Do you miss the boat?
June 6, 2013 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Oh, man, The Islander, the freightboat, & The Naushon. I have strong memories of all of this. After all the stress of making the boat, our folks would let the kids walk on & race ahead to find a table. The boat would pull out & the grown ups would get a beer. We would sit and play cards the whole way - with happy, relaxed adults. When we got bored we would go up to the railing and hold chips up in the air until the seagulls swooped down to grab them.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:08 PM on June 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

Oh, cool. When I started going to the Vineyard I developed a fascination with the ferries; they seemed famous and magical. For a long time i was trying to be sure I rode on them all, even the freight boats Governor, Katama, etc. I was fortunate to get plenty of rides on the Islander, impressive in its behemothisity, nubbly and government-issue, stylin' in its black and white. Getting the Islander was a total ferry jackpot, all that expanse of windy deck. When I was younger and more of a hippie and always travelled with guitars, we would sometimes jam on the deck and make friends before arriving on the Island.

I had learned about the Nobska reading Vineyard history books. One day I was on a field trip with my staff to the Constitution Museum, and as we walked past a rusty old hulk in a nearby dry-dock, I was startled to recognize her. It's too bad she couldn't be saved; she was elegant.

I still love the ferries, even if I find the new ones slick and newfangled. Thanks for the link; I'll read in detail as soon as I can. Now that there's no Islander I like the Martha's Vineyard next best.

Here's a link to the Steamship Authority's current fleet.
posted by Miko at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

The SSA homepage has a thingus you can click to hear the Nobska whistle.

I rode the Islander often, so often it was a treat to get one of the others. Watching the Naushon pull in and away from the Oak Bluffs dock was how we kept time.

I rode the Shamonchi a few times and made it to one of the wacky parties when it was in Newton Creek. That was surreal.
posted by vrakatar at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, I love the SSA. For me, it was to and from Nantucket. Going there was like a meditation toward island life: a slowly disappearing mainland, 2 1/2 hours of peace and then seals welcoming us from the harbor jetties. Each departure from the island was an event: a mad dash across cobblestone streets, a leap onto the car deck because the gangway was already pulled back, and a burn in the stomach as the ferry forced an extended farewell.
posted by pjenks at 5:39 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

As someone who rode the Islander many times (and the Martha's Vineyard, and the new Island Home, and my favorites; the freighters Katama and Sankaty), this was a cool (if somewhat depressing) read. Cool to learn about some of the really old boats. Thanks for posting!
posted by rollbiz at 7:16 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

one of the wacky parties when it was in Newton Creek.

Well, that sure sounds interesting and undergroud-y. Wow.
posted by Miko at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2013

I'd seen a NY Times story about four guys living on a boat in the creek. It turned out to be the Shamonchi and we managed to find out about one of their parties. They made you go to this big, arty warehouse in Bushwick first, then ran you in small groups in vans to the dock. I think we found the party on the Danger list. This was a few years ago when parties on boats were all the rage all of a sudden.

Anyway, bringing people in little groups didn't help much, the boat was dangerously overloaded what with two bars, a band and dance floor on the lowest level, and a fire dancer lady up top who, while ravishing, probably ought not have been swinging those fire things around. I tried to get up into the wheelhouse but one guy who lived on the boat had made that his bedroom and was at the doorway desperately trying to keep a couple hundred hipsters out. We snapped a few photos, chatted a bit, and got the hell out of there.

Pretty sure she's still there in the creek in a different spot. Anyone down there want to kayak around looking for it?
posted by vrakatar at 8:19 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

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