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The Mayflower and the Cape Cod Canal

We have talked a lot lately about the Pilgrims and their adventures while exploring the Outer Cape and then moving onto Plymouth, but how did the Pilgrims get here? After all they lived on the other side of the ocean!

The Mayflower was the ship that originally transported the Pilgrims to the New World from England. The Pilgrims were known as English Separatists because of their desire to “separate” from the Church of England and form smaller independent local churches. The Mayflower carried 102 passengers with a crew estimated at 30. Although the Mayflower underwent many voyages, it is best known for its voyage from Southampton England to America. As we have learned in previous articles… their first landing spot was right here in Provincetown Harbor.


It is not known where or exactly when the Mayflower was built, however it is likely that she was launched at Harwich in the county of Essex, England. Although later known as “of London” she was designated as “of Harwich” in the Port logs of 1609-1611, therefore showing that Harwich was the birthplace of the Mayflower.

Captain Jones commanded the Mayflower starting 11 years prior to the Mayflower voyage, sailing the ship cross-Channel to bring English woolens to France and French wine back to London. The ship was used to transport hats, hemp, Spanish salt, hops and vinegar to Norway and may even have been used as a whaling ship in the North Atlantic near Greenland. She had traveled to Mediterranean ports and eventually undertook the Pilgrim voyage in the summer of 1620.

Shipping Routes

Why so much attention on a ship from 1620? Because later today the Mayflower II will leave her mooring in Plymouth and pass through the Cape Cod Canal in the first leg of a multi-day journey that will end in Mystic CT. She is headed to the historic Mystic Seaport to have some renovations, repairs and maintenance. According to the Cape Cod Times, a source from Plimoth Plantation has indicated that the repairs are in preparation of the 400th anniversary and the related celebrations of the Pilgrims landing in the New World in 2020.

So if you are in the area of the Cape Cod Canal around 2 -3 in the afternoon, keep your eyes peeled for what will surely be an amazing sight….The Mayflower will pass through the Cape Cod Canal.

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Information gathered from: