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 275: Too Much
Date: Monday, October 2, 2017
Weather: Still Cool and Sunny; High 64, Low 48 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
Near the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit the east coast of Texas hard. Tuesday, September 5th was the first day of school here, but it was the day before Hurricane Irma stormed past Puerto Rico. Then on Sunday, September 10th, Irma ripped through Florida. During this time, the worry about Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco in Puerto Rico and Mark’s family in Florida was intense. Then two weeks after Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria blasted Puerto Rico with her fury. It has now been twelve days since Maria hit Puerto Rico and I’m having a very hard time seeing that much has been done to help the people there. They are shell-shocked with the devastation—no running water, no electricity, no easy way to communicate. And now today we wake up to learn about the tragic 59 deaths and 527 people injured in Las Vegas in the biggest mass shooting in the history of our country. This catastrophe was man-made, not an extreme weather event, and that makes it even worse. This one is something we could have tried to prevent. I simply don’t believe the citizens of any country need automatic/semi-automatic rifles for any reason. I don’t believe this is our right as Americans. The right for individual citizens to bear arms as written in our Second Amendment doesn’t say we have the right to possess guns that can kill the masses. This is just too much and we need to have an honest, really honest conversation about gun control without the NRA officiating.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims in Las Vegas and to all of the people of Las Vegas who have to live in the wake of this traumatic event. But I am a mother and a grandmother and my focus is still on Puerto Rico. There was nothing in the news today due to the focus on Las Vegas, but I’m sure we’ll hear news tomorrow of all the wonderful support Puerto Rica has been given when our President visits the island. In my communications with Justin, he has never mentioned anything about food or water arriving in Rincon, but I do believe the community has recently received fuel. Communications are getting a bit easier. Today Justin found that the Rincon Brewery has internet and they are allowing people to come use it for limited communications. I’m assuming Rincon must have gotten a fuel delivery that has enabled the Brewery and the townhall to have limited internet. But Justin mentioned today that he might not be able to come back to town to check for mail until later in the week as he has to conserve fuel. The packages we have sent through the US Postal System still say they are in transit to Rincon. I am basically going to hold my breath until I see those packages delivered to the Post Office. Right now, the US mail looks to be the only possibility of getting needed supplies to Justin and family. I can put money in his bank account, but he has no way to get the money out. And he is running out of cash. Worry, worry. But the good news is that Justin can now text via Skype and WhatsApp when he can get to town to that Brewery. At least for now, there is some communication.
2017 Life Logs, Day 274: Racial Justice for All
Date: Sunday, October 1, 2017
Weather: Cool and Partly Sunny; High 60, Low 47 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
A local coalition of grassroots organizations, including No Place for Hate, Engage Falmouth, and the Falmouth Racial Justice League held a Racial Justice rally on the Falmouth Village Green late this afternoon. The Falmouth gathering was organized to shed light on the economic, racial, environmental, gender, and religious inequalities. I met up with friends Olivia and Terry White, and to my surprise, Sam and Jonah were there with neighbors. Heather and Jed were home fixing dinner for the whole crew while Jeanne Harper and Dan Hennen brought Sam, Jonah, and their sons Cole and Leo to the rally. Representatives of different ethnic minority groups spoke about situations here on the Cape where they have been discriminated against. Yes, even here in liberal, forward-thinking Massachusetts, we have our fair share of people who still cannot accept people different from themselves. Evidently the representatives of the different groups are finding that the incidences of racial discrimination have increased since January of this year. No surprise there. I was especially touched by a young Woods Hole scientist from Puerto Rico. He was not speaking of local discrimination, but of a federal government that seems to display injustice in the way it responds to catastrophes in different locations depending on the make-up of the population. His family lives on the south coast of Puerto Rico and his elderly grandmother has received only 7 bottles of water in the 11 days since the Hurricane Maria. This is something we might expect to happen in Bangladesh, not in a US territory that is only 1,000 miles away from Miami. The stories were hard to listen to, but they were good for us to hear.
I spent the rest of my day organizing the things I need to do starting tomorrow morning for Justin’s business—lots of contacts and inquiries to make. I also ordered more things to send to Puerto Rico. I was encouraged when I checked US Postal Service tracking this afternoon. It shows that the packages I have already sent have left New Jersey headed to San Juan. The tracking is showing that the packages will arrive in Rincon by 8 pm tomorrow night. There was a Red Alert message on the site listing the post offices in Puerto Rico that should be open for package pick-up this week and Rincon is one of them. Very good news. I don’t know how they are doing it, but it looks like even the greatest disaster has a hard time stopping the US mail. We’ll soon know if that is true.
