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!

2017 Life Logs, Day 222: Getting Ready for Travel and Beach Time

2017 Life Logs, Day 222: Getting Ready for Travel and Beach Time
Date: Thursday, August 10, 2017
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 82, Low 58 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Ollie and I spent our morning getting ready for the Goldstone trip to Sweden. Ollie needed a light weight rain jacket and when I talked with Jed this morning, he expressed the need for another carry-on size bag. When the Goldstones arrive in Bergen, Norway, they will be taking buses and trains to get to Sweden. And once there, they will also be traveling by bus and train. Having luggage they can easily handle will be very important. I took over two large bags I bought to transport things to Justin and Jo in Puerto Rico, but one of those is just too big to handle easily. So, Ollie and I headed to Hyannis this morning to do some shopping. We did a ‘hunt and kill’ trip through Sears. We got an American Tourister spinner rolling bag for $23. I spotted this bag with a special price reduction tag. It said $63.00, so that made it the best bag for the price on the floor. But when I went to buy it, the cashier pointed out that the price tag described a different bag. She called the manager, which took a very long time, but when he came, he was happy to sell the bag to me for the price on the tag. When the cashier rang it up, the total was only $23. I pointed out to her that this price was much cheaper than the price tag indicated, but she said she had to sell it to me for that amount. Fine with me! We then went to the Lands End section at Sears and found a rain jacket for Ollie. He also found a pair of sports pants and a long sleeve shirt that he loved, so we bought that as well, and then headed home. By the time we dropped off the new luggage, it was time to go pick up Sam and Jonah from soccer camp. And the day tumbled on from there. We had lunch at my house and made our way to Stoney Beach in Woods Hole to meet up with the Hennen’s—Jeanne, with sons Cole and Leo. They bought a one-man inflatable kayak yesterday and brought that to the beach. Immediately Sam and Cole took off in the kayak. Leo is a fantastic collector of critters and he spent his afternoon collecting pipefish, a baby pufferfish, and a crab. It was low tide and a great time for snorkeling, so we all did a bit of that as well. Near the end of the afternoon when Jeanne brought the kayak to shore, Ollie asked her if he could take it out. She looked at me and I told her that he was actually an experienced kayaker. But I assured her that I would follow along. Ollie easily handled the kayak and then Jonah wanted a turn and he showed off his skill as well. When Jonah returned, Jeanne decided to go out again and Ollie asked if he could tag along on the back of the kayak. When the boys return from Sweden, we will have to get our two-man inflatable in the water. There has just been no time for any kind of boating this summer. And summer is slipping away. It was almost 7:30 when I finally drove home from the Goldstones and the sun was setting. Just a few weeks ago, sunset was closer to 8:30. Ouch! This summer has passed too quickly.

2017 Life Logs, Day 221: Soccer Superstars and Harbor Seal Pup Release

2017 Life Logs, Day 221: Soccer Superstars and Harbor Seal Pup Release
Date: Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Weather: Sunny Day; High 80, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

“Jonah, Jonah, Jonah, Jonah.” This is the chant that Ollie and I heard when we arrived to pick Sam and Jonah up from soccer camp. The chant was coming from all the kids attending soccer camp and we saw Jonah running drills against one of the coaches. Jonah would run with the ball, turn, and kick it toward the goal and then the coach would do this. What we found out was that Jonah had beat everyone’s score today which won him the opportunity to compete with the coach. Sam called it Coaches Choice. You could see how very proud Jonah was, but he was so very careful to not make Sam feel bad. Sam is two years older but in the same camp with Jonah. Sam always plays mid-field is not an aggressive forward like Jonah. But Sam actually handled today’s situation like a superstar and that made me just as proud of him as I was of Jonah. And this morning Ollie announced to me that he is also going to be a soccer superstar. Today he said he wants to be a goalie and I loved the way Jonah worked with him after camp setting up drills to increase his skills. Ollie was in full soccer dress this morning when he went to TD Bank with me. I managed to get my online banking account locked and needed to go in to show ID and get the online account unlocked. This took a while and one of the managers came out of her office with a small rubber ball that looked like a soccer ball and gave it to Ollie. The bright green color matched his shirt and socks exactly. He was thrilled!

