PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Boat Trip

If you've never driven to Long Island from New England, you might be surprised to find that there is a large body of water between Connecticut and New York that you cannot cross via a bridge. Google Maps makes it look like an undisturbed road gets you from your home in Massachusetts to your cousin's wedding in Montauk, but the inch or so width of Long Island Sound on a map turns out to be almost 18 miles in "real life." That's a bridge too far.

Thankfully, Ferry service exists, shuttling you and your vehicles (I brought a bike as well as a car) across the choppy waters, with views of sailboards and waterfront homes, and evidence that you don't have COVID (the ship's exhaust affirming that I haven't lost my sense of smell). Now on Empire State soil, I am mystified when I see that the last 30 miles of the trip will take nearly two hours, even with little indication that traffic jams are causing delays.

And then I'm in a line of cars being directed onto another ferry – a small barge-like thing. I am unprepared for this second boat, with no reservation in hand. "You pay on the ferry" I'm told by one of the guys directing me onward. "Cash only." This ferry takes 10 minutes to get us onto Shelter Island, and soon I'm on at another dock, and now on my third ferry, another little puddle-jumper, which puts me on solid Long Island terra firma, with lots of towns that have "Hampton" in their name.The two-hours was diminished to just a little over an hour thanks to timing – the second and third ferries that I was entirely unprepared for both left the dock just moments after I drove aboard.

The return trip was managed by avoiding the two smaller ferries and taking a circuitous route back to Orient Point, as I worried that on Sundays the ferry service wouldn't run. Not a chance! What would become of Shelter Island residents who accidently find themselves choking on their brunch? It can't be that paramedics can't ford the waters (note the double negative), just because it's the Lord's day. (Or is the Lord's Day Saturday? I lost track of the Lord's Day many score moons ago).

Turns out that ferry service is essential, just like pharmacies, hardware stores, and cannabis shops (in California). Of course, if you're choking on your wedding steak, a ferry bringing Heimlich experts or this device that I'd like to buy won't help much.

Those Shelter Island residents have a great deal of guts. 

Let's Cut To The Chase
Patrick The Balding
 

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Thursday, 28 October 2021

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