2017 Life Logs, Day 273: Happy Birthday to Heather
Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
Weather: Cool and Rainy; High 60, Low 47 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
Happy birthday to my beautiful and brilliant daughter, Heather Martin Handley Goldstone. Since I am her mother, I figure I have the right to brag! She had hoped to go camping with Jed and boys tonight for her birthday celebration, but the weather today was damp and cool. Smartly, they opted for an evening at home. I got a text from Jonah this afternoon saying I was ‘aloud’ to come over for homemade pizza and a family game night. He was in the car with Heather on the way to a soccer game off-Cape and Heather asked him to text me with the invitation. I loved the ‘aloud’ part added by Jonah. I graciously accepted the invitation and we had a nice evening together. Sam is playing drums in the school band this year and Ollie is interested in learning to play the violin, so they gave an after-dinner performance. Sam is good on the drums, but I can see that we are going to have to fix up the basement so he can practice downstairs! And it was quite impressive the way Ollie kept the beat on the violin. Jonah is in the chorus this year, but he didn’t get to showcase his musical talents as the music did not invite singing along. Jonah’s shining moment today was on the soccer field as he scored the only point of the game. It rained during the entire game, and at one point there was even thunder and the kids had to leave the field momentarily, but Heather said not one kid complained. Heather got one birthday surprise, a Facebook ‘Happy Birthday’ message from her brother. At some point before dinner, I checked my phone and saw that I had a couple of emails from Justin. How could this be? But when I read the first email I saw that Justin was in town today and found available internet. It is only a temporary source, but it gave him a chance to check his email, send some messages, and post a short message on his Facebook page. It was great to hear from him that things are still going along okay. I spent most of my day searching the internet for different items I want to purchase to send to Puerto Rico to help them keep things going along okay, and I was quite relieved to see that Facebook post confirming all is well for now.
I spent the rest of my day stewing about the situation in Puerto Rico. The mayor of San Juan is not the only person who is “mad as hell.” When I saw President Trump’s early morning tweets, my blood was boiling. I literally could not believe that anyone, especially not the President of the United States of America, would say that the people of Puerto Rico need to do more to help themselves. I just don’t know how any person that cares even one whit about human life could say such a thing. I know directly from Justin that since there has been absolutely no way to communicate, the people that live in his area know nothing about what is happening on the rest of the island. They are left in the dark without electricity and without information. Being totally cut off from any kind of communication is very scary. The people of Puerto Rico were just beginning to recover from Hurricane Irma when they were battered by Hurricane Maria, so naturally they are frightened. They are having to drink water out of streams and springs. They have no source of power and no way to communicate. They have very little cash and you can’t buy anything without it. The ATM’s aren’t working. There is only one bank open in Justin’s town and it allows only people with an account to withdraw only $100 a day because right now the bank has no way of getting additional cash. The people of Rincon spent full-time the first few days after Maria using machetes and anything that would cut to clear the trees from the roads. They are now working together to try and clean up their properties and Justin says that is resulting in many injuries. Right now, if you can get to town the drug stores do have some medical supplies, but there is the fear that infections will develop from the cuts and antibiotics won’t be available. The people have been doing this clean-up in the sweltering heat. Do more to help themselves? Let’s see President Trump and Melania put on waders and go house to house to see if people are safe, to see if they have water to drink, to see if they have food, to see if they need medical assistance. That is what the Mayor of San Juan did non-stop for days after the storm. The past couple of days she has been fighting the bureaucracy to try and get supplies that have just been sitting on the docks in San Juan distributed to the people across the island. I am frustrated beyond belief that our government has been dragging, dragging, dragging its feet in getting help to the people of Puerto Rico. And I am deeply ashamed that the President of the United States would berate the Mayor of San Juan and the people of Puerto Rico. So, Mr. President, take back your words. Beg for forgiveness and get things moving. When the Mayor of San Juan says that she cannot fathom that the greatest nation on earth cannot figure out how to get help out to the people on an island that is only 100 miles across and 35 miles wide, I have to agree with her. Our military is the best in the world at rebuilding nations. They know how to do this. But for whatever reason, in this case our government has not had the will to put its full force behind this effort. And who do you blame other than our leadership? I agree with Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American whose parents moved to New York City from Puerto Rico before their son was born. But they still have family in Puerto Rico. After Miranda read Trump’s early morning tweets, his message to Donald Trump was, “You’re going straight to hell.” Miranda is a wildly successful Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway composer and lyricist who doesn’t mince words. Just wish I had thought to say it first.
