Everyone is invited to the annual Chappy Ferry captain and crew appreciation potluck dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chappy Community Center. This is your chance to have a conversation with a member of the ferry crew that can last longer than 55 seconds. Please bring an entrée, side dish or dessert of your choice to serve six.

Remember that The Trustees of Reservations has planned an illumination of Mytoi Garden for Saturday, Dec. 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. as an addition to Christmas in Edgartown. Mytoi is an unusual place to start with so lighting it up at dusk will be impressive. A free shuttle from the Chappy side of the ferry will run to Mytoi every 20 minutes from 4 to 5:20 p.m. Warm drinks and holiday treats will be provided.

The decomposing carcass of a whale has been ashore for a few weeks on Norton Point. Be forewarned that taking bones or any parts of that creature is forbidden by federal law. The Environmental Police Officers are all very nice folks but very dedicated to their job. The Marine Mammal Protection Act provides for hefty fines for violations. Getting caught could certainly put a crimp in your holiday gift budget.

Immature Bonaparte's gull. — Lanny McDowell

During the past couple of weeks there has been a very brave small gull hanging around the Chappy ferry slip. It will paddle around in the slip even as the ferry approaches, flying out at the last moment right over the hood of the front vehicle on the ferry. It roosts on the slip pilings and allowed me to get within six feet to take its picture. I had been searching online in vain to identify the bird, but as it is obviously immature, there was little information available. Then, as luck would have it, just as the gull perched right next to the slip, a Jeep load of birders pulled onto the ferry. Some of the serious birders on the Vineyard are so well-known that they go by just their first names, much like Madonna or Elvis. Lanny, Soo and Warren had just returned from a ride across Norton Point where they observed a snowy owl. It took them about two seconds to agree that the bird in question is a young laughing gull who, by the way, would be better off to be in Florida by now.

The next day two similar immature gulls showed up which Wendy identified as young Bonaparte’s gulls. I think that these inexperienced birds must feel the safety of sticking close to human activity. The black-backed gulls are already starting to harass the smaller gulls as the weather cools off.

We have our first broken wing gull of the season hanging around the Chappy point parking lot. Keep in mind that feeding wildlife is a no-no. But if your humanitarian tendencies are irresistible remember that these guys are fish eaters and that crackers and pasta are actually harmful empty calories for them.

At the risk of jinxing what has been a very successful process so far, I will venture to say that it’s almost pretty possibly likely that the ferryboat On Time 3 will be back in the water and back in service before roughly approximately mid-December. It has been a busy fall on Chappy. During the Thanksgiving holiday, I noticed that the majority of the vehicles using the ferry were passenger cars short enough that on almost every voyage we carried three of them. But now we’re back into the regular work week and most of the vehicles are long pickup and utility trucks that allow only two of them onboard at a time. Once the longer boat returns, the ferry waiting line will move a lot faster.

Snowy owl at Norton Point. — Lanny McDowell

The next full moon will occur Sunday late morning. It is fittingly called the cold moon. It will be in perigee, which means that it will be at its closest approach to Earth in its lopsided orbit. It will be seven per cent closer to the Earth than its average distance which will make it look bigger than usual. This will bring very high tides during the couple of days before and after. Fortunately, only a weak north wind is forecast for that period. It won’t take much of a breeze to push the high water right up into the street.

Send Chappy news to peterchappyferry@gmail.com.