Len Pond and Jean Makurat are an organized pair. You could even set your clocks by them.

The couple met nine years ago on the Vineyard. Len got off the ferry and headed straight for the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown for a celebratory drink. Jean was sitting at the bar. They got to talking and made a date for dinner at Alchemy Restaurant.

Off-Island, Len lives in Connecticut and Jean lives in Virginia. They have made the nine-year, long distance relationship work by spending every other week at each other’s respective home. They also spend two weeks on the Vineyard together every September, where they recreate much of that first meeting. They have a drink at the Shanty and they have dinner at Alchemy, eating at the same table every year. They also stay at the same home, located directly across from the Old Whaling Church, where they have become accustomed to hearing the hourly bells ringing day and night from the clock tower of the church. You could say they set their watches by the bells. Until this year, that is.

Len Pond and Jean Makurat were on the case when they heard the bells ring one hour behind. — Mark Lovewell

On Tuesday afternoon of last week, both Len and Jean were working at their computers. It was 1 p.m., at least according to their computers, their phones and the clocks on the walls. But then the Old Whaling Church sounded 12 bells.

They looked at each other. They looked at all their clocks, wondering if something had gone catastrophically wrong with the world, like perhaps the space-time continuum had lost an hour somehow.

“We never once thought it could be a problem with the Old Whaling Church,” Len said.

They continued to monitor the situation from their vantage point across the street, listening to the bells ring one hour behind all day and night. It was unnerving. Something had to be done, and they were just the two to do it.

The following day they went to Edgartown town hall. “No one had even noticed,” Jean said. And the person they talked to didn't seem to know what to do about it.

Then they went to Alchemy that night. “No one had even noticed,” Len said. No one there seemed to know what to do about it either.

By Thursday, Len and Jean learned that the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust operated the Old Whaling Church, and is located next door to the church. The couple checked in with them but the person they spoke with didn’t seem to have noticed either. They began to feel both odd and all powerful; the only two people on the whole Island who seemed to know there was a problem with time in Edgartown.

In truth, the Preservation Trust did know that time had slowed down in Edgartown. A call this week to Meg Rottman at the trust revealed that the Old Whaling Church had lost power during tropical storm Hermine and the clock at first began ringing seven minutes after the hour. The town electrician Tom Bassett was on vacation in Canada, and so a relief clock fixer was called in. But the clock is so old it is a tricky thing to fix.

“He managed to get the clock to ring on the hour but it was an hour behind,” Ms. Rottman said. “So it rang 12 [bells] at 1 p.m. Once time had passed and we realized that, I interrupted the Bassetts’ well deserved vacation again because we really needed to get the bell chiming correctly,” she added.

Kristy Rose at Edgartown town hall also weighed in to say that they had their eyes on the prize too, and that she had called Mr. Bassett when the problem with the clock was noticed the day after the storm. “The clock is a delicate device that he has developed a relationship with for many, many years,” she wrote in an email, adding that other concerned citizens had made inquiries throughout the week.

When Mr. Bassett returned from his vacation last Friday he promptly reset the clock to its proper time and bell ringing capacity, helping Len and Jean to once again enjoy their annual vacation in sync with the rhythms of Island life. But it begs the question, how will the couple incorporate this new ritual into their trip next year?