2017 Life Logs, Day 272: Impromptu Trip to Boston
Date: Friday, September 29, 2017
Weather: Huge Change in Temperature; High 64, Low 51 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
An early morning email from Sam of Windbird said he was flying over Greenland on his way to Boston. Well, actually he was on break, not flying the plane at that moment. He said he would arrive in Boston at noon and be there until 7 pm tomorrow night when he flies to Paris. He wanted to know if I might be traveling to Boston for any reason today or tomorrow so we could get together for lunch or dinner. I emailed back that I had been contemplating a trip to Cambridge to check out details for a November trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History and to Costco to buy batteries to send to Puerto Rico, and his email sealed the deal. I didn’t have that quiet day at home that I anticipated. I was off to Boston. I met Sam in Harvard Square, had lunch at the Maharaja Indian restaurant near the Square, walked through Ollie Harvard Yard, and had a beer on the outside deck of Grendel’s. It was a cool day, but the sky was blue and the sun shone brightly. Just perfect! I always enjoy spending time with Sam. We both missed Dawn but I am hoping to see her in Chesapeake before they head to the islands for the winter. I picked Sam’s brain for suggestions for satellite-based communications equipment I could buy and send to Justin and Jo in Puerto Rico so we can be in touch with them. This not knowing what is happening from day to day is just so hard. Sam had some good ideas that I will check out this weekend. I’m going to be spending some time with Ollie tomorrow afternoon while Heather goes off in one direction with Jonah and Jed goes in another direction with Sam. I will be taking Ollie to a friend’s birthday party. But other than that, I hope to spend time catching up on correspondence and researching satellite communication ‘gizmos’.
2017 Life Logs, Day 271: A Message from Justin and Jo in Puerto Rico
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2017
Weather: Foggy, Turning Partly Sunny; High 80, Low 50 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
“Everything is gonna be alright, mom.” This is the message I got today from my son Justin in Rincon, Puerto Rico. Justin traveled to a home with a working landline phone to make the call. Fuel is precious and the drive to the house with the phone is far, so calling from there won’t happen often. But it was wonderful to hear from him directly that everything is alright for now. Justin and Jo have decided not to leave Puerto Rico. That could change if things don’t improve, but they are dedicated to staying to help rebuild their community. They don’t want to uproot Ziggy and Coco or leave their animals. They have enough food for another couple of weeks and they get fresh water by collecting rain water and walking to a nearby fresh water spring. Neighbors are helping neighbors. Ziggy and Coco can walk to play with friends and they are all spending time together to begin the healing process from this huge disaster to the little corner of the earth they call home. I worry about their safety, but I do understand that there are times in all of our lives when taking risks prevail. Once we know there is a reliable way of sending things that are needed, I’ll post that here. In the meantime, stand with me in the hope that Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco, and all of the people of Puerto Rico will be given the support needed to rebuild and the strength and resourcefulness to do it. I was heartened today that President Trump has waived the Jones Act for 10-days—not long enough, but a start. I read that the US Army is now in charge of things in Puerto Rico, so the plea for someone to take charge has been answered. The job ahead is enormous, but I know it can be done. Now all of us just have to wait and hope that willful people will overcome adversity.
My conversation with Justin was not a short one. He called to let me know that they are okay, but he also needed me to take copious notes for almost two hours that I then sent to his business partner in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Justin is hoping that his partner can keep their business alive until he is back online. I put Justin on speaker phone and typed as fast as I could. It was like recording something in a foreign language as I hardly comprehend Justin’s internet-based business. But at the end of two hours, I certainly understood a lot more and was in awe of Justin’s ability to zero on all the details that need attention. Hopefully his business partner will be able to pull this off. And, of course, I will be here ready help when needed.
