Welcome to The Voyage of Windbird . . . and Beyond.  My name is Judy Handley and I live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  For six years of my life, my husband Mark and I sailed around the world.  I documented that story, one day at a time, in this blog that was then just called The Voyage of Windbird.  Those daily logs from 2005 to 2011 tell the story of our circumnavigation.  While sailing, my daily logs were sent via Ham radio to the internet to appear on this blog spot each morning.  My son Justin made that happen, and to this day, I don’t understand the process.  But it was like magic.  I would sit in the cockpit each afternoon around 4 pm and summarize the day’s activities.  During the evening when the conditions were just right for sending radio emails, my husband would send the log.  The next morning my son, my daughter, other members of my family and good friends would read the news and know exactly where in the world we were and what fun we were having.  

After almost 6 years of traveling, we sailed into Woods Hole on Cape Cod.  We continued living aboard for the next five years and I wrote about that, adding ‘and Beyond’ to the title of the blog.  Then shortly before Mark’s death in 2016, we sold our beloved Windbird and my travel logs became land logs.  At this point, I had written a daily account for each and every day for 11 years.  I fully intended to end the blog at that point, but when I wrote that news in a log, I got many responses saying that I really needed to keep posting.  At the same time, I realized that I couldn’t stop writing.  Summarizing each day had become a permanent part of my life and I will probably continue writing until I can no longer.  These postings reflect the ordinary, and sometimes the extraordinary, days in my life and I would like to invite you to join me on my journey.

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!

2020 Life Logs, Day 260: Ping Pong Table Arrival

2020 Life Logs, Day 260: Ping Pong Table Arrival
Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 73, Low 60 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This morning the Goldstones drove to Yarmouth to play mini-golf at what has been the Goldpebbles favorite course in the past. Saturday is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so going to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf today was the perfect end of summer family activity. Heather and Jed are going to be deeply immersed in house projects this weekend in preparation of the beginning of the school year on Monday. So, they carved out a couple of hours today to have this end-of-summer fun with the Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. And while they were out, they got a text saying the ping pong table had arrived. They were expecting that on Monday, so the boys were very excited to get home and start putting that together. When the Goldstones moved to Grasmere in April, I gave each of the boys a $100 to buy something special for their new home. It has taken a few months for them to make the decision, but the ping pong table for the basement finally won out. Our afternoon was ‘ping pong’ centered. We are expecting rain tonight and into tomorrow, so I have a feeling it will be another inside, ping pong day. I am going to cut this log short as I find myself falling asleep when I try to write. I think I need to get to bed earlier than my usual ‘after midnight’!

2020 Life Logs, Day 259: The Warriors and Wine Group Friends

2020 Life Logs, Day 259: The Warriors and Wine Group Friends
Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Very Windy; High 70, Low 62 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

It was another great day with the Goldpebbles even though our original plan didn’t work out. I went early to pick them up and take them to Chapaquoit Beach. From there we were going to walk along the shore to Black Beach, a private beach that can only be reached by living on Black Beach Road, or by getting there by boat or by walking as the road leading in is private. We knew the high temp today was going to be about 70 degrees F and the sun was shining. But we were not prepared for the strong winds that were blowing when we got to Chappy Beach. Jonah and Ollie had on their dive suits, but even with that protection, the wind put a chill into the air that none of us really wanted to confront. So we changed plans and headed to my house.
The boys launched a kayak and Sam paddled out towing the Rubber Dockie. Jonah and Ollie followed on their boogie boards. They reached the Rubber Dockie, but the wind was blowing so hard that the edges of the mat were being blown up out of the water acting like a sail. They persisted for a bit, but much sooner than usual, they headed back to the dock. We had our picnic lunch down by the dock, with the boys rotating turns at heading to the cottage to take showers. Once everyone had a shower and lunch, we headed on to the next activity which was building body armor out of recycled materials.
Using the insulation that lines my weekly deliveries of organic fruits and veggies from Misfits, along with a lot of duct tape and clear packing tape, all three boys crafted their armor. They ended up having only a few minutes to battle in the backyard, but they enjoyed those few minutes. Sam had a friend arriving at his house at 3:30 pm, so we had to stop the battle and head home. Once I dropped the boys off, I then headed to a monthly meeting of my Newcomers Wine Group.