After soccer camp, we headed to my place for a little relax time and lunch. We changed into swim wear and then we took off for Scusset Beach which is on the mainland side of the Cape Cod Canal. Our end goal was to be there for a 6:30 pm harbor seal pup release, but I wanted to give the boys a couple of hours to play on the beach beforehand. When we got there, Jonah and Ollie saw a playground and they begged to be able to play there before heading to the beach. That worked out great as Sam was reading a book on a Kindle and was very happy to stay in the car and read while the other two played. Then we headed to the beach where we discovered that no boogie boards or flotation devices of any type were allowed. Not sure why, but it wasn’t really an issue as the water was very cold and boys got in and out very quickly. Jonah found a warm place in the sand to just lay back and relax while Sam and Ollie built a sand castle. And before we knew it, it was time to go get dinner and get back to the beach in time for the seal release by the National Marine Life Center. Heather was driving home from Boston and had sent a text that she was on her way to join us. We left the beach just after 5 o’clock and returned at 5:45, and in that time the tide had gone out so far that the beach was totally transformed. I had left my beach chair with the kids towels and shovels on the beach not realizing that it was the perfect thing to do. When we got back, the yellow tape had been set up to define where we would be allowed to sit and watch the seal release. My chair was in just the right place. So, I unknowingly had saved us a place. Heather arrived and we watched the release together. The three pups being released were rescued this spring after being separated from their mothers and subsequently stranded in three different locations. The Marine Life Center worked to rehabilitate them and had to teach them how to eat fish. They had to start by tube feeding them a milk-based formula and then switched to a fish-based formula. From there they found ways to introduce fish into their diets and it was determined that they are now ready to go back into the wild. Jane Goodseal, Sealiva Earle, and Johnny Appleseal were all very reluctant and by the time we left, they were still being coaxed into the water. We hope they all three finally took the plunge, but it was time for our Goldpebble pups to head down the beach to the jetty on the north side of the canal. Heather went with the boys and I took the gear and headed to the car. I drove to the jetty to offer transportation back to Heather’s car for the ride home. The boys loved their sunset walk on the jetty and were reluctant to leave, but both Heather and myself were exhausted. In addition to her own program this week, Heather has hosted another morning show and made the trip to WGBH in Boston. And she has been doing the interviews for her program for the next three Mondays when she will be out of town. Add to that the wonderful, but at the same time, stressful news that her weekly program will start airing in Boston as soon as she returns from Sweden and you have one stressed momma. But ready or not, the shows will go one and the bags will get packed for Sweden and we will all be on our way in the wee hours of Saturday morning. I will drop the Goldstones at the airport in Providence, RI. They will fly to Sweden and I will head on to Nyack, New York, to spend a couple of days with friends Ed and Lynne. I hope they are ready for an exhausted guest!

2017 Life Logs, Day 220: Special Moments

2017 Life Logs, Day 220: Special Moments
Date: Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Weather: Overcast Until Late Afternoon; High 69, Low 62 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The weather changed our plans for today. After soccer camp, we had planned to go to Woods Hole to have lunch with Heather and Jed and then go to Stoney Beach for the afternoon. But it was overcast with sprinkles all morning, so we decided to just have a low-key afternoon at home. That didn’t really happen as we didn’t get home until almost 4 pm, but we managed to have some very special moments.

Sam and Jonah started their day at soccer camp while Ollie and I made a visit to the Buzzards Bay Coalition Center in Woods Hole. Three days a week at 11 am they let children help feed the creatures in the touch tank. Ollie got to feed the horseshoe crab with a syringe and learned exactly where to find its mouth. He also helped with the feeding of the spider crabs and held an urchin, a scallop, and a large whelk. He was thrilled and learned a lot in a short period of time. We then went to pick Sam and Jonah up from soccer camp and headed back to Woods Hole to have lunch with Heather and Jed. Heather had to leave early for work this morning and has to do the same for the next two mornings, so the boys wanted to have lunch with mommy and daddy. We ate at Pie in the Sky which is across the street from a hill between Heather’s office and Jed’s. An on this hill is a very special tree that the boys love to climb. Before and after lunch, they climbed the tree and found the most amazing things to do. Jonah became a sloth and a chameleon. Ollie hugged the tree and used one of the above ground roots as a slide. And Sam sat high in the tree and read his book on mommy’s Kindle. It is so wonderful to watch children play like this. But finally, we pulled ourselves away and headed to my house to complete some laundry for the Goldstones as their washer is on the blink and then on home to do some packing for Sweden. As we were unpacking the car, Sam discovered that he did not have his soccer ball. When I picked him up at the soccer field, we both agreed that I sent him to the car with his ball and bag, but the ball just just wasn’t there. So, we headed back to the soccer field. There was no soccer ball, but there was a red-tailed hawk sitting on the top of one of the soccer goals and the boys were so excited that they were able to walk right up to the goal to see the hawk up-close. We decided that even though we didn’t find the ball, the trip back to town was worth it. And then, low and behold, when we finally got home, Sam miraculously found the soccer ball under his seat. Unfortunately, our afternoon at home didn’t happen, but we had a great time. It was four o’clock when we got home and we spent the next two hours trying to go through clothes for the trip to Sweden. When I finally got home, I unfortunately had to spend a great deal of my evening on the phone with my internet provider. One minute I had wifi, the next I did not. It took two hours and it is now much later than I had hoped to be up, but I do once again have internet.