By the time I ended my conversation with Justin and edited my notes to send to the business partner, it was almost 5 pm. I rushed to get to the post office to send another package to Justin—water filters—but the PO was closed. I really have no idea that the package will get there, but they need the water filters so it is worth the try. My first job in the morning will be to get to the PO to send a package that I have no idea will ever arrive. But back to this afternoon, by the time I got home it was almost 6 pm and I still had not eaten the lunch! As I was contemplating what I might fix for dinner, I got a call from Heather. Their dinner plans had gone awry and they were headed to the BBC (British Beer Company) near me for dinner. They invited me to join them and that was perfect as I was just about to call them to share the information from Justin. We had a combined dinner and information sharing time. Ollie is almost over his cold, but Sam is still not feeling great. Thankfully, Jonah, Heather, Jed, and myself have been spared so far. Dinner was fun and since the boys had to walk through the soccer field to get back to the van, they had an impromptu soccer practice in the dark. It is always such a joy to see them at play. This has been the week of Meet the Teacher nights and Heather reports that all three boys are settling nicely into the school year. All is well on the home front here.
I’m hoping for a very quiet day tomorrow. The wind has switched to coming from the north and the temperature is going to drop almost 20 degrees. Tomorrow should be a good day to sit at my computer and catch up on correspondence while I continue to read and watch everything I can about what is happening in Puerto Rico. On we go.
2017 Life Logs, Day 270: Thinking of JJZ&C
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Weather: Foggy and Overcast; High 81, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
This day was spent thinking about Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco and trying to figure out if there is anything we can do from here. Heather picked me up at 8:30 am and took me to the Falmouth Hospital Outpatient Surgery unit in North Falmouth for a colonoscopy. That went smoothly and the great news was that I have no polyps. By 11 am I was back home and Heather was on her way to work. Since I had been anesthetized for the procedure, I was told absolutely no driving today. So, Heather said she would go buy chocolate and send it to Ziggy (his request) as a ‘test’ package. Then I started doing my daily checking of Rincon, Puerto Rico, Facebook pages to see if there might be some news. Facebook seems to be the only source of news from that area and today there was new information. A young woman who was able to get out of San Juan on a plane on Tuesday posted her experience and an up-date on what’s happening in Rincon. She talked about the destruction in certain areas of the town, mostly on the water. (Justin and Jo live a litte inland in the hills to the east of town.) Then she shared that on Monday in Rincon all business transactions were cash only and there was only one bank open allowing a limited $100 withdrawal per person per day . . . with very long lines. She also said she thought the US Postal Service was going to start operating soon in certain post offices and Mayaguez, about 15 miles south of Rincon, is one of them. So, our little test package we sent today might not reach Justin and Jo because we sent it to Rincon. I have lots of other supplies I want to send, but I dare not until I am sure they will get through. Then the young woman shared her experience of getting from Rincon to San Juan to fly out. I think you mind find the experience enlightening, so I will copy her words here.
“I was due to fly to Chicago on Monday for work, but because we did not have any landline or cell service, Richard and I decided to drive to Aguadilla airport, rent a car and drive to San Juan as we learned from the one radio station that 10 flights will be arriving and departing from Monday. Not really comprehending the extend of this all, we took the road to San Juan on Monday morning. It was pure destruction everywhere and people were getting desperate for basic necessities on day 5, especially gas and the lines stretched for miles on the number 2. We managed to get ATT reception from Dorado and contacted our families who of course were besides themselves by then as we could not get word out to them. The airport is badly damaged – the radar on the control tower is out, the one wing (terminal) where Delta, Southwest, United etc. departs and the Cape Air terminal area are completely closed off due to roof and water damage and the jet bridges are also badly damaged. I was booked on a United flight but they informed us that all flights are cancelled till at least this coming weekend, but they do operate one humanitarian flight a day. Delta was selling tickets but that was only for flights in 4 weeks’ time and there are NO hotels operating in San Juan. We decided to fall in line for the United flight. We spend the night on the airport floor with about 500 other people (the place was a hot box at 95 – 105’F), but United was amazing. They handed out water every few hours, food and snacks. But after 30+ hours, we managed to get on yesterday’s flight and flew to Chicago (there was no other choice), but they also booked our connecting flight. This was ALL free, they had support staff on board, the Red Cross was waiting at Chicago O’Hare to help and medical staff could get the sick and injured to hospitals. They put everyone who only had connecting flights today, up in hotels and gave food vouchers. I cannot praise them enough. Sorry – I am rambling… but so so thankful!!”
