Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Traveling in Style...NOT!

Mayflower II

I don't know about you, but when I think of our ancestors coming over on the Mayflower, I imagine this huge ship that could hold the settlers, their animals and all their worldly goods.  That image has been permanently altered in my head after touring the Mayflower II.

The Mayflower II is a full scale reproduction of the original Mayflower.  Built in England, it was sailed here in 1957 and docked in Plymouth harbor near the Plymouth Rock.  Normally, I'm not very interested in recreations, preferring to view original artifacts.  But going aboard this ship was an extraordinary experience.

Three masts, a crow's nest and a steering pole were all that made up the "engine" to get the ship and all its cargo to the new world.

Crow's nest
A long way up!

Sid "steering" the ship
There was no "steering wheel", just this pole to move the rudder.

More than one hundred people sailed in this ship and it must have been wall to wall with human bodies. The captain's quarters were about the size of a modern bathroom and the cooking area had to accommodate sleeping crew members.  The general passenger area was no bigger than some people's family rooms.  And they occupied this tight space for the entire 66 days it took to sail from England!

Captain's quarters
The bed is behind the curtains on the right.

The cooking area

Passenger bedding
Most must have slept on the floor or perhaps in hanging hammocks.

Crew quarters in the cooking area

I came away from this tour knowing that we Americans come from sturdy stock and thankful for our ancestors who braved the ocean in such a tiny vessel to establish this country.  I don't think I could have done the same, had I been in their shoes!

Until next time...

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