Tomorrow is a big day. We are traveling off-Cape to spend the afternoon on a beach and then watch another wildlife release. This is the release of three harbor seals. Heather is in Boston all day but hopes to make it to the beach in time to watch the release with the boys.

2017 Life Logs, Day 219: UK Elite Soccer Camp and CCSA Swim Meet

2017 Life Logs, Day 219: UK Elite Soccer Camp and CCSA Swim Meet
Date: Monday, August 7, 2017
Weather: Overcast with Late Day Sprinkles; High 78, Low 62 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

On an overcast Monday, those Goldpebbles once again brought sunshine into my life. Sam and Jonah were the sunshine today. Jonah has always been the ‘reluctant swimmer of the world’ and Sam has said all summer that he wanted nothing to do with a swim meet. But somehow at the end of last week, they both signed up to participate in a Cape-wide swim meet today sponsored by the Cape Cod Swim Association (CCSA). Neither one of them has ever even seen an Olympic pool, and even with my gentle warnings to Jonah that the depth of the pool was way over his head at one end, both boys really enjoyed their first swim meet. They both had total confidence in their swim instructors and knew they would be supported. What a wonderful thing. It was just two weeks ago when Jonah first decided that he might be able to swim and put his head in the water. He walked away today with a 6th place ribbon, but the important thing was that he made it! And he was really proud of what he had done. Sam was disappointed with a 5th place, but he was up against some strong team members and he was only a second behind three other team members. And it was great to see how the team bonded after the competition. I talked to both boys on the way home about setting goals for next summer. Both only competed in free-style today, and both agreed that they would compete in at least two competitions next year. They will not get to participate in the pizza party on Thursday, the last day of swim classes for the summer, because they are now in a week-long UK Elite Soccer Camp. So we celebrated today with a trip to Smitty’s for an ice cream treat on the way home.

UK Elite runs soccer camps all around the country. Every camp is touted to be action packed “including world cup style tournaments and skills challenges.” Both Sam and Jonah reported having a great morning. Their instructors said they would focus on a different skill each day. Today the skill was dribbling and they loved it. So, they will return to soccer camp in the morning. My challenge is to find something that Ollie will feel equally good about doing. I could tell today that he was feeling just a little left out. But next year, he will be old enough for official swim lessons and I know he looks forward to that.

2017 Life Logs, Day 218: Inch by Inch

2017 Life Logs, Day 218: Inch by Inch
Date: Sunday, August 6, 2017
Weather: Sunny; High 78, Low 62 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
I pretended to be a snail today and made very slow progress on all those catch-up jobs. It reminded me of Pete Seeger’s Garden Song, Inch by Inch. “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow . . .” I went grocery shopping, did some cooking for the week, and volunteered to do laundry for Heather and Jed. Their washing machine is only a couple of years old, but right now it washes, but stops during the spin cycle and leaves the clothes soppy wet. While living on the boat, I certainly used their washer and dryer enough, so today was a little repayment. Tomorrow it is back to Camp Oma and next Saturday the Goldstones leave for Sweden and I am driving to Nyack, NY, to visit with friends Ed and Lynne. So no more playing catch-up until sometime next week.

2017 Life Logs, Day 217: Playing Catch-up and Fix-up

2017 Life Logs, Day 217: Playing Catch-up and Fix-up
Date: Saturday, August 5, 2017
Weather: Mostly Cloudy with Threatening Rain; High 77, Low 62 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I started my day at the gym for a Zumba class and then the rest of today was a day of catch-up and fix-up, mostly computer-based stuff. Honestly, I didn’t make much progress, but I still feel good about what I did get done even though there is so much more to do. I am more than a year behind in getting photos named and filed. Add to that the computer technical difficulties I had last fall that left me with lots of things to re-do. Much of the day was spent fixing some of my screw-ups of the past few months. This is going to be a long process. One day at a time.

Justin just sent a photo of Coco in the roller skates I sent her for her birthday. She is quite the stylish roller-skating fairy princess!

