When White had left the colony three years before, the colonists had been discussing a move north to what we now call Chesapeake Bay. An agreement had been reached that if the colonists did indeed move, they would carve their destination on a tree, with a cross if they had been in distress when they moved. White assumed that the "Croatoan" was a reference to where they had gone, and since there was no cross, White further assumed that the move had not been made in desperation, but that, in itself, was a further puzzle. Croatoan Island was south of Roanoke Island, and Chesapeake Bay to the north. It made no difference to White. He prepared to go to Croatoan, but fate, which had kept White away for so long, again interfered. A sudden gale blew up and battered the ships. Mooring off the coast was now too dangerous, and the ships were forced to return to England. White was never able to return to mount another search, and subsequent searches found no trace of the missing colonists. The mystery of the "Lost Colony" had been born.