If you’ve been watching the British TV series, Call The Midwife, then you have an idea of what our own Judy Buss experienced during her training in the midwifery service. She bicycled between assignments in the same outfit worn by the actors including the hat, often in the company of her midwife mother. Next time you see her on her bike, imagine her dodging street urchins and police constables on her rounds in the squalid parts of the city attending to pregnant mothers and newborn babies.

By the time you read this the ferryboat On Time II should be back in Edgartown. She has a nice new coat of blue bottom paint and lots of parts not visible. All of the through-hull fittings were removed and inspected for electrolysis damage then reinstalled with new gaskets and seals. A new intake pipe and valve were installed on the saltwater fire hose system. All of the bolts which hold the rudder and propeller struts and shrouds were replaced with brand new stainless steel bolts as a precaution.

The U.S. Coast Guard performed their biennial inspection of the hull last Friday. Two inspectors in clean blue overalls crawled into every space and tapped the wood with little mallets to check the soundness of the hull. Then they examined the underside of the boat mostly on their knees, wiggling through the space between the ferry and the marine railway cradle upon which the hull rests. Their overalls were ready for the laundry by the time they were done.

I like having these Coast Guard inspectors going through the boat with a fine-toothed comb looking for trouble. These guys have seen more broken stuff than anyone else. Shipyards only see what is brought to them for repair but the Coast Guard sees everything. Almost monthly a ferry sinks somewhere in the world and these guys are determined that it won’t happen here. They requested that we replace several plywood gussets which were starting to show signs of fatigue from their close proximity to the hot exhaust pipe. Other than that, the boat is all set to get back to work with an up-to-date Certificate of Inspection.

Erik Gilley, George Fisher and Jonathan Morse put in long days getting all the work done in short order. Other than keeping them provided with parts and paint, my job was to get them lunch and make sure that their supply of peanut M&Ms didn’t run out. I took last Sunday off to attend fire-fighting practice. Upon arriving at the drydock Monday morning I narrowly averted a mutiny as I had fortunately bought a dozen bags of M&Ms on the way to work. The guys apparently had candy for breakfast and had just depleted their stocks.

Check out our website or Facebook page to see some photos of the ferry high and dry in Vineyard Haven.

Scott Shucher, who shot the video included in The Chappy Ferry Book, came down from Medway last Thursday to get some footage of the ferry in drydock for the full-length documentary that he and John Wilson are working on. He was pretty much done by noon, so I suggested that he ought to get some aerial video of the little On Time II surrounded by big boats and such up in the commercial port of Vineyard Haven. I called Mike Creato of Classic Aviators out at Katama Airfield and an hour later we were swooping over the breach at Wasque. We made some tight turns over the On Time III as she worked alone in a nearly deserted Edgartown Harbor and then headed up to Holmes Hole where we zeroed in on the On Time II nestled between the RM Packer storage tanks and the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard travel lift. As big as she looks out of the water, I got a different perspective of her size relative to the SSA ferries and Packer’s barges and tugs.

Next time you have company and you want to show them around the Island, call Mike. You can choose between the hair-raising bi-planes or the more sedate high-winged Cessna. It won’t cost much more than taking them out to diner and will make their visit even more memorable. The phone number is in the yellow pages under aerial tours and in the white pages under Classic Aviators.

As Sunday afternoon waned I felt that I should get my granddaughters out on the water before the next school week started. The wind was a little too strong out of the southwest for sailing so we put the canoe on the roof of the truck and headed for the Dike Bridge. Sally came along as well to make sure that I came home with the same number of kids that I left with. Pocha Pond was sheltered from the breeze so we paddled south along the west shore to the mouth of Mumcheag Creek. The tide was high, enabling us to go far up the creek until we were opposite Mytoi Garden. Check it out on Google Earth. The creek isn’t labeled, but Dale Carter knew its name. It’s really mostly a grand mosquito ditch running parallel to the Dike Road past Mary Wakeman’s camp.

Toward the end of the navigable stream we encountered a thick stand of phragmites. This plant grows out of the water ten feet high and has a feather duster at the top. During the summer as a kid we brought them home to sweep the cobwebs out of the high rafters of the beach house.

The canoe of course was a little tippy with three granddaughters constantly switching sides to peer into the water. Fortunately everyone is still small enough so that we didn’t capsize. Back ashore they couldn’t resist hopping about on the boulders along the water’s edge which resulted in a man-over-board. They also felt that they needed to pick up Jed Dowlin’s very wet and very cooperative dog Fiona in their arms. By the end of the day, only the tops of their heads remained dry, which is a sure sign of a successful outing.