Exploration of an Unfamiliar Environment in “A Land So Strange”

At the very beginning of chapter 6, Résendez describes Cabeza de Vaca’s failed attempt to escape and island inhabited by Indians. Cabeza de Vaca and his men are caught off guard by the large waves of this region since waves of such monumental size and force are foreign to Europe, specifically Spain. In addition, those who survive the treacherous waves fight the effects of hypothermia. Given that it was the middle of summer in Florida, this would not normally be a problem. However, when Résendez points out that the earth was undergoing a unique period of cooling, specifically harsh during the years of Narvaez’s expedition, this supports thesis of increased level of challenge to Narvaez and his men, due to change in environmental conditions. Had there been normal environmental conditions during this time, the water would have felt refreshing rather than dangerously cold, especially when compared to the well-known hot summertime air in Florida.

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