Traditionally, two things occur at the Chappaquiddick Ferry when the Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby ends. The ferry begins operating on the winter schedule and one of the ferryboats is taken out of service. This year the derby ends on Oct. 14, which of course is a Saturday.

The winter schedule begins on Sunday, Oct. 15. The ferry still starts running at 6:45 a.m. but ceases continuous operation at 8 p.m. After that the ferry runs between 9 and 10 p.m. and then again between 11 and 11:15 p.m. For clarification, this means that the ferry does not run during the hour between 8 and 9 p.m. or between 10 and 11 p.m. The final trip of the evening is at 11:15 p.m. This schedule is in effect daily until the Thursday prior to Memorial Day weekend, with the exception of Christmas morning when the ferry operates on the hour only.

Each year at this time one of the ferryboats must be taken out of the water for Coast Guard inspection as well as repair and maintenance. There are two ferryboats. Each has to be hauled out for the Coast Guard every two years. Therefore, they alternate years when they go out of service. One of the boats is shorter than the other by 8 feet and can’t always carry three vehicles. That is the boat that will remain in service this fall to handle all of the traffic alone. Many pickup trucks are so long that they take up so much of the length of the ferryboat that there is no room for a third vehicle. Not only will one ferry be doing the work of two during the busy times, that ferry doesn’t always carry three vehicles. If the second vehicle in the ferry waiting line on Daggett street is pulling a trailer which makes the entire rig too long, then the ferry may make the crossing with just one vehicle aboard. There are a few things that you can do to speed things along though. If you have a choice of vehicles, use shorter ones if possible. Avoid bringing a trailer over from town during the busy morning rush times. Remove trailer hitches, cooler racks and bike carriers when not being used. These items may add one or two feet to the length of your vehicle. That one or two feet is often all that is needed for a third vehicle to fit aboard.

On the Edgartown side, there is not enough room on Daggett street to assure that vehicles can safely pass one another therefore we can only take the vehicles in the order that they line up. The ferry crew will never direct vehicles to pass on that street. I’ve seen too many mirrors broken and fenders scraped to make it at all worth the risk. However, on the Chappy side vehicles can safely pull out around the vehicles ahead if the drivers are careful. If the vehicles in line ahead of you won’t fit on the ferry but your vehicle will, then the ferry crew may wave you around to get on the boat. So, keep an eye on what is being loaded as you get close to the front of the waiting line especially if you drive a small car. Stay back from the vehicle ahead of you so that you can see past it and be able to pull around it without having to back up. If there is a big truck or a trailer in front of you, chances are good that you will be waved around by the ferry crew to get on the boat. On the Chappy Ferry website you can check on the length of the ferry waiting lines with our webcams. Just to be on the safe side allow twice as much time for waiting in line as you usually would for the time of day that you customarily travel.

The next potluck dinner will be hosted by Tom Osborn and Donna Kelley on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Appetizers and gossip begin at 6 p.m. The dinner bell rings at 6:30 p.m. Please bring a dish to serve six.

Annie Heywood’s memorial and celebration of her life last Saturday filled the Chappy Community Center to capacity. If she had been there she would have been blushing and that did not come easily to Annie. We found out a few things about her that until now had been kept private. According to her wishes the food was delicious. We drank classy wines and enjoyed lobster rolls in her honor.

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