Sunday, April 28, 2013

Godspeed to You

Well, Sunday is not our usual field trip day, but while visiting with the Pastor after church, Hubby heard that the Godspeed was going to be docked nearby and that tours would be FREE!, so we made PBJ sandwiches and grabbed water at home, then set off for the pier.

We arrived close to the end of the afternoon when the crowds were thin, so we were able to ask a lot of homeschooler-ish questions. Have you noticed when you go to demonstrations and activities that people tend to know you're a homeschooler, without you telling them? It could be the denim skirts I and the girls are wearing, but that doesn't account for all the times they've picked up on it when I've worn something else. Instead, I am sure it is all of the very specific and endless questions. Once, Hubby and Tex went to a re-enactment and one of the "soldiers" remarked that he was so glad to talk to homeschoolers because the public school kids didn't even act very interested. That's sad.

In any case, that is the replica of the Godspeed, one of the three ships that sailed to Jamestown in 1607, in the background. It's the "middle" sized ship. The other two are the Discovery and the Susan Constant. All three ships are normally on display at Jamestown Settlement. Today, for a special event, the ship was docked closer to our house. Yay!

On December 26th, 1606, the three vessels left from England for Virginia, spending four months making the transatlantic voyage. This replica of the Godspeed was commissioned in 2006, is 88' long, has a mainmast height of 71'6", carries 2,420 square feet of sail, and a burden tonnage of 40 tons.

According to the costumed interpreters, there were 52 men aboard the Godspeed, all of whom made it to the end of the voyage, except one unfortunate gentleman.

Records tell us that the captain's name was Bartholemew Gosnold. Interpreters told us that there were  13 crew on this voyage and 39 passengers. On some voyages, the captain would act as the navigator, though I am not sure if that was done on the original voyage. This replica of the Godspeed has GPS and other modern tracking systems hiding in the binnacle on deck where they used to keep the compass, a lantern, etc.). 

Other than the Captain, positions on board would have been the Navigator (the man who charted their course, if not the Captain), the Bosun (in charge of all things rigging related), the Cook, the deck hands, and the Ship's Boy (the young man who would turn the half-hour glass and ring the ship's bell every thirty minutes so that people would know when they needed to come on for duty. Each crew member had to work four hours on and four off, so you'd hear the bell ring eight times before your shift was over). 

In the picture above, you can see Boo working the bilge pump, which is actually functional (though they do have electric ones in the cargo area...they have a microwave and full kitchen set up in the galley, too...posh living!) The re-enactors live on board the vessel when she is out of port. We could peek into their berthing area and it didn't look too bad. The gentleman we talked to pointed to his bed and it looked roomier than the rack Hubby used to have when he was on various submarines (more headroom and wider).

Above you can see Cowboy holding up one of the weighted lead lines that helped sailors figure out depth and bottom type. This would allow them to chart the safest course through unknown waters.

 This gentleman also explained the definitions and origins of nautical terminology such as fathom (six feet) and knot (one nautical mile per hour...they originally had an instrument called a traverse board (see above) which was attached to a large spool like contraption with rope. The rope had knots tied in it at regular intervals. When they wanted to know how fast they were going, they would toss out the traverse board and drag it behind the boat. Then they'd use the sand glass to measure time, and the rate at which the rope fed out and the number of knots that were showing when time was up indicated the number of "knots" of speed. Neat, huh? I hope I got that correct.) 

This is a backstaff used for measuring altitude of the sun by sighting the helps you determine your course and location.

Here's Boo wishing someone would fire one of the small cannons on board. No such luck.

This astrolabe was used to determine position of heavenly bodies and to reckon time, before the invention of the sextant.

Here you see a compass, the glass sand timer, and the Chip Log (colorful board on the right). The Chip Board was used to keep track of your measurements over time so you would remain on course.

Here we are gazing in awe at the vast rigging on the ship, wondering how those deck hands possibly managed to hang on at all...especially while the ship was moving, and in possibly rough waters. This is when the camera's memory filled up, so alas, there is no photo of the rigging. 

But there's a picture below of the ship that gives you a good idea of how intimidating it would be to have to climb up top to the crow's nest and be the one on the lookout for land. Not for the faint at heart!
The Godspeed sails into New York Harbor.

Tomorrow the kids will get to color some printables that I found online and write a paragraph, some sentences, or a few words (depending on their level) about their experiences. They will also get to copy some of the vocabulary we learned into their copywork notebooks. 

All in all a great field trip...educational and fun!

Coloring page of the Virginia quarter featuring the Discovery, the Godspeed, and the Susan Constant.
Coloring page from Jamestown featuring the three vessels.
Coloring pages featuring several options for pirate ships...the ship looks very similar to the Godspeed and one of the activities is a customizable printing page. Just color over the one Jolly Rodger's tiny anyway.
One last simple ship coloring page. Again, pirate-y, matey, but it's easy to make that Jolly Rodger into a British Flag, me thinks...arrrr.

Here's a list of some of the vocabulary terms we heard:

traverse board
sand glass 
chip log
trim (the sails)
ship's log
deck hand
mizzen mast

I am going to let the littles choose their favorite ten to copy.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our field trip. We certainly had a great time on a beautiful day. We were very grateful for the kind folks who sponsored the trip and the attentive costumed interpreters. Thank you all!



Anonymous said...

We went to Jamestown/Yorktown last September during their homeschool week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Glad you had a good time.

Thrift Schooling said...

Awesome homeschool activity! Looks like you had a blast!

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