Daily Event for August 15

As everyone knows air travel in the post 9-11 world has it's draw backs. We complain that we have to go through security and that takes a whole hour! Than there are delays because of weather and mechanical problems or perhaps the flight crew has run out of hours and we have to wait for another one to arrive. Once we are in the air however we can cross the entire USA in a matter of a few hours. We can even get from New York to Great Britain overnight! Before you complain about your next flight give a thought to the story of the Angel Gabriel.

In 1635 travel was not an enjoyable prospect and travel by sea was almost intolerable except for the most rugged of people. On May 23, 1635 the 240 ton sailing ship Angel Gabriel boarded her passengers and waited to depart. Lack of wind or too much wind and rough seas delayed the departure for eleven days. When conditions were finally right on June 4, 1635 the ship set sail from Bristol, England bound for New England and made it as far as Lundy Island, ten miles away where there was some kind of problem with the anchor.

Repairing the problem and waiting for favorable weather delayed the voyage again. But a mere five days later, on June 9th the Angel Gabriel was once again underway. Favorable winds allowed for swift passage down the Bristol Channel and the Angel Gabriel made port at Milford Haven, Wales, about 120 miles away, early on the 10th . Now eighteen days into the voyage the passengers had only a little more than 125 miles behind them with  3,100 more to go. Waiting out storms and for favorable winds caused further delay to the ship and she did not leave Milford Haven until June 22, twelve days later!

This time the departure was for good and the Angel Gabriel made her way across the Atlantic with no further delay. There were still storms and heavy seas but for the most part the voyage from Milford Haven seemed mostly normal for the time. Like all sailing ships the crossing took a considerable length of time but finally on Aug. 14, 1635, 53 days after leaving Wales the Angel Gabriel and her relieved passengers arrived at Pemaquid Harbor, Johns Bay, Maine. The voyage was nearly over but there was still another 150 miles to go before they would be in Boston.

Once again another delay happened when on Aug. 15, 1635 a hurricane blew ashore. Even though the Angel Gabriel was in a harbor  she was not safe from the storm. As the wind and waves pummeled the ship she was driven into shallow water and taken apart piece by piece until there was nothing left. Most of the passengers were either ashore or just lucky enough to get to shore because only one crewman and three or five passengers were killed. Those who were left now had nothing, all they had with them went down with the ship, including their ride to Boston.

Over the next several days the weary passengers were taken to Boston by other vessels. The Rev. Richard Mather, one of the passengers sums up the trip;

"On June 2 we lost sight of our old English coast, until August 8 where we made land again at Menhiggin, it was but six weeks and five days yet from our first entering the ship in King road on May 23 to our landing in Boston on August 17, it was 12 weeks and 2 days. For we lay at anchor in King Roade 11 days before we even set sail and 3 days at Lundy and 12 days at Milford and spent 3 days tacking between Kind Roade and Lundy, one day between Lundy and Milford and 8 days between Menhiggin and Boston. Again, let our gracious God be blessed forever. Amen..."

In the 371 years since the voyage of the Angel Gabriel travel has become somewhat more desirable but, people have become less tolerant in the I want it now world we have. The next time you are waiting at the airport and the security line is a little long or the weather will not allow a safe flight thank the Lord that people like those on the Angel Gabriel and thousands of others made the terrible crossings of the Atlantic so we could have what we have today. And think, would you make the crossing?

© 2006 Michael W. Pocock