They Knew They Were Pilgrims

The 17th Century Adventures of Plimoth Plantation's Colonial Interpreters

Sea Fever.

March 13th, 2014 by Alexandra

These troubles being blown over, and now all being compact together in one ship, they put to sea again with a prosperous wind, which continued for divers days together…

- William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation

It takes a lot to get me out of bed before the sun rises (the promise of coffee helps), but a few days ago I had the privilege of witnessing a sight that made it worth it: Mayflower II out for a morning sail in Plymouth Harbor. She first set out under tow with the morning tide, before going under full sail in the deeper parts of the harbor (Our modern harbor has been dredged, which allows Mayflower II to come up directly to Plymouth’s State Pier, but Mourt’s Relation tells us that in 1620 Mayflower “drew so much water, that she lay a mile and almost a half off” in the harbor).  While the sail was short, it did provide the valuable opportunity for a crew to undergo some sail training, and as luck would have it, the weather cooperated better than could possibly be expected for the beginning of March.  The sail itself went smoothly, and when it was over Mayflower II‘s crew arrived, in the words of William Bradford, “in a good harbor, and brought safe to land…again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth.”

There isn’t a much better backdrop nature could provide than a beautiful sunrise, so enjoy some images of Mayflower II in her natural habitat – out to sea!

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky

“Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven, who had brought them over the vast, and furious ocean…” – William Bradford

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

“Wednesday. the sixth of September, the wind coming east-north-east, a fine small gale, we loosed from Plymouth…” – Mourt’s Relation

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

“And I have learned by this voyage that God hath made the seas more for use than pleasure…” – Emmanuel Altham

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking

“…the wind came fair and we put to sea again, and came safely into a safe harbor…” – Mourt’s Relation

If you want more news about the continued restoration and upkeep of Mayflower II, be sure to check out her Captain’s Blog. And if you want to visit her in person, Plimoth Plantation – which also includes the 1627 English Village, Wampanoag Indigenous Program, and Plimoth Grist Mill – opens for its 68th season on Saturday March 15. See you there!

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6 Responses to “Sea Fever.”

  1. Carol Hoyes says:

    Ah how beautiful she looks with the sunrise behind her. We so enjoyed our visit in 2013 but missed seeing the ship, we shall have to return. Best wishes to everyone for the 2014 season, keep on being a brilliant bunch!

  2. john kemp says:

    Thanks once again, Alex!

    Great photos. Excellent quotes. Surely God’s Providence that they also had such good weather on Saturday to practice; so they could set out sea on Tuesday morn with a well-practiced crew. Practice a thing of much importance for PP.

    Do you know of any other still-and/or-video images of Tuesday’s sail out there in cyberspace?

    Can’t wait to see you soon somewhere in March 1626/7. And Yes, Mstrss W., you DID overhear me (Billington) swearing again! We (he and I) both look forward to “great benefit” from your godly counsel (warnings of hellfire, etc.) Do we need to practice?

    Thanks more!

  3. Pam Lewis says:

    What a beautiful sunrise! The ship looks fantastic in these photos

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