Oak Bluffs: Anniversary of steamship rescue

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— Shelby Regan

Under the leaves in the sunny area in my backyard, the first courageous plants of spring are poking green shoots to reach warmth and daylight. The weather forecast predicted a bit of snow flurries for this Monday, but luckily none are in sight. COVID is still restricting our lives, but hope is shining ahead for an effective vaccine and new treatments. So keep being strong and kind and follow instructions to keep all of us safe.

On March 15, 2021, it will be 41 years to the day when a memorable event occurred in Oak Bluffs that could have ended in tragedy for many, but due to the swift actions of citizens from all over the Island, an amazing rescue occurred instead. When the steamship vessel Islander was headed into the dock, it struck a huge rock that ripped a hole in the boat resulting in water rushing in and the vessel was in danger of sinking. Captain Jardin was at the helm and managed to dock the boat and passengers were quickly evacuated. By the time the Islander reached the dock, it was met by the Oak Bluffs Fire Department, and volunteers and fire department crews from all over the Island. They worked tirelessly for hours, pumping out the water and were able to remove all the cars that drivers were not able to drive off as the boat and ramp were too low in the water. Finally, many hours later, a diver was able to patch the opening and the vessel Islander was saved to faithfully serve the Island for many more years.

Family and friends of Eric deBettencourt came to say a last goodbye on Saturday last. Because of COVID, the gathering was restricted to a limited number of mourners. Eric’s daughter Emily and his fiance Holly both spoke in loving and humorous terms about Eric. His love and joyous humor will be forever remembered by many throughout the Island and beyond.

Registration is still open for both boys and girls youth lacrosse. Martha’s Vineyard Youth League is offering both travel teams and Island league teams and also has made it possible for anyone who does not have equipment to borrow from the league. The Travel Team games start March 15, and the Island teams on April 12. To enroll or for more information log onto: mvyouthlacrosse.com.

Our library still offers Virtual Cooking with Carolina. On March 13 from 5 to 6 pm, Carolina will demonstrate how to make a new recipe from her own kitchen from Facebook live. Join in on facebook.com/illuminateob. Curbside Crafts for children will take place on March 17 from noon to 4 pm. Please call the library at 508 693-9433 to get instructions on how to sign up for this paper plate lion or sheep craft.

We send birthday smiles to Willie deBettencourt, Pauline Gregory, Janice Rose, and Molly deBettencourt on March 12, Jenny Hart on the 13th, Jib Ellis on March 15, and Edith Rousseau, Kelly DeBettencourt, Joe Moujabber, and Jaime Leon on the 18th.
Enjoy your week. Peace.

If you have any Oak Bluffs Town Column suggestions, email Megan Alley, meganislandmegan@comcast.net.