We are Mark and Judy Handley. We have been writing about our experiences on this website for almost eleven years now. For six of those years, we were sailing around the world on our 42-foot sailboat, Windbird. During those six years and the five years since our circumnavigation, we have posted a log almost daily. We lived aboard all of those years and loved every minute. But we have now sold Windbird and are living in a harbourside apartment in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. The website title has been tweaked just a bit to reflect our new status, “The Voyage of Windbird . . . and Beyond.” We decided not to change things totally because we want to leave the three and a half thousand daily logs and all of the accompanying photos on the website for anyone who might be interested. But for those who would like to continue to follow the current “Voyage of Windbird”, her new owners have a website that will chronicle the adventures. We are proud to introduce you to Sam and Dawn Weigel whose blog “Weigels on the Water” can be found at: http://wotwater.blogspot.com/
NOTE: Due to Google upgrading Picasa to Google Photos, many of our old photos are now broken.  We are actively working on fixing this – thanks for your patience!

2019 Life Logs, Day 258: Computer Blues and Country Music

2019 Life Logs, Day 258: Computer Blues and Country Music
Date: Sunday, September 15, 2019
Weather: Sunny; High 82, Low 59 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

A great part of my day, and of Heather’s day, was spent dealing with the fact that I haven’t been able to send or receive emails on my computer since Friday. The computer blues, once again. I could send and receive emails on my phone, but not through Outlook on my computer since Friday. With persistence, Heather figured out the problem, so thank you, thank you, Heather. But computer issues are so frustrating and time consuming. If I were a talented writer, I’m sure I could write a song expressing the feelings you have when technology just isn’t doing what you want and need it to do. But song lyrics are just not my strength. I must say, however, that watching the first two hours of Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary tonight encouraged my creative side. In this first installment of the series, the history of country music up to 1933 was covered. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I heard songs tonight that I grew up listening to, whether I wanted to listen to them or not. And whether I wanted them to become a part of my very inner soul or not, they are there. Learning the history of how this music evolved is fascinating and I love the way the story is being told in this series. But the one unexpected thing that I heard tonight was the link between church music in this country and the church music of the South Pacific today. One of the joys of sailing across the Pacific was going to churches on Sundays and listening to the fascinating harmonizing of the church congregations. Everyone in the church would start singing and then people would just start singing different parts resulting in fabulous sounds. In the documentary tonight I heard that exact same kind of singing in the churches and tabernacles in this country in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I had never made that connection. There is so much that connects all of us on this earth and it is a beautiful thing.

2019 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin

2019 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday to Justin
Date: Saturday, September 14, 2019
Weather: Sunny, Rain Late; High 75, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I mentioned Justin’s birthday in last night’s log, but since today is his birthday, I want to once again say, “Happy Birthday, Justin.” It is also his Uncle Steve’s birthday, Mark’s brother, so happy birthday to Steve. And Mark’s sister Jeanie has a birthday tomorrow. It is Handley birthday time. Justin and Jo are playing in a music festival in Dixon, New Mexico tonight. There is nothing he would rather be doing than playing music, so I know Justin is enjoying his birthday.

I woke up to the happy sounds of little boys (actually not so little any more). We had breakfast and then Heather came for Sam at 8:45 as he had a Scout commitment. I took Ollie and Jonah home in time for them to get to their respective soccer games. I went to Ollie’s game as it was in town, but Jed had to take Jonah to an away game about an hour or so from here. When they returned Jonah was beaming as he scored a ‘hat trick’ which is three consecutive goals. But back to the afternoon, all I can say is that it was a big crazy. Jonah and Jed didn’t get back home until 3:30. Heather had a party to attend with folks from her work, Ollie had a birthday party to attend, and Sam had to go to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor and then to his soccer game. I helped out by shuttling Sam around, but I didn’t get to go to his soccer game as I was going to ‘dinner and a movie’ in Woods Hole. And that was fantastic.