On the trip from Aguadilla, on the west coast, to San Juan, this couple reports that they did not see one truck or oil tanker on the road. That jives with other information I found on Facebook saying there are at least 3,000 cargo containers filled with food, water, and fuel just sitting on the dock in San Juan because there are no trucks to transport the goods. It appears no supplies are getting to the west coast where Justin and Jo live. And add to all this that there is a very strong south wind blowing lots of heat and moisture onto the island. With no electricity for fans or air conditioners, anyone who has to stay inside, like the folks in nursing homes and hospitals, it must be unbelievably oppressive. I’m sure Justin and Jo are staying outside as much as they can, but with all the standing water, I worry about the diseases mosquitoes bring. You see, I had way too much time to worry today.
For those interested in learning more about Justin and Jo’s part of our world, there are a couple of youTube videos you might one to watch. One is of Rincon before the storm. And I just cried as I watched it this afternoon. I know the beautiful places that were shown—the downtown plaza, all of the different beaches, the lighthouse—once all so beautiful and now a tangled mess. The link is way too long to post here, but you can just Google youTube and type in Rincon Puerto Rico en 4k. Then if you want to see a video taken after Maria that shows the devastation in Rincon, just click on this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhlJTD1gZ4c This is a video to raise money for Rincon, but I am not recommending that you donate as I have no idea if this is a legitimate organization. If I do find a way that you can contribute, I will post that in a log.
And I have one more piece of information to share. All of us need to be contacting our representatives in Washington to get the Jones Act either repealed, or at the very least, temporarily waived. It is one of the main, if not the main reason for Puerto Rico’s huge debt. A friend sent a link to a New York Times opinion page on this topic. It is worth a read and then a call or email to your senators and representatives to get this waived immediately. Thanks to Sue Wolowitz for the link.
I’ll end with the way I started my day. When I got up and checked my phone, there was a message from Google leading me to photos of this day, September 27, nine years ago. The photos were of Justin and Jo, pre-children, when they joined us in Indonesia.On this particular day we sailed from Bali northward to the small island of Bawean. This is a very undeveloped part of the world, but even they had cell service and internet. So as soon as we anchored and went ashore, Justin was on the phone conducting business. While he was doing that, Jo was playing with the children in the little town, and when we all joined her, the children followed us like Jo was the Pied Piper. Beautiful memories. Thank you, Google.
2017 Life Logs, Day 269: Do-Nothing Day
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Weather: Another Beautiful Day; High 81, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
We all deserve a do-nothing day once in a while. Right? Well, right or not, I took one today. I ran some errands this morning, sat in the sun for an hour this afternoon, and then started the prep for tomorrow morning’s colonoscopy. Doing nothing can be good, but unfortunately for me, it gave me more time to worry about Justin and Jo and the other 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico. I hear President Trump congratulating himself for doing such a good job of supporting Puerto Rico because he said the Governor of Puerto Rico thanked him for his wonderful support. Of course, he did. And I’m sure the Governor is thankful for the emergency food, water, and boots on the ground. But sending emergency food and water is not going to solve this problem. Getting fuel there will help, but the Congress needs to repeal the Jones Act so it will be easier and cheaper for fuel to get to the island. And we need to talk about infrastructure. That many people cannot live for months on-end on bottled water and no electricity on an island where all trees and any crops have been destroyed and where people have no way to communicate with the outside world and no way to preserve the food they have. We need to be talking about rebuilding the entire infrastructure on the island. We need to deliver a telecommunications network so the people of Puerto Rico can communicate with the outside world. But instead, our President is focused on further dividing our nation by ranting non-stop about football players exercising their right of non-violent protest by kneeling during the national anthem. As Americans, they have the reason and the right to do this, but a President of this great country does not have the right to use divisive language to tear us apart. He needs to focus on supporting the people of Houston, of Florida, and of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We have much, much, much more important things to do than rant about non-violent protest. (deep breath) Okay. Got that off my chest. Unfortunately, I probably have another do-nothing day tomorrow, so watch out. Tomorrow night’s log might be yet another rant on what should be.
