Happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday to my daughter Nearess who is here visiting with my grandsons Isaiah and Bailey. She has flown in from California to be with us for a week. Their grandmother will be pretty tired but very happy to have all five of her grandchildren in one place at one time.

More than half a dozen Chappaquiddickers attended the contra dance at the Portuguese-American Club last Saturday evening. The first number was a line dance in which we all joined hands in a circle. There were so many of us that two concentric circles were required to allow us all to participate. There were about a hundred people on the dance floor at the outset. Given that Johnny Hoy was performing up in Chilmark, it was a testament to the great support that Islanders feel toward the Martha’s Vineyard Row Club and Sail MV. It was an excellent choice for a fundraiser. With their customary exuberance, the Flying Elbows kept us all on our toes and the caller somehow was able to create a semblance of choreography from the hubbub. The calories that I burned up while dancing were replaced threefold by all of the tempting goodies that our hosts offered in order to coax a few more dollars out of us for their worthy cause. Well done, MV Rowers! These folks row year round in the two Cornish Pilot gigs moored off of the beach between the SSA and the Black Dog Tavern. Google “MV Rowers” to get a look at their website.

Now for an update on the erosion at Wasque. The western end of the recently formed sandy island is getting chewed away by the eastward migration of the main opening. There is still some flow between the sandy island and the beach, but most of the action seems to be in the original main opening. The bluff in front of the Wacks’ house is holding fast. But at the fisherman’s landing parking lot there is a shear drop of 30 feet. Perhaps the name should be fisherman’s leap for the duration. There are still a few trees between the parking lot and the top of the bluff, but they won’t be there much longer. In front of the Schifter’s, the bluff is also 30 feet at the highest and also vertical, but moving back very slowly. Perhaps compacting the backfill soil really does make a difference!

I was making my Wasque rounds as the sun set and I saw a trawler out at the south end of Muskeget channel. The temperature was only about 20 degrees and there wasn’t a breath of wind. It felt as if the air had frozen, too. It occurred to me that whatever those fishermen out there were getting for their catch, we were certainly getting our money’s worth. I watched them for a while from the cozy cab of my truck, listening to the Nantucket radio station giving a rundown of the movies now playing at the Dreamland Nantucket Theater. They are showing the same movies that we are watching here on the Vineyard. I’m reminded that there is plenty of human activity just out of sight over the horizon to our east. And just 40 miles south of here is a major shipping lane for vessels running between New York and Europe. In John McPhee’s book, Looking For A Ship, he comments that it bothered him when the weatherman would say that a storm had cleared the coast and had “moved safely out to sea.” He knew quite a few mariners at the time of that writing and had become well aware of what that storm could do to them out at sea.

The Chappy ferry open forum last Saturday at the Chappy Community Center was well attended. We discussed the usual concerns such as scheduling a trip to the grocery store during the quieter times to avoid arriving home with melted ice cream, or allowing enough extra time to get to work on time just in case a few of your neighbors coincidently suddenly head for the ferry.

The nighttime winter schedule has had slight adjustments in the past, but has been essentially the same for decades. The period between 7:30 and 9 p.m., when the ferry captain takes a break from the cold and for dinner can seem interminable for a person waiting in the ferry line without something to keep him occupied. So I offered an experimental temporary schedule adjustment which is now posted at the ferry.

We also shared hints regarding getting to the Chappy ferry before 7:30 p.m. when returning to the Vineyard aboard an SSA ferry scheduled to put in at 7 p.m. As you board the SSA ferry, tell the mate that you have to get to the Chappy ferry by 7:30 p.m. and that you would appreciate being among the first to unload. Try to get out of being placed on the lift decks. Time stands still when you are waiting to get down off of a lift deck. Some SSA crews are familiar with this request and will be glad to help out.

The next potluck is on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the CCC. Sidney Morris and Margaret Knight are the hosts. Appetizers begin at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.