Kidd finally set sail for the Indian Ocean on 6th September 1696. On December 12 1696 in the early evening, Kidd was 100 miles northwest of Capetown. He had lost some of his sails in a storm and was making slow progress. He encountered a Royal Navy squadron off the Cape of Good Hope and requested new sails. When this was refused, he informed Commander Warren, who was leading the squadron, of his Royal Commission which entitled him to aid. Kidd threatened that if no help was offered, he would stop the first merchant ship he encountered and seize new sails. Following a heated argument, Warren, now highly suspicious of Kidd, threatened to impress 30 of Kidd's crew the following morning. Kidd could not afford to lose more crew, so in the middle of the night, he slipped away using his ship's oars until the squadron was out of sight. Fearful of being arrested for treason on the high seas, Kidd did not call into Capetown as he had originally planned, but continued his voyage on into the Indian Ocean.
In February 1697, Kidd called at the island of Mehila in the Comoros. Urgent repair work was needed on his ship after the long voyage from New York. It was here that Kidd lost 50 crew members to fever and disease within the space of a week. At this point, Kidd must have thought deeply about his situation. He had left London almost a year previously, and had still not taken a prize. The terms of his agreement required him to be back in Boston the following month with his booty! His provisions were running low and his crew, particularly the New York contingent, continually talked of piracy. With his ship repaired, and more crew members recruited to replace the crew who had died, Kidd set sail to the island of Joanna, where Nicholas Churchill claims to have joined Kidd's crew, and then headed north for the Malabar coast and mouth of the Red Sea (The Babs) on April 27 1697.
Site content (text and Images) are the property of Paul Hawkins - © All rights reserved
Site design and layout Copyright 2000/9 Paul Hawkins - All rights reserved
The Comoros Islands as shown on a 1649 map of the region