2018 Annual Guide: Martha’s Vineyard
Tobin spends her days in Vineyard Haven during the off-season, and during the summer months she runs the Oak Bluffs terminal, a visually stunning port vulnerable to certain wind and weather conditions. She says weather is always a factor in her days and a constant point of evaluation in determining service. “Today it is much easier to predict the weather, but 30 years ago, we pretty much relied on the reports from the captains as they made the crossings.”
Tobin recalls her greatest challenge over the years when a storm hit the Vineyard just as the busy Labor Day weekend started. “I got to work at 3 a.m. on that Saturday and it looked like an evacuation from World War II, cars lined up as far as you could see. We were successful in getting every last car off the island that needed to by 2 a.m. the following morning; it was a miracle really.” Subsequently, both ports on Martha’s Vineyard were closed for two days, reopening Tuesday.
Growing up in Falmouth, Tobin says she used to drive along the coastline and look over at the island and wonder, “What do those people do all year over there?”—never dreaming she would marry an islander and live her life on the Vineyard. Tobin is an active member of many island-based community organizations including the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, where she has been a board member for a number of years and served on the development committee to build a new hospital on the island. In her precious free time, Tobin says that she makes a point to enjoy everything the island has to offer. “Even just driving up-island is special, as I get to experience the unique views,” she says. “And the summer is always fun. For me, the increased cultural offerings of music and films make it difficult to choose what to do.”
Tobin sums up her 45 years at Steamship by saying, “There have been so many rewarding things about working at the Steamship Authority over the years, but it is usually about the people of this island. It has felt very rewarding to help the island people and be part of the changes the island has seen over the years. Unless you are lucky enough to live here, you don’t fully understand the unique nature of this island.”
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