The Woods Hole Film Festival showcases independent films during a dedicated week in the summer and then monthly showings throughout the year. Tonight, the featured film was Maiden, the story of British sailor Tracy Edwards who skippered an all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1989. It was a first for the Whitbread to have women in the race and the documentary uses video taken during the race by one of the crew members. Much of the sailing in this race is done in the southern ocean which is unbelievably challenging and the video really shows what they had to endure. These women did the unthinkable, even in 1989. The Guardian and other British news outlets didn’t believe women could do this. They thought they would be out in the first leg. But those young women prevailed. What a great story.

2019 Life Logs, Day 256: Goldpebble Overnight

2019 Life Logs, Day 256: Goldpebble Overnight
Date: Friday, September 13, 2019
Weather: Sunny; High 72, Low 52 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Beautiful day, especially considering it was Friday the 13th. The moon will be full just after midnight EDT, but two hours earlier Mountain Daylight Time where Justin is in New Mexico. But we’ll still say he got a full harvest moon for his 42nd birthday tomorrow. I talked to Justin briefly tonight and wished him a happy birthday a few hours early and we talked about how special it is to have a full moon as a birthday present.

The Goldpebbles are sleeping over tonight. Heather and Jed went out to a show written by Sam’s drum teacher and two other people. It is called Black Inscription and the reviews tell me it is a music concert that mixes arts and science. Using music, sound, and imagery, it takes the audience into the oceans. One review said, “Part documentary and part rock opera . . . The music is evocative and as undulating as the water self: its effect is hypnotic . . . mesmerizing . . .” I’ll be really anxious to hear Heather and Jed’s review. Sounds fascinating. Tonight the boys and I watched a movie called Oddball, a true story of how a dog saved a small colony of fairy penguins in southern Australia (called little blues in New Zealand). We all really enjoyed it because there was a lot of comedy even though the story line was serious. Tomorrow is a soccer day for all three boys. I’m afraid I got them to bed a little later than normal, but I’m hoping that they might sleep in tomorrow morning. I know that is asking for a small miracle, but the first couple of weeks of school have been exhausting for them and a little extra sleep would be a good thing.

2019 Life Logs, Day 255: Wonderful Dinner Honoring Granddad

2019 Life Logs, Day 255: Wonderful Dinner Honoring Granddad
Date: Thursday, September 12, 2019
Weather: Overcast with Rain in the AM; High 73, Low 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I attended the first Newcomers meeting of the year this morning and signed up for way too many activities—a walking group, a hiking group, a biking group, a health-issues group, a tech-issues group, a gardening group, a book club, a wine explorers group, a women’s dining group, a singles group, and I think a few more. So, I should have no problem keeping busy this year! But the highlight of my day with dinner with Heather, Jed, Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. The first year after Mark’s death, in September of 2017, we had dinner at the Flying Bridge on Falmouth Harbor in honor of Granddad. Last year I was traveling and had dinner in Philadelphia with Kevin and Claire and Claire’s parents who were visiting from Canada. And this year I invited the Goldstones to have dinner at the Chart Room at Kingman Marina. It is a little north of here, but still on the Cape. Back in the 1990’s we kept our then sailboat, Skybreaker, at Kingman even though we lived in New Hampshire. And during graduate school, Heather lived aboard Skybreaker there for a year. The boys had never been there, so it seemed like a good choice for dinner.

Heather was in Boston today, so she was going to meet us there. I went a little early to pick up Jed and the boys, played basketball with Jonah, and then waited for the boys to get dressed. Jed just asked them to wear a collared shirt, but they all looked really spiffy. I was honored to take such handsome young men to dinner. We all had wonderful meals and the boys enjoyed sitting at the piano bar and listening to the music. And I think the piano player enjoyed their attention. We had a fantastic waitress who asked each of the boys where they go to school. When Jonah said that he goes to Morse Pond, she asked him if he knew a particular teacher. Just so happens the teacher she asked about is his homeroom teacher and he is also the weekend bartender at the Chart Room. And his children work there as well. I think Jonah began to feel like a part of the Chart Room family. Sam was delighted that he could make requests at the piano bar and Ollie looked absolutely love struck watching the piano player. Jonah pointed out that we had to have dessert in Granddad’s honor as that was his favorite part of any meal, and Jonah’s as well. So we did. After dessert, the boys went out to take photos of the boats on the dock and in the anchorage. The moon was beautiful, just a little shy of full. It was chilly tonight, but otherwise, I don’t think it could have been a more perfect evening . . . certainly an evening Mark would have enjoyed.

