Once the meeting in Badajoz was over, Juan Sebastián returned to Bermeo as number two in the new Spice Islands fleet. Captain Artieta had been busy in Bermeo making the preparations.
The Emperor himself told the man from Lekeitio that word had reached him that a 350-ton ship was being built in a shipyard in Bermeo, from the finest wood, and he urged him to get hold of her.
The ship was indeed requisitioned. She had four times the hold of the now famous Victoria, and was christened after her, for luck. Four of the seven ships which sailed in this second expedition were built in Biscay.
These polychrome panels of chestnut wood come from inside the Palace of Arana, situated in the old part of Bilbao in Belostikale, facing onto Ribera street. They were crafted between the end of the sixteenth century and the early seventeenth century, to form part of the coffered ceiling in the noble parts of the dwelling. A decoration such as this, inspired by the Castilian architecture of the time, is truly rare in the Basque Country. It is also interesting to note the profusion of naval themes depicted here.
For the first time on a voyage to Asia, cider was taken on board, a sure sign of the great number of Basques involved and the place the preparations were made. There is also a note referring to the purchase of a batch of white wine, which we understand to be Txakoli. Juan Sebastián bought several barrels for himself and for the Captain General, Loaysa.
Juan de Arratia was determined to take part again in the expedition, but he was in bad health. Document number 59 shows a missive from the Council of Indies ordering that the fleet cover the costs of his return to health. In total, over a hundred Basques took part in this fleet, including three of Juan Sebastián's brothers.
Elkano informed the royal council that the fleet was ready to sail to La Coruña. He first sailed the four ships into Portugalete, where more men came on board. In Galicia they would meet up with the Captain General, the noble García Jofre de Loaysa. The Portuguese kept a close eye on the progress of the fleet.
Juan Sebastián signed a proxy just days before leaving, so that should he not return, other trusted people could receive his wages. It is interesting to see how many trusted people Juan Sebastián listed. He also arranged for a daily mass to be said for him and his companions until the day of his return, and promised, before the public notary, to pay the equivalent of 30,000€ for this.
The highest eschelons at Court were truly worried about the possibility of mutinies, as can be seen in the next document number 62, and the naming of Hernando de Bustamante, a barber on the first expedition, as treasurer on Juan Sebastián's ship. For this same reason, the order giving details of the succession of power in the event of the death of captain general Loaysa was kept in a sealed document.
Juan Sebastián took with him a 17-year-old boy from Ordizia by the name of Andrés de Urdaneta. The young man, who was destined to become famous in his own right, took a diary with him which sheds a lot of light on what went on in this second e.xpedition
On this second voyage to the spice islands we know that at least one fierce dog travelled on board. In one recce on land they took it with them and when they met with the Patagonian natives the dog went quite wild and it was all they could do to keep a hold of it.
After walking for several days, they had not managed to hunt anything and they finished their supplies of food and water. The dog was also suffering from hunger and thirst and, because of the nature of the terrain, its paws were cut and bleeding, so it fell behind.
Some said it would be better to eat the creature, but the pastor, Juan de Areizaga, who we know to have been a corpulent and very strong-minded man, refused to kill it and, unable to do anything for the animal, they set it free.
Captain Santiago de Guevara (Juan Sebastián's brother-in-law) carried a cock and a hen on the expedition, which he was very fond of, because the hen never stopped laying eggs and the good captain used them to help the sick men on board. In the Straits, another captain called Francisco de Hoces wanted to buy the hen and offered him the equivalent of 25,000€. Captain Guevara refused because his was the last bird alive in the fleet, and these were the only eggs for the sick.