A fast-tracked, celebrity-style passenger drop by SeaStreak

Elizabeth (Bess) Stone had a special drop off in Oak Bluffs after accidentally getting on a ferry to Nantucket.

Elizabeth (Bess) Stone tells The Times about her pleasant, first experience with SeaStreak after getting on the wrong ferry. — Natalie Aymond

When you think about getting on the SeaStreak ferry, buying a ticket, and following a schedule, you wouldn’t assume that vessel would stop for anyone or anything.

But it did for Elizabeth (Bess) Stone, a 50-year Martha’s Vineyard resident, after she accidentally got on and bought a fast ferry ticket to Nantucket after returning a leased car in Dartmouth last Thursday.

Stone had made arrangements with the car dealer to get a ride to the fast ferry, but when she got there, the boat was getting ready to leave, and she was rushed aboard without buying her ticket first. With the boat departing and it being her first time on it, she climbed aboard and made the purchase, only to realize once she sat down that the ferry was headed to the wrong island.

Committed to the ride, there was nothing else for Stone to do except sit back and try to enjoy it. Once she got to Nantucket, she would stay onboard and return to New Bedford, where the ticket salesmen assured her they would be back in time for her to catch the last boat back to the Vineyard. Stone told The Times there was nothing to do but laugh about it with the man at the ticket counter. 

As she settled in for her four-hour detour, the ticket salesman came back to inform her that the captain, Capt. Keith (“Chuck”) Davoll, was going to make a special stop for her in Oak Bluffs. “You better be ready,” he told her, to which Stone said, “You just tell me where you want me.” She gathered her book and bag, and got ready to make a quick exit. She said Davoll jokingly announced her “stowaway” presence aboard to the passengers, and the stop they were going to make for her.

According to Stone, a friend of hers who was picking her up said, “I watched it pull in, one person got off, and they were out of there in a flash.” When she got off, Stone said Davoll leaned down and said, “I hope you appreciate this,” which she did, as she expressed in a Letter to the Editor to The Times. Stone acknowledged the kindness of SeaStreak and thanked its captain and crew. 

The Times spoke with Davoll, who has been a captain for SeaStreak since 2005, asking him about his decision to drop Stone off. He explained that it really wasn’t her fault she was on the wrong ferry, as in the hurry to get on and depart, there was little communication between Stone and the ferry valet about where she was headed. Stone would have been on the ferry for four hours, which Davoll and his crew agreed was a long time, and they wanted to help out. 

When asked who makes the call on an off-course pit stop like this one, Davoll said, “It’s all me,” but added that he talked to his crew about it because, “You never know if someone is going to be very upset being 15 minutes late.” Ultimately, despite the delay it would cause, the captain and crew made the call to stop in Oak Bluffs. “To save her four hours we were about 15 minutes behind, but no one minded,” Davoll said.

Matt Ward, general manager for SeaStreak, said it’s not the first time someone has gotten on the wrong boat. “Surprisingly, this happens a couple of times a summer,” he told The Times. Ward said that there are signs that try to specify which boats are for Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, partly influenced by a large party, about eight or nine men from the Boston area at the beginning of this summer, who got split up by ferry confusion. Ward said that one-half of the party was late, and the other half accidentally got on the ferry to Nantucket when they were all supposed to be heading to the Vineyard, which they figured out partway to Nantucket. Ward said some backtracking had to be done to reunite them in New Bedford again before they all continued onto the Vineyard later that day. 


    • Well, hard to say now but about 45 years ago, 2 nuns got on the wrong SSA ferry, (back when they ran from WH to both MV and Nantucket). Much to the consternation of some passengers, they turned the boat around and returned to WH to drop them off.
      Perhaps the SSA was concerned that they might burn in hell, otherwise.

      • Dana–Who is the “they” that might burn? Nuns or ssa employees ?
        45 years ago, the church did not tolerate “mistakes” by females.
        If I read the Christian criteria to get into hell correctly, it should be chock full of nuns.

  1. Way long ago I left my wallet on the ‘Bonanza’ bus when it dropped me off in WH. I told the perser at the time ‘Burnie’. He called the bus, they confirmed the wallet, the SSA held the boat until the bus returned from Falmouth to hand me the wallet. Of course my ticket was in the wallet too.
    Things have changed a bit now, but I will always remember that act of kindness.

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