This month’s Wine Group meeting was at Kim Caverly’s in West Falmouth. We met on her deck, using social distancing. There are four couples plus Kim and I in the group, so ten of us all together. I love getting together with this interesting, eclectic, and fun-loving group of people. This month’s theme was simply to pick a bottle of wine that was in our wine collection to bring as a mystery wine. White wine drinkers brought bottles of red wine and red wine drinkers brought white wines. It was an interesting conglomeration of wines that were enjoyed by all. It was a great evening, giving each of us a time to talk about how we are doing during these Covid times. Kim was a most gracious host and sent each of us home with a wine bottle filled with battery-operated twinkle lights. And she turned us on to individually packaged snacks from Trader Joe’s that are the perfect snack to serve during Covid times. Thank you, Kim.

2020 Life Logs, Day 258: Another Mini-Golf Course Afternoon

2020 Life Logs, Day 258: Another Mini-Golf Course Afternoon
Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Weather: Partly Sunny, Cool; High 64, Low 50 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

The first official day of fall is next Tuesday, September 22, but there was a definite chill in the air that made it feel like fall. Yesterday was coolish as well, but as Sam said today, “It was cool yesterday and it made me feel like fall is here. But I chose to ignore it, thinking it might go away. Today is even cooler and I can no longer ignore it. It feels official. Fall is here.” Well said, Sam. I didn’t bet the boys home until after six o’clock and the sun was already setting. It was a beautiful orange sun due to hazy conditions, but that made it feel even more like fall.
Sam grabbed my phone and got some photos of the orange sun. It only looks pinkish in the photos, but it was definitely orange . . . looked like a pumpkin in the sky. I got home after 7 pm and I was out walking Shadow in the dark with a polar fleece jacket on. I know I need to get used to it, but I’m banking on warmer weather returning and having summer-like conditions for another month. I know that probably won’t happen, but I’m allowed to hope.

Yesterday afternoon the Goldpebbles and I went to the closest mini-golf course to home, the Cataumet Light Mini Golf. We went there because we love to ride in the water bumper cars. Unfortunately, the bumper cars were closed for the season. Despite that, as I reported last night, we had a great time playing miniature golf with very few other people on the course.
Our plan was to play on a different course today and the boys chose the Sandwich Mini Golf based on the 4.5 rating. There you can play 18 holes or 36, so we chose 36 and the boys loved the course. At first we didn’t notice the biblical quotes on each tee, but after about 16 holes they became very apparent. Not a problem, just different, but what the boys did love was the stream that runs through the first half of the course. If you don’t hit your ball just right, it goes into the stream and you have to retrieve it with a special long pole retriever. The Goldstones loved this. All of us got our turn at making a hole in one and we enjoyed watching the trash train go right by the edge of the course. Yes, all the trash on the Cape has to be sent off Cape to be processed, so we have a dedicated trash train. The new owners call it the Energy Train, but Cape Codders will always refer to it as the trash train. On the way home we had hoped to stop by Sweet Caroline’s Ice Cream, a favorite on Cape Cod, to see how their ice cream stacks up against our local favorite, Smitty’s. Again, we struck out as Sweet Caroline’s is closed for the season. It was almost dinner time, but I caved and we stopped by Smitty’s to get frappes as a pre-dinner ‘snack’. Heather and Jed, please forgive me. The Goldpebbles and I are enjoying our last week of summer to the fullest and ice cream just has to be part of that!

