Aquinnah: Portuguese man o’ wars

— Kyra Steck

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! We made it. This was one of the roughest summers I have ever experienced here on M.V. It started out like, “We survived the pandemic, and this is going to be awesome!” and quickly turned into “Wow, the pandemic is still here and actually getting worse, but I am not going to change any of my vacation plans.” The Island felt crowded with people, many of whom seemed lacking in either judgement or manners or both. I did encounter many lovely people who were respectful of other people’s wellbeing, but it seemed like there was more egregious behavior than prior summers. It could also be that my expectations of people to be kind and patient (since we are still in a pandemic) were just a little too high. In any event, I hope things settle down this month, the roads clear out and people are a little kinder. I am also resolving now to look for the positive in any situation involving other people starting now, or maybe I’ll start on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

Things will be a little quieter at the Cliffs after Labor Day weekend. This will be the last weekend that the Gay Head Lighthouse is open for tours. The Aquinnah Shop’s last night of the season will be Saturday, Sept. 4. All other businesses at the Cliffs remain open. The Chilmark General Store is closing one hour earlier, at 6 pm this week, they open at 8 am. The Outermost Inn will be open for dinner through Saturday, Oct. 9.

The select board unanimously approved the appointments of Kathy Olsen as Aquinnah’s Up-Island Council on Aging representative, and Jay Theise to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The town is still looking for people to join the personnel committee and an Aquinnah representative for the Martha’s Vineyard Cable TV Advisory Committee. If you are interested in serving on either of these committees, please contact Sophia at or 508-645-2300.

Many Portuguese man o’ wars have been spotted at both Moshup and Philbin Beaches. Beachgoers are urged to keep their eyes out for Portuguese man o’ war while swimming and walking along the shoreline. If you are swimming and see something that looks like a balloon floating on top of the water, stay far away from it. Once the Portuguese man o’ war gets into the surf zone, if the water is rough, the tentacles can break apart and they can continue to sting even while unattached. The sting is very painful and can leave scars on people with more sensitive skin. This is true even after they have washed up on the beach. Man o’ war stings can be treated by carefully removing any remaining tentacles with tweezers or a gloved hand, rinsing the area with white vinegar and then soaking the skin in hot, but not scalding, water for at least 20 minutes.

Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases across the Island, which has caused dwindling attendance, Neva Goldstein is suspending her in-person yoga classes at the town hall for the season. However, if anyone would like to arrange a private, semi-private, or even small group class, she would love to arrange that. It could be a one-time thing, or ongoing. She is willing to do this outside or inside. If interested, please contact Neva at or 914-772-5719.

TestMV, the free COVID-19 testing site moved this past Monday, it is now located at the Ag Hall. The hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. They are closed on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. To make an appointment, call 877-336-9855 or register online at, you can also show up onsite and register with a smart device.

People have started returning to their winter homes in the past week. Jeffie Butler and her tribe have returned to Colorado. Kate and Tim Kausch will be around on the weekends for as long as they can be once their little ones are back in school. School starts on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, Sept. 8, good luck everyone! George Riley Metros turned 1 year old on August 29! Happy Birthday, little George. Happy Birthday to Kuhpay Vanderhoop, who celebrates on Sept. 3, Emerson Mahoney, Sept. 4, and Paul Manning, who celebrates on Sept. 7.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves,