Little Buc's & Giles Hopkins's Blog: Monday, February 10, 2020

Submitted by NancyFranks on Mon, 02/10/2020 - 05:00
kids on mayflower near hatch
hatch locations on mayflower
Hatches on Mayflower

upper tween deck plan
TS Kennedy: Upper Tween Deck

lower tween deck plans
TS Kennedy: Lower Tween Deck

Giles on top of a nautical book
6 hold sign
five hold sign


Little BucAhoy, Followers!  Ahoy, Giles! 

Giles HopkinsGood Morrow, Followers!  Good Morrow, Little Buc!  Word is getting around that we enjoy getting photos of cadets touring Mayflower II.  I ran into 4/C Cadet John Sisk who happily shared this photo that was taken when he was just six years old.

Little Buc:  Cadet Sisk is a Marine Transportation major from Norwalk, Connecticut.  I was talking with him last week at the end of his Bridge watch.  He told me that he spent his elementary school and middle school years at New Canaan Country School before attending Fairfield Prep for high school.

What is young John resting his hand on?

Giles HopkinsThat is a hatch.  A hatch is similar to a trap door.  It allows access from one deck to another.  The raised frame was raised about eighteen inches high from the deck planks to prevent standing water on the deck from leaking below.

Little BucI know what a hatch is, Giles!  We have hatches here on the TS KennedyThe hatches on our ship are topped off by solid hatch covers.  Hatch covers close off the hatch openings and makes them watertight. 

Here is a photo of the hatch cover that protects the ladders that lead to the TS Kennedy’s bow thruster.  Raising that hatch cover definitely takes two or more people. 

There’s something that I don’t understand.  Cadet Sisk seems to be resting his hand on something that is open.  That can’t be a hatch cover. It isn’t a solid, airtight cover!

Giles HopkinsYes, Little Buc!  This hatch on the Upper Deck is fitted with an open wooden grate.  The grate provided light and ventilation to the Tween Deck below during good weather.  When the sea was rough or the weather was stormy, the grate was covered with a piece of canvas.

Little BucThat doesn’t sound watertight to me!

Giles HopkinsNo, it certainly wasn’t!  Water leaked from the Upper Deck to the Tween Deck where the passengers were huddled.  The hatches on the Tween Deck opened to the Hold where the cargo was stored.  Here is a diagram showing three hatches on Mayflower.

Little BucIt must have been very dark in the living space after the hatches on the Upper Deck were covered with canvas.  Just in case the TS Kennedy loses power during Sea Term 2020, every cadet is required to pack a flashlight in their sea bag and carry it with them at all times.  I don’t suppose that there were flashlights around in 1620.

Giles HopkinsFlashlights?  Definitely not, Little Buc!  English inventor developed the flashlight in 1899.  That was 279 years too late for the Pilgrims on Mayflower!  The lightbulb had not yet been invented either.  American Thomas Alva Edison invented the lightbulb in 1879.  The TS Kennedy has many modern luxuries that Mayflower did not have.

Little Buc: I guess that the TS Kennedy is pretty fortunate to have modern conveniences. 

I have heard you mention that there was a Gun Room on Mayflower.  Were the Pilgrims surrounded by weapons?

Giles HopkinsYes, there was a Gun Room at the stern of the Tween Deck.  It held the stern chasers, the two guns that a merchant ship kept ready in case of attack.  These guns were called minions.  I’ve hear that they could fire a 3-pound shot a distance of 2,500 yards.    

There were gunports all around the Tween Deck.  A gun could be pointed out one of these openings in the event of an attack. 

Little Buc: Why was Mayflower carrying cannons and guns?  We do not carry cannons on the TS Kennedy.

Giles HopkinsBack in 1620, the ocean could be a dangerous place.   It was important for a ship to be prepared to defend itself.  Although the Golden Age Of Piracy took place between 1650 to 1680, piracy and privateering were already a concern in 1620.  They also feared countries hostile to England.  

The King and Queen of England also had the authority to order merchant ships to become military vessels during times of war.  If that took place, cannons would certainly be necessary.  

Little Buc: Were the passengers eating and sleeping near the cannons?  That sounds a little dangerous to me.

Giles HopkinsDon’t worry, Little Buc!  The Gun Room off-limits to the passengers, except for the gunner.  He was in charge of maintaining the guns.

The remainder of the Tween Deck, approximately fifty-eight feet by twenty-four feet, was occupied by passengers. 

Little BucAlthough we do not have a Gun Room, Mayflower and the TS Kennedy do have something in common.  The TS Kennedy has both an Upper Tween Deck and a Lower Tween DeckTween is an informal way of saying the word “between”.

Giles HopkinsThat’s right!  We were on the TS Kennedy’s Upper Tween Deck last night.  When we stopped into one of the four classrooms, I loved looking over some of the books used by cadets majoring in Marine Transportation.  Here’s one of the photos that you took of me. 

Little BucThe Upper Tween Deck is also where dry, refrigerated, and frozen food is stored.  Many cadets live on the Upper Tween Deck.  Here is the deck plan.

Last week, I gave you a tour of the Lower Tween Deck.  Do you remember what we saw?

Giles HopkinsYes! You showed me the Engine Lab, the Machine Shop Lab, and a few classrooms. 

Little BucMany cadets live on the Lower Tween Deck.  Here is the deck plan.

Giles Hopkins: How interesting that the Mayflower had one Tween Deck and the TS Kennedy has two.

Little BucJust one more similarity between our two ships!  Let’s race down to the Upper Tween Deck now and explore the classrooms!  Maybe we will run into Cadet Sisk on our way!

Giles Hopkins: Sounds great, Little Buc!  There are so many more books that I’d like to read.  Fare thee well, Followers!

Little Buc: Have a great day, Followers!  Let’s go, Giles!


hatch to bow thruster
open heath to bow thruster
sign Upper Tween Deck
little buc and giles on deck