New Plimoth - 5 April 1621 our conveyance to ye New World, temporary warehouse, and emergency shelter, &c has departed for our Old England. None but ye crew chose to return with her.
In his history, Of Plimoth Plantation, Governor William Bradford tells a story of necessity:
"They now began to dispatch the ship away which brought them over, which lay still about this time, or beginning of April. The reason on their part why she stayed so long, was the necessity and danger that lay before them; for it was well towards the end of December before she could land anything here, or they able to receive anything ashore. Afterwards, the 14th of January, the house which they had made for a general rendezvous [the only completed building] by casualty fell afire [with the sick Bradford inside!], and some where fain to retire aboard for shelter, then the sickness began to fall sore amongst them, and the weather so bad as they could not make much sooner any dispatch. Again, the Governor [Carver] and chief of them, seeing so many die and fall down sick daily, thought it no wisdom to send away the ship, their condition considered and the danger they stood in from the Indians, till they could procure some shelter; and therefore though it better to draw some more charge upon themselves and friend than hazard all. The master [captain] and seaman likewise, though before they hasted the passengers ashore to be gone, now many of their men being dead, and of the ablest (as is before noted), and of the rest many lay sick and weak; the master durst not put to sea till he saw his men begin to recover, and the heart of winter over."
Half of the Pilgrim passengers and more than half of the Mayflower crew had died during the winter.