Since the derby is over and the weather is turning cooler, you may once again find yourself all alone on Chappy’s beaches. This week sunrise is around 7 a.m. and sunset is around 6 p.m. These are much more convenient times to be at the right place at the right time to enjoy a pink sky. As it’s path gets lower in the sky, the sun spends more time at the horizon and the transition between night and day is more leisurely.
The yellow leaves of the sassafras and grape are giving the island an inner glow. This is especially noticeable at dawn and dusk. As the trees lose their leaves the view into the woods opens up and the island feels less overgrown. We seem to have a bumper crop of acorns and juniper berries this fall.
There was a crowd of deer on my road early Wednesday morning. All eight looked young and seemed surprised to see me. They spent a few seconds conferring about a course of action and then half sprang into the brush to the left and the other half to the right. As I cautiously moved ahead, the half that went to the right must have changed their minds and leapt back across the road just inches in front of my truck.
If you visit Cape Pogue or Wasque this week you will probably see the advance guard of the monarch butterflies that are beginning to migrate through on their way to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Chris Kennedy reported seeing dozens of monarchs this past week while sitting on the deck of his Wasque home. These majestic butterflies are easy to spot and identify. They frequently spend the night swarmed on trees or bushes.
The Trustees of Reservations have been forced to close the over-sand vehicle access onto Wasque Beach. This big deposit of sand adjacent to the Chappy side of the breach is constantly changing. Just two years ago the shoreline in this area ran along the bottom of the rapidly eroding bluff. Then sand began to accumulate in the area of the old boardwalk. As more sand gathered, the whole mass began to crawl along the shore towards Muskeget Channel. For the whole summer there was enough sand built up in front of the low part of the bluff to allow four-wheel drive vehicles to climb up off of the beach. That sand has washed away and the rest of the bluff to the east is too high. It’s still accessible on foot and you can hike right up to the mouth of the opening where it flows into the Atlantic.
The good news is that TTOR plans to keep the outside OSV trail along East Beach from the south end of Leland Beach to Cape Pogue Elbow open all winter. This will provide an alternate route to Cape Pogue that avoids the persistent flooding that often occurs on the OSV trail that runs along the margin of Cape Pogue Bay from the Dike Bridge.
A visit to Mytoi Garden is a treat any time of year. The Birch Walk is spectacular at the moment. Bring some stale bread to feed the goldfish.
Our own Ernie Dewing and his band Propergander have been creating and recording original music right here on Chappy. Last week Ernie and fellow band member Greg Holland traveled to Medford to make an appearance on radio WMFO. They played live songs as well as cuts from their latest album, Wide Open. This latest offering has received positive reviews. Ernie says that listeners are saying that Propergander’s music calms them down. You can sample their music online at reverbnation.com/ernie and learn more about the band.
The On Time III made the voyage to Vineyard Haven Sunday on the fair tide under the command of Capt. George Fisher. Hauling the ferries out of the water is pretty routine but every year something new and interesting happens. On Monday as the ferryboat emerged from the water, the marine railway carriage derailed. After some creative engineering and a lot of wading around in the water, everything was back on track. The U.S. Coast Guard inspection went well. There are several spots where the fiberglass skin needs to be renewed but otherwise it will be preventive maintenance. The ferry will get new propellers to replace those that have been eroded by sand and salt over the last several years. The worn propellers can be rebuilt and used again.
Remember the barge that brought the house moving gear to Chappy last spring? It will return soon to take it all back to Maryland. The loading operation requires the use of the paved parking area for staging trailer trucks and hundred-foot-long beams. The house movers have agreed to wait until Nov. 1 so that the parking spaces will be available to Chappaquiddickers who park and walk into town while we have only one ferry in service.
So far the little On Time II has been able to keep up pretty well with the traffic. Thanks to all for your patience. And thanks to those who had to work hard at removing those rusted-on trailer hitches. Often just one extra foot makes it possible to squeeze on that third car.
The Chappy Book Club is on winter break but already has begun to assemble next season’s reading list. Mark Twain’s classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have been tentatively selected for July.
The next potluck supper is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 6. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30. Ellen and Bob Gurnitz will be the hosts. Hope to see you there.