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Colonial America (1492-1776)
Ocean Travel



Ocean Travel
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.57

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    tween, bunks, landing, colonial, shallop, malnutrition, wealthy, tedious, seasick, lifetime, showers, settlement, crossing, medium, aboard, astronaut
     content words:    Atlantic Ocean


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Ocean Travel
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Anyone thinking about moving to America had a big decision to make. For the early colonists, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It must have been something like deciding to become an astronaut and traveling to the moon today.
 
2     Colonial-era sailing ships were built by hand out of lumber from large tree trunks. The mast for the main sail was about as tall as the ship was long. A medium sized ship was only about 100 feet long, a very small space for over one hundred people.
 
3     Below the main deck, the ship had an area known as ‘tween decks where most of the passengers lived during the ocean crossing. Some of the wealthy passengers may have paid the ship's carpenter to build them a cabin in the 'tween decks, but most people lived in a large common area, maybe sleeping on bunks along the walls. Some people used the ship's small landing boat, called a shallop, for a bed. There was little or no privacy. Some families hung up a blanket to divide off a space for themselves.
 
4     At the beginning of the voyage, the passengers could enjoy fresh food. Their dinner might consist of a stew with meat and vegetables. Later in the trip, however, they would be eating only dried foods. The ships carried dried meat and fish, flour, hard biscuits, cheese, and beer. Everyone drank beer since fresh water soon went bad. When the seas were calm, food could be cooked for dinner, but when the seas were stormy, a cooking fire could not be chanced.

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Colonial America (1492-1776)
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