2020 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday, Justin

2020 Life Logs, Day 257: Happy Birthday, Justin
Date: Monday, September 14, 2020
Weather: Mix of Sun and Clouds; High 75, Low 52 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Happy birthday to Mark’s brother Steve. Happy birthday to my ‘second’ son, Kevin Russell. And happy birthday to Justin. I didn’t get to talk to him for long today as he and the kids were in the truck heading into town to get ice cream when I called. But going to get ice cream led me to believe that he was having a great day! When I think back to the day Justin was born, it brings back such wonderful memories.
He was born at home in the tiny little town of Jenkins, Minnesota where we had a small 10-acre farm. I was in the barn lifting a 50-pound bag of feed when I went into labor and twelve hours later, Justin was born. He was an easy baby as he slept for the first six months. And when he was awake, I had Heather, his second mother, to take care of him. After six months, when he did wake up, he was a happy little one . . . always smiling. One of my favorite pictures of him is one I took on his Day One. We were out in the field, Justin in Mark’s arms with Heather at his side. And I do think Justin was sleeping. Happy Birthday, Justin!

As the Goldpebbles stated last night, this is their last week of freedom. School starts next Monday, so we are trying to cram in all the things we didn’t do this summer into this one week. Today was mini-golf day. Most of the tourists are gone now, so it is much safer to go out and about to do things like this. We also worked on getting the basement set up as an activity center once school starts. The ping pong table doesn’t arrive until the first day of school, but today we got the Legos moved to new Lego Central in the basement and we got the music ‘room’ set up. Today we went to the closest mini-golf course, but tomorrow we might venture further and go to another. We ended our day at the skatepark. It is always more crowded late in the day, so maybe tomorrow we will go there first and then go play mini-golf.

This morning I got on my phone to send a Happy Birthday text to Justin. But his contact information was not in my new phone. So I went to my computer and got his number. Then I wanted to send a birthday message to Kevin, but I found that neither he nor Claire were in the computer contacts. I found an old email address for Kevin’s mother and this evening I sent her an email. Shortly, I received a message back with Kevin’s contact info and then I got a text and an email from him. But almost none of my current friends are among the few contacts that are in my new phone or in my computer contact list. And I have lost all of my prior texts, so I can’t find you that way. If you are a good friend, please send me a text so I will have your phone number. And if you have time, include your email and mailing address. It would be much appreciated. Rebuilding my contacts from scratch is quite a project.

2020 Life Logs, Day 256: Day of Rest

2020 Life Logs, Day 256: Day of Rest
Date: Sunday, September 13, 2020
Weather: Sunny AM, Partly Sunny PM; High 70, Low 64 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This was a laid-back Sunday, a day of rest as it should be. The Goldstones were going to the beach in the afternoon, so I took advantage of their absence and went over to do my laundry. I took Shadow with me and then brought him home and returned for dinner on the deck. We had a special sushi dinner in honor of Granddad.

This is the last week before school, whatever that is going to look like, begins next Monday. The boys have a list of things they really want to do before summer’s end, so we will spend our week and next weekend doing those things. Heather and Jed are planning to spend next weekend installing the wood flooring in Jonah and Ollie’s bedroom. Our favorite contractor is coming on Wednesday and Thursday to do the walls, and then Heather and Jed do the floor on the weekend. Hopefully by sometime in the first week of school, they will be moved into their new bedroom . . . finally. Since moving to the new house in April, they have been sleeping in the bonus room over the garage and they love it. But it needs to become the main office/school space for this year. They hate to give it us, but I know they will enjoy having their own bedroom. So the push is on this week to get things ready for the new school year, a year like none other!