I have not heard from Justin and family since the initial contact on Sunday via Skype messaging. I leave Skype up on my computer all day long in the hopes that I will get a message and can get back to him. I don’t want to go out in the afternoons because I want to be here in case Justin tries to make contact. Supposedly, he should be able to message me via Skype on my phone, so if I am out and about, hopefully I’ll get the message. I check Facebook over and over and over during the day looking for any little bit of information. I know they are safe for now, but I am so anxious for the time when I can hear their voices and find out from them what life is really like for them in their area of Puerto Rico. JJZ&C—We love you. Hang in there!
The bright spot in the day, rather evening, was the sunset. I missed the Newcomers Sunset Cruise on the Island Queen tonight, but I watched from the deck as they headed out. Later I enjoyed the sunset. It was the most colorful I have seen since last fall.
2017 Life Logs, Day 268: Busy Monday
Date: Monday, September 25, 2017
Weather: Beautiful Day; High 77, Low 62 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
This was one busy Monday. I started by attending a Newcomers Teacher Group planning session. This group makes once a month ‘field trips’ to a museum or other interesting location and this morning was the planning session for this coming year. It was afternoon by the time I got home for lunch and then it was off to Bruce and Jane Woodin’s to sand, tape off, and varnish Pooh’s brightwork. Bruce joined me for the varnishing and we barely finished in time to head to the public library for a 5 pm simulcast with Atul Gawande. If you don’t know who he is, you need to get a copy of his book, Being Mortal. And before that was over, I had to sneak out to get to Heather and Jed’s to stay with Ollie and Sam while everyone else either went to a scout meeting or a Meet the Teachers night at Sam’s new school. Sam would normally have been going to a scout meeting, but now he has Ollie’s cold. I am sure it will travel around to each of us. I’m just waiting my turn. Then it was home to make some phone calls to people Justin had sent numbers for to tell them that family in Puerto Rico are okay. It was not until this evening that Heather and Jed checked their house phone for messages. Evidently Justin has gotten to someone’s satellite phone on Saturday and called Heather with the “We are okay” message and a list of numbers to call to spread that word to other families. Most of the people had already heard, but two had not and they were so very elated to get the message. One father and one grandmother said it would be their first night of sleep in a week. I wish I had gotten the message earlier, but better late than never.
Tomorrow should be a bit quieter. I would like to get another coat of varnish on Pooh’s brightwork, but that might not happen as tomorrow I start the “colonoscopy cocktail” routine. I have a routine colonoscopy on Wednesday morning, so that is how I will spend that day.
2017 Life Logs, Day 267: GLORIOUS DAY—Contact with Justin and Jo
Date: Sunday, September 24, 2017
Weather: Gloriously Sunny; High 80, Low 59 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
It was a GLORIOUS DAY. Jose left us yesterday and this morning it was bright and sunny for the first time in days. The sunshine felt great, but there was still no word from Justin and Jo. I went to West Falmouth Harbor to help Bruce and his son Eric get Pooh out of the water. More about that in a bit. I came home for lunch and to check the Rincon Facebook pages for new information. I got an email from Jo’s family and emailed back to them, that I still had heard nothing. Just as I sent that email, the phone rang. It was my niece Janet calling from Nashville. She asked if Heather or I had heard from Justin. I said no, and then she said that unless she was crazy, she had just gotten a message from him on Facebook that said, “We are okay.” She had been madly sending messages on Facebook contacting anyone she knew to see if they had information, and her timing was perfect. Just as she was doing this, Justin, Jo, and kids were at the townhall in Rincon where they were using the town internet to check Facebook and do Skype messaging. (They can do this, but not receive email or do internet searches.) They were both posting to Facebook when Justin saw Janet’s plea and answered with the okay message. Janet sent a message back to him immediately and he said to tell her to have me get on Skype. He called, but I could hear nothing. So, then we started writing messages back and forth. If you are a parent, I’m sure you understand just how relieved I was to read these words, “Things are OK here. We are fine and fed, the kids are doing well. The community is holding together so far.” Then I got ‘I Love You’ messages from Ziggy and Coco followed by this very five-year-old message from Coco, “I wish we could see you one day. I hope you have a happy holiday.” Since the kids are out of school, I think Coco believes she is on holiday! Then there was an eight-year-old request from Ziggy, “Please send chocolate!” Yep. He’s my grandchild. For those of you not on Facebook, I am copying Justin’s post at the end of this email. The bottom line being they are safe, their home served as a mighty fortress during the hurricane, they have plenty of food and water for now, and now they are trying to gather information in order to make a decision on what to do next. Justin asked me to get the Skype app on my phone so he can contact me when he has the opportunity. I have done that and will wait for the next contact. Thank you to everyone who has been watching and waiting with us. Your comments on Facebook and in emails have helped me through this and your offers of helping in some way are most generous. There is nothing we can do just yet. We just have to wait and see if mail service resumes or if there is any other way to send things.
