Once again Chappy is an island and Norton Point is actually a point.

During the Friday morning before Christmas, a combination of southerly gale winds and an already very high tide washed over and then breached the barrier beach connecting Chappaquiddick to Martha’s Vineyard. As of Tuesday morning, even at low tide, Atlantic Ocean water was moving freely into Katama Bay. The opening seems to be shallow, especially at its western side from which a crescent spit has formed, arching counterclockwise in to the bay. The eastern side already shows signs of erosion, which creates the conventional eastern migration of the whole formation.

As for signs of erosion, over the weekend nearly a dozen feet of solid ground disappeared from the bluff in front of the Wacks’s house. The threat that the previous breach posed for their house came with months of warning. This time around it was mere hours.

We can only guess at what the process will be for the healing of this latest rupture in the island’s defenses against the sea. It’s possible that wind-blown and water-borne sand could fill the gap sufficiently to stop the flow in a matter of weeks. Or the entire opening may need to migrate eastward until the tip of Norton Point reaches the currents of Muskeget Channel, where it will be deflected against the corner of Wasque. That may take months, even years to complete.

Also on that Friday morning, the school bus made it over to Chappy and then back with the high schoolers as the harbor surface gradually rose onto Dock street. By the time the bus came back to fetch the grammar schoolers, it was too late for another round trip. The storm tide rapidly flooded the land end of the Edgartown ramp to a depth of nearly two feet at the time of high tide.

Caleb and I waded around the ferry house in five inches of very chilly salt water, standing by in case of an emergency. Wind gusts out of the east reached 50 knots. At 8 a.m., the On Time III was moved to the face of Memorial Wharf, where it could rest safely against the tall batter pilings.

When the tide turned, the water receded much more rapidly than it had inundated. The wind veered around to the southwest, which put the waterfront in the lee of the town. Shortly before 1 p.m., regular service resumed. The ferry remained available for emergencies during the five hours that regular service was interrupted. For the remainder of the storm, the ferry ran normally.

Saturday morning, we awoke to find that we would have a white Christmas. The snow was so light and fluffy that in addition to shovels we used a leaf blower to clear off the ferry boats. To the delight of some and the dismay of others, snow continued to fall well beyond the weatherman’s promised end.

Remember that along with the new year come new ferry fares. Confirm with the ferry captain before you write a dollar amount on your check. Ask the ferry captain for a printout of the complete list of new fares that go into effect on Jan. 1.