2017 Life Logs, Day 216: Can’t Stay Away from the Water

2017 Life Logs, Day 216: Can’t Stay Away from the Water
Date: Friday, August 4, 2017
Weather: Sunny Day; High 80, Low 67 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Even when we all agree that we just don’t need to go to the beach again, we end up going to the beach. After all, it is summer on Cape Cod and the beaches constantly beckon us to come enjoy. Since swim lessons ended yesterday, there was no reason that we had to go to the beach today. And a few days ago, all three boys said they just wanted to stay home and play. But yesterday, they changed their minds and wanted to spend the entire day at the each. I proposed a compromise where we would stay home in the morning and then spend the entire afternoon at the beach. That won full approval, so that is what we did. The boys decided to go to Wood Neck. We usually go 2-3 hours before low tide, but this time we arrived at dead low. Where Lazy River meets Buzzards Bay, it looked like a mini-delta at low tide with lots of sand bars exposed. All three boys enjoyed the shallow water with a sandy bottom with no rocks. We swam and snorkeled and jumped waves and then slowly worked our way back up Lazy River toward the marsh. Sam went ahead to be on the lookout for the arrival of friends Cole and Leo and their mom Jeanne. Ollie, Jonah, and I lazed in pools of very warm water and had sea weed battles. Once Cole and Leo arrived, we headed into the marsh where the water was even warmer. Jonah caught a big crab and Ollie collected tiny hermit crabs. Sam took the GoPro and experimented with underwater videos. The boys frolicked in the water and then Heather arrived. We spent more time playing in the marsh and then we headed back out to where Lazy River meets Buzzards Bay. Since the tide was coming in, we could then ride the tide back up the towards the marsh. It was a super fun afternoon at the beach.

The boys are programmed at this point to head to my place after time at the beach to take showers and have their coveted screen time. So, we all headed to Oma’s and decided to order sushi for dinner. Jed was riding his bike home from Woods Hole and didn’t get our message, but once he got home, we called him to fill him in our plans. In fact, we asked him to pice all headed to Oma’s and decided to order sushi for dinner. Jed was riding his bike home from Woods Hole and didn’t get our message, but once he got home, we called him to fill him in our plans. In fact, we asked him to pick up the sushi. We had a really lovely evening enjoying that sushi on the deck overlooking Falmouth Harbor.

2017 Life Logs, Day 215: Last Day of Swim Lessons

2017 Life Logs, Day 215: Last Day of Swim Lessons
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2017
Weather: Hazy AM, Clear and Sunny PM; High 84, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

During the first summer of Camp Oma in 2013 Sam and Jonah swim lessons in the fresh water pond at Goodwill Park. Then last summer we had lessons at Falmouth Heights Beach. Sam has always loved being in the water, but he didn’t really enjoy swim lessons. Jonah always had a fear of putting his head in the water and he didn’t enjoy swim lessons either. Both boys were very reluctant to participate in lessons this year, but we persisted and today I couldn’t have been a prouder Oma. Today was the last day of lessons for 2017 and both Sam and Jonah made tremendous progress. Sam is becoming a competitive swimmer and Jonah has overcome his fear of the water. Hallelujah! And even though they might not admit it, I think both Sam and Jonah will actually miss the swim lessons. Things really clicked for them this summer. Their instructor was a rough and tumble young man named Michael and his assistant was Lauren—quiet and caring. The two of them made a great team, but even they were shocked at Jonah’s magical turn-about this week. Last week I started playing a beach football game with Jonah. If he won, I had to go under water. I got dunked many times and all of sudden, Jonah decided he could put that head of his underwater as well. He has worn his ladybug floaties for as long as I can remember, but today he me take them out of the car and put them in the basement. He said he doesn’t need them anymore, and he doesn’t. He is not a strong swimmer yet, but he can tread water and can swim a short distance free style. Ollie was not old enough for ‘official’ lessons, but he has had lesson with Oma every day and he has made great progress as well. The boys are excited to go to the swim meet on Monday. Sam is going to participate in the free style competition and Jonah might as well. The swim classes made posters today and we bought Falmouth Heights bright red t-shirts that the boys will wear to the swim meet on Monday to show their pride in being part of the Heights team. Swim teams from the other town beaches will be doing the same. It should be a lot of fun. And we celebrated the end of successful swim lessons today by buying large shaved-ice flavored cones. Happy boys!

We had an extended lunch at Oma’s today. I put out the makings for personal pizzas and let the boys build their own pizzas on English muffins. This was a big hit. And Sam set about putting together the two new deck chairs that arrived yesterday. Last August Mark and I bought two bar-height chairs for the deck. Since there have been only two chairs and three little boys, it has been a constant battle for who gets to sit in the tall chairs. Now we will all have tall chairs. And I was amazed at Sam’s ability to look at the directions and start the assembly process with no help from me.