2020 Life Logs, Day 255: New Phone, New Provider, Lots to Learn

2020 Life Logs, Day 255: New Phone, New Provider, Lots to Learn
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2020
Weather: Beautiful Day, Still on the Cool Side; High 69, Low 53 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

As of this afternoon I am in possession of my 4th phone in four years. I’m not bragging, just stating that my track record with phones is not good. I’m not sure when I made the switch from an old flip phone to a smart phone, but I do know I resisted for at least a couple of years after we returned from our sailing adventure. I do know that shortly after Mark died, I started having trouble with my phone and I switched to using his phone. It was a painful transition and the sales people at AT&T tried to tell me that his phone was old and probably wouldn’t last more than a year. I didn’t listen, but they were right. When it died, I then bought a brand new Samsung Galaxy. Again, the transition to a the new phone was painful, but I thought it was worth it because I was convinced it would last for a few years. Then I dropped it this summer and cracked the screen. I spent over $250 to have a new screen installed and then last week that new screen just went black. The phone was still working great, but if you can’t see the screen, that doesn’t do much good. Heather and Sam turned me on to the Google Pixle 3a as it has a fantastic camera. I have been taking more and more of my photos with my phone, so I decided to buy a renewed Google Pixle as they did. It was delivered this afternoon. Now I just have to figure out how to get it set up. I also switched my provider from AT&T to T-Mobile as I could be added to the Goldstone account and it would cost less each month. It arrived this afternoon while I was at the Goldstones, but we couldn’t get it set up as they had no electricity and thus, no internet. Jed was working on rerouting some electrical wiring in Ollie and Jonah’s bedroom and he was still working on it when I left after 5 pm. Plus, Heather couldn’t get my account switched over as I had left the folder at home with my AT&T account information. Once I got home, I called her on the borrowed phone and gave her my account info so she could get the service started with my same phone number. That worked. I can receive calls, messages, and email, but getting everything up and running as I want it will continue tomorrow, as will the process of working on basement organization. We made some progress today, but since we didn’t have lights in the basement because the electricity was turned off, moving things around wasn’t easy. The push is to get things set up for the start of school. The way things were set up in the spring were not ideal, so we are trying to make some improvements to accommodate at-home work spaces for Heather and Jed and at-home school spaces for Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. We know what didn’t work in the spring, but we are just not sure what will work. It will be a work in progress.

2020 Life Logs, Day 254: September 11th

2020 Life Logs, Day 254: September 11th
Date: Friday, September 11, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Cool North Wind; High 72, Low 54 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

Since the events of September 11, 2001, this day has become a time of reflection for all Americans. Then on September 11, 2016, the day we lost Mark, this date became my most unfavorite day of the year. But I do try to stay positive and honor his life on this day by thinking of the wonderful, happy times we had together. On this particular September 11th, however, staying positive was particularly difficult because of all of the other things going on around us. Our inability as a country to deal effectively with the coronavirus seems to become more evident every day. All of the issues associated with the presidential election, any one of which is enough to give anyone sleepless nights. Then we have the wildfires in California and Oregon. Jed’s brother Toby and his significant other Stephanie were going to stop by here to visit this weekend on their way home to Portland, Oregon. But Toby talked to Jed early today to say that they have decided to extend their stay in Maine until the fires in Oregon are under control. Scary news seems to be around every corner.

I arrived at Heather and Jed’s around noon to find that the boys were determined to spend the day lazing about the house. Jonah was interested in helping me with the basement organization and we did work on that. Sam and Ollie also pitched in a bit, but there is more to do tomorrow.

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19 Clark’s Anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii)

06 Closer Look at Male Slingjaw Wrasse (Epibulus insidiator)

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23 Octopus cyanea Climbing Up

