The Pinta, Niña, and Santa Maria, the latter captained by Columbus (1451-1506) himself, departed from Palos de la Frontera on August 3, 1492, heading for the Canary Islands. Damage to the Pinta forced the small fleet to stop for repairs at La Gomera for about a month. The three ships set sail again on September 6, driven by the trade winds, heading steadily west. Ten days later, Columbus discovered the worrying phenomenon of magnetic declination, which caused a gradual diversion of the magnetic needle of the compass from the geographic North Pole. Land was sighted at 2 in the morning on Friday, October 12, 1492. In daylight, the ships found a passage through the coral reef and cast anchor off an island of the Bahamas that Columbus named San Salvador. The island was inhabited by the Taino, who welcomed the Spanish with great courtesy and hospitality. On October 27, Columbus reached Cuba, which he took to be an outpost of the Asian civilization described by Marco Polo. Stimulated by the account of vast treasures on the island of Babeque, the captain of the Pinta headed in that direction without Columbus's permission. Columbus chose instead to explore the northern coast of Haiti, naming the island Hispaniola, and went beyond Cape Haiti in search of Cipangu (Japan). On December 25, the Santa Maria ran aground on a coral reef and was abandoned. With only one caravel left, Columbus decided to build a fort and leave 39 men on the island, promising to collect them on his second journey. On January 5, the Niña and the Pinta met and the return journey began. Columbus sailed north to the 35th parallel to leave the trade-wind zone, and headed back east at that latitude. The violent Atlantic storms drove the two caravels apart again. Columbus's Niña fortuitously made landfall in the Azores and, from there, made its way back to Portugal. The Pinta, instead, landed in Galicia. The two ships arrived in Palos on March 6, 1493. Columbus had brought back some gold, tobacco, a few parrots, and ten Taino Indians.