2017 Life Logs, Day 214: Swim Lessons, Fun with Friends, Turtle Release

2017 Life Logs, Day 214: Swim Lessons, Fun with Friends, Turtle Release
Date: Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny; High 82, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

It was a marathon 12-hour Camp Oma day, but long as it was, I think the Goldpebbles enjoyed all 720 minutes. Between morning swim lessons and an evening turtle release, the boys played at home with neighborhood friends, Cole and Leo. Their family returned yesterday from a two-week vacation visiting family in California, so we invited them over to play for the afternoon. The boys got out the slip and slide and had a great time sliding down the hill in the backyard. At one point, Sam came to the kitchen door to tell me someone was at the front door. I went to the door and no one was there. In fact, no one was in sight. When I got back to the kitchen, Sam had disappeared, but I saw muddy footprints leading from the door to the sink. Hmmmm. I looked out back and saw mounds of bubbles on the slip and slide. Sam had tricked me so he could confiscate the dish washing liquid to speed up the slide. And it did. They were having so much fun there was no way I could be angry with Sam for his little deception. After the slip and slide, the boys played croquet in the front yard and then enjoyed time on the swing set. It was quite refreshing to see boys ranging in age from 5 to 11 having so much fun on a summer day.

At 5 pm, Cole and Leo went home and I headed north to Craigsville Beach with the Sam, Jonah, and Ollie. We bought dinner at the Craigsville Beach Grill and took it across the street to eat on the beach. Just as we finished, who would appear but Cole and Leo. Cole and his mother were part of a training in the fall learning how to rescue stranded turtles. So, when they heard we were going to the release, they also decided to come watch the release of the eight Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that were rescued last fall. Kemp’s Ridley are the smallest and most endangered of all sea turtles and every fall some of these little guys get caught in the Cape Cod Bay and can’t find their way out to head south before the cold weather comes. They then get cold stunned and end up stranded on Cape Cod beaches. Various organizations work together to rescue them and the National Marine Life Center in Bourne takes care of them through the winter and prepares them for release once the waters of the Cape Cod Bay are warm enough. Today was that day and hundreds of people came to watch. Somehow the Goldpebbles, along with Cole and Leo, headed in the right direction at just the right time and we ended up with a front row view. The turtles didn’t arrive on time, so we had a very long wait. But the boys waited willingly and enjoyed seeing these turtles head out to sea. Then they asked if they could head out to sea as well. So off they went frolicking in the water. They were delighted with the water temperature . . . much warmer than Falmouth beaches they declared. But when I checked water temps tonight, the data tells me the water is only one degree warmer here. Whatever, they enjoyed a late evening romp and then we fought the traffic to head home. Long, but lovely day.

2017 Life Logs, Day 213: Welcome, August

2017 Life Logs, Day 213: Welcome, August
Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny Day; High 84, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

As I am sure you are aware, today was the first day of August. Welcome to the last month of summer! The weather today was once again sunny and warm. I went to pick up Sam, Jonah, and Ollie and we headed to Falmouth Heights Beach for swim lessons. And today was another banner day for Jonah. When his class headed to the water, he was the first one in and he dove underwater. I heard Michael, the instructor, yell, “Jonah?” Michael couldn’t believe that Jonah was finally ready to get that head underwater. After lessons, Jonah spent time with friends and Ollie and Sam collected floating eel grass and made ovens (pits in the sand) for cooking stew at the water’s edge. The boys had requested we head home for a low-key afternoon, but when I tried to get them away from the beach, it was difficult. I gave the 15-minute warning and we all headed back into the water. Sam frolicked with his boogie board, Ollie snorkeled, and Jonah asked me to hold his boogie board so he could dive under and come up on the other side. He did this over and over and then decided to do what the swim instructors call ‘whale breach’—jumping up and flopping your whole body down sideways in the water. After many breaches, he finally declared he was ready to go. Unfortunately I have no photos of this as I was in the water with Jonah. Maybe I can capture it tomorrow. But the important thing is that Jonah is evidence that every kid will swim when he or she is ready, and Jonah is now ready. Fantastic!

After our daily ritual of showers, screen time, and lunch at my house, we headed home for a free and easy afternoon. It was so delightful to see the boys sitting outside in the grass reading books, swinging, and just relaxing. Tomorrow will be more of the same with the addition of a 7 pm turtle release. Kemp Ridley turtles, the smallest and most endangered of all sea turtles, come north to visit every summer, and every fall, a few stragglers stay too long and are harmed by the cold. And every fall they are rescued and then rehabilitated at the National Marine Life Center before being released the following summer. Ollie and I found out about this last week when visited the Marine Life Center and tomorrow night we will witness the release of eight turtles on Craigsville Beach located between here and Hyannis. We are all looking forward to this.