Crossing the Great Pond
This portion is from my newest book that I am currently writing. This short writing hopefully will make into the Preface. However as a writer with a more than capable editor, as well as publisher who is screaming for this genre of work — some things make it in while other things do not,
Did you know that the original settling groups that took sometimes 30 days upwards of 3 months to cross the “great pond”? At the time of this writing the last time I checked there were over 10,000 known and accounted for ships that did not make the voyage?
Please let me assure you that crossing the pond back during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and during the seventeenth centuries was anything but a cruise liner or some type of ocean resort ship as we are accustomed to today. I absolutely adore the language of today’s students of all levels as well as their parent counterparts chatting away like this was some kind of what clothes shall I bring, is there going to be a free bar and lounge, can we gamble, and what was the main ball room like?
Normal passage way normally was done on a passenger’s per pound basis. Take the approximate weight of the passenger and then add to that weight much in the same way they do for today’s airline traveler’s.
It all sounds so simple…however, if you were traveling by family, or partners there were always levies laid against the entire family — for some reason such as a weight maximum.
Needless to say that only the bare essentials made the sojourn. Under normal circumstances each person was allowed the clothes they wore plus an additional set — mind you that for those who could afford it, combs and brushes or any other part of our hygiene care to include soap was weighed and measured.
Simple eating utensils was one set per person; and for the mothers and eldest daughters some could bring a pot, a tureen, or a pan. All of these extra enmities’ carried a Captain’s seal authorizing it however most importantly if the mum’s wanted to used them there was an “enough to go around” deal entered into.
Passengers literally had very little in making the journey which can be arguable that this posture had them at an advantage or disadvantage. For most it proved disadvantages primarily because of the voyage itself.
Imagine sailing from Britain or Northwestern Europe like Liverpool (English) or from Amsterdam and having just about frozen to death the night before, you stretch out those arms, comb out the hair, hopefully have a quick brush of the teeth only to find it unbearable topside!
Imagine waking up to a cork like feeling with massive rains carrying on throughout the day. Then for the first time nature calls. Therefore being totally soaked and dripping wet — it is now time to visit the “Lo” which normally on the male side, under the hull, was a designated area with either a bucket or trap door in the ship. For the ladies still below the hull were very small three wall compartments and a think with resembled some type of toilet.