Travel to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket has resumed after heavy rain and strong winds from Subtropical Storm Melissa prevented ferry crossings for over 50 hours.
The Steamship Authority (SSA), the regulatory body for all ferry operations to and from the islands, experienced service disruptions as early as noontime Wednesday on the Nantucket route, and around 7 p.m. on the Martha’s Vineyard route. All crossings were canceled Thursday and Friday, and resumed Saturday morning.
Many island residents say ferry cancellations “normal” and “nothing we’re not used to,” but a number of long-weekend travel plans were considered a wash in the wake of Thursday and Friday’s weather conditions. One Martha’s Vineyard resident wrote on Facebook Friday, “I’m officially stuck on an Island with two tickets to tonight’s Wilco show at the Wang Theatre I’m looking to unload. Any takers?” A commenter replied “I feel ya – I’m stuck with tix to Mystery Science Theater 3000, including a meet and greet.”
Many college students that were island-bound for a long weekend home had to turn around, one resident told Boston.com.
Grocery stores went two days without deliveries. “Does that cause a problem for business? Yes. But it’s nothing we’re not used to,” Steve Bernier, owner of Cronig’s Market on Martha’s Vineyard, told Boston.com.
The U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha posted a series of videos on Facebook Thursday. “The crew had some great training weather today,” the post said. “Winds were gusting to over 50 knots and seas were 8-12 feet.”
Posted by USCG Station Menemsha on Thursday, October 10, 2019
The National Weather Service reported the storm sustained winds of 40 to 50 mph, with gusts of 60 mph. All SSA services resumed on both routes on a trip-by-trip basis Saturday morning.
The last time SSA boats were canceled for 50-plus hours was Dec. 11 through 13 in 1992. “Nothing ran until Sunday,” an SSA spokesperson told Boston.com.
“It was great to hear that whistle this morning,” a Martha’s Vineyard resident wrote on Facebook.