4 November 1497
The Portuguese expedition set off from the Tagus River on 8 July 1497 with a crew of 148 men in a squadron of three square-riggers, the Sao Gabriel, the Sao Raphael, the Berrio, and a supply ship. The commander-in-chief, Vasco da Gama embarked on the Sao Gabriel accompanied by his pilot, Pedro de Alenquer. Vasco's brother, Paulo, captained the Sao Raphael. For almost four months they sailed across the Atlantic without sight of land until, on *4 November 1497, they reached a bay (current day St Helena). Vasco da Gama named the bay Bahai da Santa Elena (St Helena Bay), after the Religious Mother of Constantine the Great. Close to, or near the mouth of the Berg River, the explorers set in to make repairs, look for water, and check their position. It was here that they had their first encounter with the Khoikhoi. A misunderstanding arose between them, and fearing attack, the Khoikhoi threw spears, wounding Da Gama in the thigh.