Dinner on Chappaquiddick
Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Sat 23 Jul 2011 12:46
Last night, Friday, we were picked up by Rick at the Chappy Ferry and driven over to their home for dinner, we picked up Chrissie from the house and were given a drive around the main features of the island, which is just beautiful. This is truly an island as the last remaining link of land to Martha’s Vineyard washed away in 2007 and the gap is widening every year at about 100m per year, taking car parks, dirt roads and moving homes nearer the sea.
All this sand is washed out onto the shoal banks and is forming small islands which are being populated by seals and their main predator the Great White Shark is back on the scene, after Jaws was filmed here in 1974, and have been sighted in MV Sound. Earlier this week a young girl was attacked while paddling with her parents, probably a Mako Shark, so I have cancelled my plans to dive on the boat and check the prop and anodes
Rick and Chrissie are a mine of information, he and his family have always been around boat builders and over dinner he told me about casting the 5 tonne lead keel for Destiny. He got a scrap keel from one yacht cut one of another damaged yacht using a chainsaw, then got three cast iron baths, set up a chimney and air system around them and lit an oakwood fire to raise the 600 degree temperature. Then they had an elbow pipe which they rotated down into the mould and had to heat this with an oxyacetylene torch to get the lead running, then he watched as the previous yachts 1” stainless keel bolts floated to the top of the bath as the lead melted. The mould had been made from concrete and he had to calculate the final keel size as lead shrinks 1/8” per foot as it cools, meaning it would shrink more in length than it would in width or depth. I won’t tell you how it fitted the keel to his Destiny with carbon fibre – just all fascination stuff.
During our drive we went past Meg Ryan’s home and a new build that is allegedly being built for Lady Gaga as her Manager already has a place on Chappy, only one road, the rest are dirt, no pubs, no restaurants, no shops and only about 110 people living here in winter, when the sea water lakes and sometimes even the harbour freeze !!
Our drive around the island included what the locals call “The Kennedy Car Wash” and is not on the way to the Chappy Ferry where he totally missed the bridge, drove into the water, got out and left poor Mary Jo (who was alive at that time) then walked 1 mile up a dirt road, 2 miles on the tarmac road to the Ferry, (past lots of houses that could have called for help) then swam across the harbour (as the Ferry had stopped for the night), went to his hotel and called his lawyer. He was never charged with manslaughter, the locals think that Mary Jo didn’t die in vain as this incident stopped Edward Kennedy ever becoming President.
In the car on the way back to the ferry Rick told us about a house that used to belong to General Hooker, who had a reputation for taking prostitutes to war to keep him warm in the evenings – see the note below from Wikipedia
General “Fighting” Joe Hooker's reputation as a hard-drinking ladies' man was established through rumours in the pre-Civil War Army and has been cited by a number of popular histories. Biographer Walter H. Hebert describe the general's personal habits as the "subject of much debate" although there was little debate in the popular opinion of the time.
There is a popular legend that "hooker" as a slang term for a prostitute is derived from his last name because of parties and a lack of military discipline at his headquarters. Some versions of the legend claim that the band of prostitutes that followed his division were derisively referred to as "General Hooker's Army" or "Hooker's Brigade." However, the term "hooker" was used in print as early as 1845, years before Hooker was a public figure, and is likely derived from the concentration of prostitutes around the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook area of Manhattan in the early to middle 19th century, who came to be referred to as "hookers". The prevalence of the Hooker legend may have been at least partly responsible for the popularity of the term.