27 Octopus cyanea Going, Going

00 Octopus Trying Hard to Look Like Surroundings

At the end of the day, I headed home to spend time with Shadow and to look back on my years with Mark. The first year after Mark’s death, we all went out to dinner at the Flying Bridge on Falmouth Harbor to celebrate Mark’s life. The next year I was in Philadelphia with Kevin and Claire and we went out to dinner in Philly’s historic district. Last year Heather was in Boston, but on the next evening on her way home she met us all at the Chart Room at Kingman Marina for a celebration of life dinner. I have not been out to dinner since March and don’t plan to go out until this pandemic is over, so instead of going out tonight, I came home and started researching what Mark and I had done on September 11 in past years. When I got back to 2010, I found the memory I wanted to relive in honor of Mark’s life for this anniversary. We were in Madagascar on September 11, 2010, and we had one of the most spectacular snorkeling adventures of our entire trip around the world. We were snorkeling in the Nosy (island) Tanikely Marine Reserve. The corals, the sponges, and the fish were spectacular—purple sponges, a school of Silver Monos, Clark’s anemonefish, Slingshaw and various bird wrasses, a young black and white snapper. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll just share our very favorite of the day which was watching an octopus. He was curled up at the base of a coral, hard to see as he was camouflaged. When he sensed us, however, he instantly turned maroon and went down through a hole. When he came out the other side, he had turned white to blend in the white sand. Amazing to watch. That’s my happy memory with Mark on this day in 2010. Beautiful memories.

2020 Life Logs, Day 253: Busy Rainy Day

2020 Life Logs, Day 253: Busy Rainy Day
Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Weather: Overcast with Rain; High 75, Low 65 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

This rainy day was a busy one. Shadow and I were up and out of here early as he had an appointment with the groomer who is located up by the Bourne Bridge . . . about 20 minutes from here. Last night Shadow ate a raw potato that fell on the floor and went unnoticed by me until I found it half eaten. I was afraid it was going to cause him tummy problems, but it didn’t seem to affect him in any negative way. So, I dropped him off at 9 am and headed across the bridge another ten minutes north to Wareham where there is an LL Bean Outlet, an Old Navy store, and a T-Mobile store. Justin’s birthday is on Monday. I usually send him money, but after talking to him this past weekend, he expressed a desire for new pants. Not easy to find here in Falmouth, but I did find some on my morning foray. And the people at the T-Mobile store were very helpful. I currently use AT&T, but Heather and Jed want to add me to their T-Mobile account as it will be cheaper for me. I checked with the local T-Mobile folks yesterday evening and they were completely unhelpful. The people in Wareham were much more informative, so after checking that out, I then I headed to the Goldstones. The boys were immersed into various projects when I arrived, so I left to go pick up my phone at the Cell Fone Fixer—or not–as he wasn’t able to fix this problem. When I got back, Heather had a few minutes between work calls and we discussed phone options. In the end, it was cheaper for me to order an unlocked phone that can be connected to their account when it arrives. But that will not be for a few more days. So, Heather experimented by trying to put my SIM card in her old phone. After a bit of fiddling about, she got it to work and I now have a phone to use until my new one arrives. Hurray!

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the basement of 43 Grasmere with Jonah. When the Goldstones moved into their new home, I gave the boys $300 as a housewarming gift. They have been debating how to best spend that $300 since April. This week they decided on a ping pong table for the basement. It arrives next week, so we need to spend some time organizing things in the basement to make room for the new addition. Jonah and I made great progress this afternoon, but more needs to be done. We will continue our project tomorrow if it is another rainy day.

2020 Life Logs, Day 252: No Phone

2020 Life Logs, Day 252: No Phone
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Weather: Overcast; High 76, Low 67 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

It was a great day other than the fact that I found out that I have to buy a new phone. I honestly don’t remember if I bought my current phone last year or the year before, but whichever, I certainly didn’t expect to be replacing it this quickly. Earlier in the summer, I dropped it and had the screen replaced. That cost more than $250 and I should never have done it. I should have bought a new phone. I love hindsight. But yesterday the screen went blank and today the Cell Fone Fixer took a look and said the screen was dead. The phone is fine, but if you can’t see the screen, it does me no good. So hopefully either tomorrow or Friday I will get a new phone. In the meantime, I can’t believe how much I miss my phone. No way to call anyone, no texts, no phone camera, no easy check on the weather, no Googling facts while out and about. Ugh!

