Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Journey

Because of the delays in the journey, the passengers and crew of the Mayflower had already used much of the food and drink on board for the journey. Supplies planned for use once they landed had to be used. The food was not very good, brine soaked beef, pork and fish, hard biscuits, which often had bugs in them, and the rats on board the ship ate the food as well.

The passengers quarters were cramped and they had to stay below deck most of the time, because of the storms. People were seasick, there were no sanitary toilets. The hatches were sealed, because of the storms, so there was no fresh air.

The crew had bad attitudes toward the passengers, especially the religious ones and called them "psalm singing puke-stockings"! They picked on them while they had their morning prayers and psalm singing. One of the meanest sailors became ill about 2 weeks into the journey and died the same day. The sailors, who were a superstitious lot, worried that he had died because of his behavior toward the passengers. Not willing to risk it, they stopped their ridicule.

Halfway across the Atlantic, the Mayflower rain into a terrible storm. The winds were 50 miles per hour, and the waves 50 feet or higher! The pounding of these waves made cracks in the ship and let in frozen sea water. The ship tossed from side to side. The storm raged for days, the pilgrims prayed and sang psalms, even the sailors took to praying. Without a warning one of the huge crossbeams supporting the main deck cracked. Everyone was worried. The pilgrims took their concerns to God in prayer. William Brewster, one of the leaders, remembered the large iron jack screw the Pilgrims brought with them to help them be able to lift beams when they started to build their homes. This screw was used to crank up the beam to its original position.

Many other things happened on the journey. The Billington boys nearly blew up the ship when they light a piece of rope on fire near the gunpowder on board. A servant John Howland, disobeyed orders to stay below decks and when the ship listed to one side he fell overboard into the frigid Atlantic waters. He reached up out of the water and was able to grab a rope trailing over the side of the ship. The Hopkins family had a baby on board, whom they named Oceanus! Many people were very sick.

Finally the weather improved and people could go up on deck and get fresh air and exercise.

On November 9, a sailor cried "Land Ho!" After 65 days at sea from Plymouth, 97 days since they first left Southhampton, the pilgrims caught a glimpse of the New World. They prayed and celebrated by reading Psalm 100:

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations.

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An interesting website to check out is:

http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/voyage/

2 comments:

  1. Thank goodness we don't have to travel that way anymore!

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I taught the class on this "journey" we had "Sea biscuits". I left the bugs out but the kids still were not enthused. Hmmm....
    Becky

    ReplyDelete

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