2019 Life Logs, Day 254: A Day for Remembering

2019 Life Logs, Day 254: A Day for Remembering
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Weather: Overcast AM, Sunny PM, Windy; High 79, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It was a day for remembering the victims of 9/11 and their families, for thinking of my good friend Lynne Kirwin who lost her mother on this day a few years ago, and closer to home, a day dedicated to thinking about Mark who passed away on September 11 three years ago. I headed to Falmouth Heights Beach thinking I would spend most of the day there sitting on the water’s edge relaxing, reading, and reminiscing. But that plan was foiled by the wind. This was what Winnie the Pooh would call a blustery day. The wind was blowing right onto the beach and was strong enough to make you feel like you were being sand blasted. Plus, there was no sunshine. It was just miserable. So, I walked along the water and then down Falmouth Heights Road to where Mark and I lived once we moved off the boat. I followed the path we often walked together which took me along the harbor and through MacDougalls’ marine where the wind was whistling through the masts of the sailboats at the dock and on moorings. It was a very familiar sound. But somehow today my thoughts weren’t focused on our sailing years. I kept going back to when Mark and I first met and made the decision to head to Alaska in hopes of buying land and building a life there. We were to become part of the 70’s ‘back to the land’ movement. My mind probably went in this direction because I am reading a non-fiction book by Mark Adams called Tip of the Iceberg. It is a story about the author’s contemporary travels through Alaska retracing the 1899 Harriman Expedition. Harriman, a railroad magnate, gathered a large group of America’s best scientists, naturalists, and writers and put them all aboard a steamship that took them to the far reaches of Alaska. Reading this book has reminded me of places Mark and I visited in 1974 and today’s ‘remembrance’ gave me the chance to relive that adventure. I think I would have to write a book to tell the whole story, but the bottom line is that in March of 1974 we drove our white Ford truck, with everything we owned in or on top of it, about 1,800 miles from Bloomington, Indiana, to the Canadian border in Montana, and then another 1,600 miles through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon in Canada to reach Haines, Alaska. This whole time, we slept in the back of the truck in the freezing weather and I learned to cook frozen food on the camp stove. It was March, but it was not yet spring in the north lands. The trip was not what I would call fun, although it certainly was an adventure. But the further north we got, the harder it got. The snow-covered gravel Alcan Highway (the Alcan in Canada was not paved back then) stretched out in front of us for what seemed like forever. The days were dreary making our photos look like they were taken in black and white, not color. There was just white snow and what looked like black trees. Nothing looked green. Our first stop in Alaska was Haines as it was first on our list as a place to live in Alaska. Everything we had read indicated that the beauty there was overwhelming, but all we saw was more white and black. There were a few eagles and huge mosquitoes sitting on the snow, and we immediately found that the people who lived there were just not our cup of tea. We just didn’t fit in. We left our truck near Haines and hopped on a ferry to Juneau. Still not our kind of place. We drove to Anchorage and all the way down to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula, again supposed to be drop-dead beautiful, but it just didn’t look like that to us. Then we headed north of anchorage to the Matanuska Valley where we finally saw a little bit of sunshine, but by this time, we were pretty certain that Alaska was not the right fit for us. We drove through the state park part of Denali, through McKinley Park, and on to Fairbanks. By this time the snow was melting and this part of Alaska looked like a desert. I’m not even sure we stopped in Fairbanks. We headed southward as fast as we could to get back to the Lower 48. The book I am reading makes we want to return to Alaska during the late spring or summer months so I can see some of the beauty I hear others rave about. But until I do that, I will continue to think of Alaska in the black and white and rough and tumble terms that Mark and I saw in the spring of 1974.

