Unfortunately for White and the colonists, Englandwas preparing for a naval war with Spain. All shipping from English ports was ceased. It took White three years to get his relief expedition back to Roanoke. When he returned in August of 1590, White found no sign of his daughter, granddaughter, or anyone else. They found three letters, "CRO," carved on a tree and the full word, "CROATOAN," on a nearby post. Possibly this referred to the Croatoan Island, which was nearby. White searched long and anxiously, but failed to find them.