Just like at Plimouth Plantation in the village, there are interpreters on board the ship. On this particular day there were three and we were able to talk to all of them during the course of our visit. There were also people in certain sections not dressed in costume who would answer any questions we had as well.
One thing I really liked about the visit to the Mayflower II was the information as you walked towards the gangplank. The boys were able to try out some hands-on things as well as gather (well, okay, I gathered they played) information on life on board a ship.
Here they are finding out where the term "knots" in regards to how fast a ship travels originated. Okay, they are simply yanking the rope out and coiling it back up. I did read the information to them though! Sometimes information has to be force-fed a bit.
Heading on board - thankfully we all had our "sea legs" as it was a bit rocky and windy.
Before heading to the more sheltered areas of the ship, I made them all pose for me. Of course.
This woman was sitting above one of the hatches and just outside the captain's quarters. As always they interpretors have great accents and lots of knowledge. They will spend as much time as you'd like answering any questions you have.
I was struck by how small the ship was. There were 102 passengers plus crew on board this ship. We were there with perhaps a dozen other people and it felt crowded to me. The woman above related how they passengers were rarely let above deck - only a handful of times over the course of three months. It was also a very small ship. In fact, my almost 5'10" teenager had to duck often once we went below decks. Granted most of our Pilgrim forefathers were short, but still, I don't think they would have found these type of living conditions comfortable. Not at all.
This gentleman was hands down my favorite interpretor. The boys and I had been standing near this chair chatting. The "captain" of the ship had come down and my sister and nephew had gone over there to listen in. This man sat down, looked up in surprise at us standing there, and promptly engaged my boys.
He is showing Happy how to hold up his finger in order to gain his help in making his net. He was so fun to listen to! He even tried to recruit Happy to be a cabin boy. He made a very interesting observation though.
I asked him "how long" it would take him to make the net. His reply wasn't what I expected but it was so true! He said that "you people" look for time everywhere. However, they did not. The net would be done when it was done. If someone came down and needed his help, he would set it aside and go help them. He would pick it back up and work on it as needed. It would be done when it was done. Profound words from the 17th century.
This gentleman was the captain of the ship. Oh.my.gosh! He was riot! Next to the sailor he was my next favorite.
He had us spell-bound with his tales and stories for over 15 minutes. He discussed things such as why people have the color of hair they do. His theory? It's colored by "brain poop." He took one look at poor Happy's blond hair and declared he must be constipated! (That still makes me giggle!)
He discussed other explorers and their successes and failures. He also had quite a funny talk about Pilgrim/Puritan names. I could have stood there far longer and listened to him, but we still had more ship to explore and Burial Hill to find.
Happy is in an area after you leave the ship. It again has some hands-on things for the children to check out. I made him come stand beside this large barrel to show the size. The barrel would hold a ton - literally!
Recognize the guy in red? He's the sailor who was on board the ship today. I noticed as we entered the Mayflower II area that there were photos of interpretors we had met the at Plimouth as well in different costumes. There are some very knowledgeable people who like what they do and do it well.
We had a great time on the Mayflower II!