By the time I had walked all through the Falmouth Heights area and back to my car at the beach, it was almost noon. I drove to the other side of the harbor and just sat for a bit trying to decide where to go to get out of the wind and then I thought of Quissett Harbor. Why didn’t I think of that sooner? It was our home on the water for three summers and the inner harbor beach is protected from southwest winds. As soon as I thought of this, the sun came out. Perfect. So, I spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach at Quissett and finally got to relax, read, and reminisce some more. But even though I was looking at our old anchorage, I continued on with the Alaska theme. It was ironic that I got a text from Justin and Jo during this time. They had just arrived in New Mexico for a visit and had gone directly to their converted Greyhound bus that is still there in storage. They had found Mark’s old felt hat. It was fairly new when I met him and he wore it all time. Justin sent a photo of Jo wearing the more than well-worn hat with the peace sign and broken gun pins still in place. That brought back more memories and when I got home I searched for a picture of Mark wearing that hat. I found it hard to believe that I could find only one picture. Surely there are more, but I’ll have to dig a little deeper to continue that search. And that is for another day. I didn’t get to see the Goldstones today, but I just got a beautiful email from Heather telling me about her bedtime discussion with the boys about Granddad. As Sam said, “Sad but okay.” We will be together for dinner tomorrow night at a restaurant on the water in honor of Granddad.

2019 Life Logs, Day 253: A Special Day in New Hampshire

2019 Life Logs, Day 253: A Special Day in New Hampshire
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Weather: NH–Overcast; High 68, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was a special day. I drove all the way to New Hampshire just to give my friend Leslie a big hug and it was worth every minute of the drive there and back. Leslie lost her husband Rich last Wednesday. It was totally unexpected, and I think Leslie is still in shock, as are all of us who knew and loved him. Leslie and I took a 4-mile walk along the seashore and then went out to lunch. I returned home tonight as tomorrow is the third anniversary of Mark’s death. I plan to spend most of my day on Falmouth Heights Beach just thinking happy thoughts about him.

2019 Life Logs, Day 252: Doctor Day

2019 Life Logs, Day 252: Doctor Day
Date: Monday, September 9, 2019
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 77, Low 58 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

I named this log ‘Doctor Day’ because I spent most of my day in one doctor’s office or another. Starting bright and early, I had my yearly physical exam with my primary care physician. All good news there, so I drove home, took a nap, and got ready for the next appointment. The afternoon doctor appointment was for a procedure that required fasting after midnight and the appointment wasn’t until 2 pm. Thus, the reason for the nap. I didn’t have to think about food or water while I was sleeping! That procedure also required anesthesia, so I had to have a driver. Jane Woodin volunteered to drive me to Hyannis. She went grocery shopping while waiting for me to be ready to go home. Thank you, Jane! When I got home, I ate, and ate, and am now getting ready to eat again. Tomorrow I leave early for a day trip to New Hampshire, so I’m hoping to get to bed early. That seems to be an impossibility for me, but maybe tonight . . .

2019 Life Logs, Day 251: Dining-in with Friends

2019 Life Logs, Day 251: Dining-in with Friends
Date: Sunday, September 8, 2019
Weather: Mostly Sunny and Warmer; High 79, Low 55 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was beautiful and the warmth continued on into the early evening. When my dining-in group friends arrived at 5:30, we decided to have appetizers outside. When we have these dinners, everyone brings something and this evening Terry and Olivia White brought the appetizers, shrimp and cheese and crackers. I was serving lobster salad over a bed or tomatoes and lettuce. Bruce and Jane Woodin brought fabulous corn on the cob, and I had to laugh when I saw Jane was wearing her fall apron to boil the corn. Midge Frieswyk brought amazing bread, but she didn’t bring Bill. They are leaving for a vacation in Europe this Thursday and Bill was home nursing a knee that has been giving him trouble in the hopes that it will be better by departure time. Peter and Karen Baranowski brought cream puffs, enough that everyone could have two, and most everyone did. They were delicious.