My afternoon with the Goldpebbles was so much fun. All three boys went to the skatepark today and all three had a great time. One of Jonah’s best friends, Noah, was there, and that was especially fun for him. After and hour and a half there, we left and went to Walmart. I needed Sam to go in with me to check out new phones. He has a Google Pixel and did a lot of research before choosing that one. So, I wanted him to help me look. After I got my short mini-course in phone choices from Sam, we went to the Subway in Walmart and bought sandwiches for lunch.
Then we headed to my house to spend the rest of the afternoon in the water. The Rubber Dockie was definitely a great purchase. The boys had a great time trying to throw one another off the mat. As I watched, it looked a little like water wrestling with lots of squeals and laughter. Today they took a heavy chain that I put in a net bag out with them to anchor the kayak. It worked great to keep the kayak anchored, but the rope was too short and caused the kayak to capsize easily. So, when they returned, Ollie pulled Sam in a kayak full of water, Sam paddled, and Jonah helped pull the Rubber Dockie behind the kayak, kicking as hard as he could. They looked like a well-oiled machine moving through the water. So much fun.

2020 Life Logs, Day 251: Book Club and Fun with the Goldpebbles

2020 Life Logs, Day 251: Book Club and Fun with the Goldpebbles
Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Weather: Sunny; High 77, Low 62 Degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, Falmouth, MA

My Newcomers Book Club has been meeting monthly on Zoom, but today four of us gathered in person in one member’s backyard with two joining us on Zoom. These days we spend more than half of our meeting time just catching up on how each of us is faring during these coronavirus days. For years I have said that I didn’t want to join a book club because I didn’t want to have to read something chosen by someone else. But now that I am doing it, I like being stretched to read things that I would never choose on my own. This last month’s book was a true story of the most successful bootlegger in American History plus a murder, an introduction to the Assistant Attorney General at the time who happened to be a woman, and an eye-opening account of how the Justice Department helped cover up things that would make them look bad. Great material, but I found the book to be laborious—yet still interesting enough to finish. I’ve already started next month’s book and am finding it to be one of those books that you just don’t want to put down. It is not a book that I would have chosen, but I’m loving it.

So, it was up this morning to walk the dog, go to the Book Club meeting, and then to the Goldstones to spend the afternoon and early evening with the Goldpebbles. The boys were having so much fun playing in the water on the Rubber Dockie, that I didn’t get them home until 7 pm. When I first went to pick them up, we ate lunch and Ollie, Jonah, and I went to the skatepark. The shoes Sam likes to wear when using his skateboard were still wet from a trip into the water in Maine, so he stayed home and read. Jonah and Ollie loved getting back to using their trick scooters, but both said they felt ‘rusty’ in the skill area. It was sunny and hot, but as they persisted, they skills learned over the summer returned. Our time was cut short because one of the wheels on Ollie’s scooter was wobbly and needed tightened, but we didn’t have the right tool with us. So, we went home to pick up Sam and go to my house for kayak and Rubber Dockie fun in the water. I bought the Rubber Dockie for the boys just in time to have it sent to Maine for their use there. I heard all about the fun they had with it last night, so today I wanted a demonstration. The Rubber Dockie is a 6-foot by 12-foot closed-cell foam float that is rigid enough to allow the boys to sit, stand, and run on it to then jump into the water. Today Sam stayed in the dinghy and pulled Ollie and Jonah out on the float. They had a great time running and diving into the water. It was still a bit curled from being tightly rolled up for the trip from Maine to here, but tonight it is lying flat with the help of a little weight in the hopes that the curl will go away before our next foray out into the Eel River.

I was on the dock taking photos of the boys when all of a sudden the screen on my phone went black. I thought maybe it was low battery power, but that was not it. Unfortunately, I can’t share my photos from this afternoon as I can’t get them off my phone. My tomorrow morning will be spent having the phone checked out. I just spent a small fortune getting a new screen for the phone, so I’m hoping I don’t need a new phone. In the meantime, I have no way to make phone calls or read text messages. I feel totally isolated. I can receive email on my computer, so if you want to contact me, send an email for now. Hopefully, I’ll get this sorted out by tomorrow noon when I pick up the boys for another afternoon of fun.