I worked two hours on Monday morning in Manchester, New Hampshire....in the afternoon, I took in the Seacoast at Portsmouth and Kittery, ME. I worked two hours in New Hampshire on Tuesday and then headed down to Hyannis on Cape Cod. A Nor'easter was brewing and predicted to wallop the Mid-Atlantic to New England regions. Getting to Cape Cod on Tuesday, prior to the storm was important. My original plan was to use my day off on Wednesday to visit Nantucket via ferry. Unless that storm turned out to be a total dud, it wasn't going to happen. Airlines started canceling all flights throughout the northeast for Wednesday and Thursday...the Ferry suspended service to the island for Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday. Thursday was all but written off.
The weather was supposed to hit Hyannis around 1PM on Wednesday and snow hard and heavy for 12 plus hours. I felt it was best to make my way over to New Bedford, MA on Wednesday morning and get an early check in at the Fairfield Inn & Suites New Bedford. When I arrived, the wind was already gusting over 40MPH. The snow wasn't there, but a spitting, biting, sideways rain/sleet mixture was just making it's debut. Wednesday night was a quick bite out and then early to bed.
I woke up Thursday morning to hear about the storm that peter'd out (as far as snowfall is concerned). Almost no snow, but plenty of slushy stuff and super high winds. I was scheduled for a two hour workday in Fall River that would finish up around noon. After my grueling workday, I headed back to the FFI and was looking for something to do with the rest of Thursday......then it hit me!! I wonder if the ferries are running out of Hyannis to Nantucket???? If so, what did the schedule look like? Could I get to Hyannis, then Nantucket and back sometime Thursday night? You bet I could!!
The slow speed, vehicle and people, ferry would leave Hyannis at 2:45PM and arrive at Nantucket at 5:00PM. The high speed people only ferry would leave at 3:00PM and arrive at 4:00PM. I picked the slow speed since the ship is much larger and I figured it could handle the rough seas better. The return trip had one option. High speed at 8:20PM. I never even thought that the 8:20PM wouldn't sail (that could turn out to be a major miscalculation).
I left New Bedford around 1PM and was purchasing my ticket for the Steamship ferry at 2:15PM. The big bellied ship was getting ready to accept trucks and cars that were lined up for the trip. I know many on here are aviation geeks and get really pumped up on plane travel days. I enjoy that feeling also....BUT, it doesn't even compare to the exhilaration that is firing waiting to board one of these ferries. Thirty miles out to sea to visit a historic island had my heart pumping.
Yes, it was off season....yes, it was still winter cold...yes, it was a three hour visit....but I was stoked!!!
I hinted about the miscalculation for the certainty of the return trip. That possibility hit home when listening to some of my fellow passengers. They were talking about waiting two days to get home to Nantucket. We were chatting about that inconvenience when one nice lady asked me where I was staying when I arrived. I told her I was heading back that evening. Then she said.. "I hope the weather holds up or you'll be looking for a room"... WHAT?????? I can't NOT get back, I needed to be at work in the morning. I started crossing every pair of fingers I had.
The trip out was rough. The Captain asked all folks to get and stay seated once we were out of the channel. I don't often get motion sickness, but I have my limits. I remembered a tip given by a US Air pilot many years ago...he told me to always look at the horizon and that will defeat the motion or sea sickness. I stared at that horizon for two hours on the ride to Nantucket!! There were a couple of passengers that didn't fare too well, but I had no problems!!!
As we entered the harbor area, excitement was building. I snapped a few pictures as we were approaching the dock. Just beautiful. I hopped off the ship and walked around town for a while. I stopped in at the Charlie Noble Restaurant for a bite to eat. It was all locals in a somewhat fancy looking pub setting. I can (and have) sit with locals anywhere on Earth. The lady sitting next to me at the bar was enjoying a mouth watering codfish sandwich. I quickly ordered one for myself and washed it down with the recommended IPA. I didn't want to leave the friendly conversation, but I had more exploring to do. By that time, what local shops that were open in the off season had mostly closed up for the day...so I strolled down cobblestone streets with gorgeous buildings.
Oh by the way, I grabbed a picture of the high speed ferry leaving Nantucket, so I felt confident it would come back to get me.
Back to the ferry terminal on Straight Wharf...and I was heading back to the mainland.