While we were together, Olivia kept checking her phone to get updates on the Dallas Cowboys football game. Olivia is passionate about many things in life, but nothing is she more passionate about than football. And when she left, she was going home to watch the Patriots game. So, after everyone left, I decided that I should tune in and watch the Patriots game as well. But when I turned on the TV, there was Ken Burns narrating a special on public television promoting his newest documentary of the history of country music. The special tonight was Live at the Ryman in Nashville and before I could switch channels a young country music star was singing ‘Crazy’, written by Willie Nelson and made famous by Patsy Cline. I was hooked. I didn’t switch the channel to watch the Patriots, but instead watched the rest of the special and then continued watching when it was replayed so that I could the beginning of the program. My first memories of country music were when my oldest brother and his friends would sing Hank Williams songs. Then I remember listening to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys on the radio. My father evidently loved them as all I ever remember hearing on the radio was them playing bluegrass and then listening to the Grand Ole Opry. By the time I was in first grade, I hated bluegrass, hated all country music, and certainly didn’t appreciate Minnie Pearl. I was old enough to realize that being from West Virginia, as well as liking country music, was something that many people from other places made fun of. So, I spent years finding a way to leave West Virginia and leave country music behind. It wasn’t until I first heard Willie Nelson and Leon Russell sing “On the Road Again” and John Denver sing “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” that I started to realize that maybe I had made a mistake. As an adult, I have regained a respect for country music and a love and appreciation of the beauty of West Virginia. Ken Burns’ 16-hour documentary covering the history of country music begins airing on PBS next Sunday. I’ll be watching.

2019 Life Logs, Day 250: Tomatoes

2019 Life Logs, Day 250: Tomatoes
Date: Saturday, September 7, 2019
Weather: Windy AM, Clearing PM; High 73, Low 58 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Thankfully, Dorian passed by during the night basically unnoticed and has finally moved on from the US. But it is now moving northeastward across Nova Scotia. Will it ever end? It is one exhausting storm to watch and one devastating storm to so many people. None were hit like the islands in the northern Bahamas and we still don’t know the extent of damage and death there. When I see pictures, it looks like total devastation. The Bahamians I met while sailing there were proud people who loved their country. Not sure how they will rebuild, but I know they will.

My day was totally dedicated to getting those tomatoes turned into marinara sauce. I did it and just put the pot in the refrigerator for the night. Hopefully it will get canned over the next couple of days.

2019 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather and Jed

2019 Life Logs, Day 249: Happy Anniversary to Heather and Jed
Date: Friday, September 6, 2019
Weather: Overcast, Rain Starting Mid-Afternoon; High 70, Low 61 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Happy 16th wedding anniversary to Heather and Jed! I tried to encourage them to go out to dinner or at least stop for Happy Hour on their way home, so I went over to be with the boys after school. But when they got home, we found out they had gone shopping instead. But at least they went shopping to by themselves an anniversary present. Evidently the modern gift for the 16th is silver hollowware, so Heather stretched that a bit to buy the stainless steel risotto pot she has been wanting. It is hollow and the stainless steel looks a little like silver. The important thing is that she and Jed were very happy with their purchase. They left the kitchen shop and stopped to buy wine and they both seemed very pleased with their selections. They were going to have mushroom risotto and good wine for dinner at home with the boys . . . a wonderful family celebration of the occasion.

I spent my day processing the 30 pounds of tomatoes I bought yesterday. The process for making marinara sauce is to first blanch the tomatoes, put them in cool water, and then peel and deseed them. I found my tiny kitchen perfect for this as the stove is right next to the sink. The next step is chopping the onions, celery, and carrots, sauté them, add the spices, and then then put all of the ingredients in the VitaMix. The Goldpebbles won’t eat the sauce if they see a piece of tomato, so the VitaMix takes care of that problem. Hopefully by late morning tomorrow I’ll have the sauce bubbling on the stove and then the canning will take place on Sunday. I have my Dining-in Group coming on Sunday evening, so I did a little getting ready for that today as well. The weather was not inspirational, and we are supposed to have more rain and tropical storm force winds overnight. If we are lucky, it will just be like a good nor’easter and things will clear by the afternoon. I certainly won’t be sad to see Dorian leave the United States. I think we are all exhausted with following the twists and turns of this storm and all of the people affected are still reeling with the damage it has wrought. Thankfully the US was spared the worst, but the news out of the Bahamas is just devastating. After Dorian pays us a visit during the night, it is supposed to make a pass by Nova Scotia and then hopefully out to the sea . . . finally.