In Ether 2:3, we learn that deseret means honey bee. I always found this interesting since during my mission, I learned K’ekchi (Mayan dialect) and the word for bee in K’ekchi is ser. Take off the de and et from deseret and you have ser! But I'm not a linguist and so this is simply interesting to me.
"And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been." (Ether 2:5)
The Decree from God
As with the Nephites and every other nation that possessed the Promised Land, the Jaredites were warned of God that if they did not serve God, they would be "swept off" when they are fully ripened in iniquity. (Ether 2:8-10)
At this point, Moroni makes it a point to remind us Gentiles that unless we repent, we too will be "swept off."
Barges, Air holes and Light
In Ether 2:6, we learn that they had built barges in which they did cross many waters including the "sea in the wilderness" (Ether 2:7). At some point they arrive at the ocean (or the "great sea that divideth the lands" Ether 2:13) and dwelled there for the space of four years. At the end of those four years, the Lord came to the Brother of Jared and chastised him for three hours for not praying. Then the Lord told him to build more barges. After they had built the barges, the Brother of Jared
went to the Lord and asked him two questions. One, how will they see in the barges because of the lack of light and two, how will they breath. The Lord responds to his second question immediately by giving the solution of making a hole in the top and bottom and putting corks in them. Again, the Brother of Jared did as he was told and then posed the question of light in the barges to the Lord again. The Lord responds by asking the Brother of Jared what he would like him (the Lord) to do.
At this point, my next question comes up. If they had built barges previously, why were the issues of breathing and light not discussed with the Lord? My only guess is that they had a pretty good idea of what they could endure. They probably arrived at some large body of water and figured that they could reach the other side without light and with the air already in the barges. This idea may be supported by the fact that when they arrived at the ocean, they stayed there for four years and probably did not do much in the manner of ship-building. They did not act until the Lord chastised the Brother of Jared. Whereas the other bodies of water were probably manageable in their view and they figured they could cross without major risk.
Another way of looking at it is perhaps after building these barges, they endured the lack of air and light and when confronted with crossing the ocean, the brother of Jared realized that this next crossing would take a long time compared to previous crossings.