, where we took in some stone for ballast, which we could not obtain elsewhere in the morning. This is a very fine river, and the land all beautifully level, full of groves of oak, hickory, ash, and chestnut trees, and also vines which grow upon the trees. The river has a great plenty of fish, the same as those in our fatherland, perch, roach, pike, sturgeon, and similar fish. Along the sea-coast are codfish, the different kinds of fish which are in our fatherland, and others. After we had taken in some ballast, we went further down the river, and came to its mouth. We fished once with our seines, and caught in one draught as many as thirty men could eat of perch, roach, and pike.
The 20th, we weighed our anchor, and with a northwest wind sailed out of the bay, which is ten miles long, and so wide, that in the middle of it you can hardly see from one shore to the other. It is full of shoals on both sides, being from six to seven fathoms deep, but is deepest on the west side. In order to run up by soundings, as you come from sea to Cape Hinloopen, which lies in thirty-eight degrees and twenty minutes, the shoal of the bank, which stretches from Cape Hinloopen over the bay, reaches Cape May, and when  you have passed this a mile and a half, and come into the river, so that Cape Hinloopen is south of you, run in then north-west along the west shore, and you will be out of danger of the banks, and keep the west side, where you should keep sounding. If it be less than two fathoms, and if the ship he a large one, you must go direct to the South River.
When you come to the mouth of the river, where it is full two miles wide, there is a shoal before it, on which, at low tide, there is not more than six or seven feet of water. You must then put the helm a-starboard, and you will see a rough point ahead on the west side, along which you must hold your course ; and there it is deep enough, the water being three and a half fathoms at low tide, but inside, in the river, it is six or seven fathoms. The tide rises and falls here from five to six feet. By evening, we arrived again at the ship, in which there was great rejoicing to see us, as we had been gone over a month. They did not imagine that we had been frozen up in the river, as no pilot or astrologer could conceive, that in the latitude from the thirty-eighth and a half to the thirty-ninth, such rapid running rivers could freeze.
Some maintain that it is because it lies so far west ; others adduce other reasons ; but I will tell how it can be, from experience and what I have seen, and that is thus : inland, stretching towards the north, there are high mountains, covered with snow, and the north and north-west winds blow over the land from these cold mountains, with a pure, clear air, which causes extreme cold and frost, such as is felt, in Provence and Italy, which I have often experienced when I was at Geneva, when the wind blew over the land from the high mountains, making it as cold as it was in Holland.
I have found, by experience, in all countries, during winter, that when the wind blows from the land, the hardest frost makes. It is so in New Netherland also, for as soon as the wind is south-west, it is so warm that they may go almost naked in the woods, with only a shirt on them.

Credit: David Peterson De Vries, Voyages from Holland to America, A.D. 1632 to 1644. translated by Henry C. Murphy (New York: 1853), 43-6.  
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