As of Tuesday, Peter Wells has the right to send the Chappaquiddick ferries back and forth between the slips on either side of the Edgartown harbor channel. The two ferries aren’t his yet, but that’s almost a technicality at this point.
At a crowded hearing at the town hall, the selectmen transferred the ground lease and ferry license from Roy Hayes to Peter, to much cheering and applause. Peter’s lawyer, Skip Tomassian, intimated Peter is a little crazy to take on the job, but both Edo Potter and Margaret Serpa pronounced him uniquely qualified. Edo suggested Peter be given a grace period of six months to a year before the selectmen ask for any changes in the service. Peter himself does not intend to make any changes right off.
Selectman Arthur Smadbeck thanked Roy for the great ferry service, to which everyone applauded agreement. No doubt Roy will enjoy the quiet sound of no unexpected telephone calls from the ferry. As it turned out, the same evening, Peter got his first call from the ferry captain on duty, saying the ferry only would go in one direction. Hopefully, it’s toward Chappy!
When I asked Joan Adibi, who is a longtime member of the Chappy water committee, if she knew about the water pipe that now ends at North Water street — which the town installed in the 1980s to bring water to the island if it became needed — she said she’d have thought that Edgartown would have its eye on Chappy’s aquifer – and maybe that was the purpose of the pipe.
Alton Stone, who worked on a water study for the CIA (that is, the Chappaquiddick Island Association), found that the island has a good quantity of water in its aquifer.
Joan says, “Our aquifer is very deep and plentiful as long as we don’t pollute it or draw down too much fresh water in the coastal areas.” As she points out: it’s the quality about which we have to be concerned and vigilant.
The water table is drawn down when too much water is pumped from the aquifer, decreasing the hydrostatic pressure and resulting in saltwater intrusion. At Menaca Hill and North Neck, there already are seasonal fluctuations in the water tables. The aquifer becomes cleaner during the winter months.
Annie Heywood just returned from sunny Sarasota, Fla., where she visited longtime Chappaquiddicker Janie (Wasey) Swabb. Karen and John Wasey stopped in for a visit while she was there.
I was off-island last week — only as far inland as western Massachusetts — but for a few days after I returned to the island, I was very aware of living on the land’s edge, and how much I like that. Although I do usually appreciate the snatches of water view I see on my daily travels — the ferry ride across the channel and the sense of spaciousness the ocean provides — they don’t often consciously remind me that I live on the rim of a huge continent.