It was a great morning for getting Pooh out of the water—warm, very little wind, and high tide. We had trouble getting the motor started, but finally we were underway. We brought Pooh to the dock so we could offload the mast, boom, gaff pole, and other boat ‘stuff’. When we got to the dock to unload, I heard familiar voices. I looked up and saw Mike and Gretchen Coughlin, good friends from the Concord Yacht Club. Gretchen’s family home is almost across the street from the dock. They were visiting this weekend and getting ready to launch their new-to-them beetle cat boat. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see them. We talked while Bruce and Eric got the things off the boat. Then Bruce and Eric went to the launch ramp and I motored the boat to them. We thought things were going perfectly at first, but we had trouble getting the boat centered on the trailer and then a tiny disaster hit. The winch we were using to reel her in broke. The inner workings of the winch handle stripped. That meant we had get the boat on the trailer by physically manhandling her. Bruce was concerned that we were holding up others wanted to use the launch ranch, but lucky for us it was just Mike and Gretchen and they were very understanding. Finally, Bruce found a way to jerry-rig the winch handle and we got the boat on the trailer and pulled her out of the water. Lucky for us it was just Mike and Gretchen that were waiting to use the ramp and they were very understanding. We finally got the boat full on the trailer and pulled her out of the water. I said farewells to Mike and Gretchen, and we were off to take Pooh to the Woodin’s. All is well that ends well.
Here’s the post from Justin’s Facebook page:
Hi everyone – so, Maria hit us hard. Power is out and will be for a long time. Right now I’m using the town offices internet, they are running a generator, no idea how they have internet. Gas is out. Ships are coming in starting tomorrow I think – there is no way to communicate here – not sure if cellular will come back up and if so when – it could be a very long time judging by the conditions.
Because there is very little news we don’t know what is happening. I’ve heard it is possible another storm is coming through Sunday.
For those that are worried, the dam that may collapse would not directly impact us (as in, our house wouldn’t get washed away) but obviously if the 20,000 people in the path of that are impacted the refugee situation will be serious.
There has been some violence and looting. There is a 6pm curfew in effect. We are keeping safe.
Our house is fine. Our farm is injured. We only lost one chicken, but so many trees. We used to live in a forest, now we live in a field of sticks. The trees that are standing don’t have any leaves. Many trees are down.
Our house is amazing. It is a little ship. We boarded up all the windows. It was quiet. Ziggy said – “That was so weird. We were like ‘Let’s watch a movie.’ Hey what was that sound? ‘Oh, nothing. Let’s read a book.’ Hey, what was that sound? ‘Oh, nothing.’ Hey look – the whole world is gone.”
We are OK. Heather M. Handley Goldstone, please let folks know. I’m not sure what is going to happen. A lot of people are leaving. We are trying to figure it out step by step.
2017 Life Logs, Day 266: The Wait Continues
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2017
Weather: Overcast; High 64, Low 60 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA
The wait continues. According to posts on Rincon, Puerto Rico Facebook pages, people in that area are starting to find ways to communicate, but those people are few and far between. I have been contemplating flying down if we hear nothing by midweek, but tonight I saw that even if there is a rental car to be had, there might not be any fuel. Rightly, fuel is being reserved for emergencies. So plans for a trip will have to wait until I am sure I can actually reach Justin and Jo without using precious resources that cannot be replaced. Heather contacted someone on Facebook who says she is flying down on Tuesday and if going to try to get to Rincon. Heather gave her contact information for Justin, but that person might never reach Rincon. So, we must live each day in hopes that that we will hear good news soon. If Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco are safe, which I really feel they must be, they are still having to face so many decisions. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to think you might have to leave your home. But with the prospect of not having electricity and cell or wi-fi for a long period of time, this is something they must be considering. My heart breaks for them, but all I can do is to support them with whatever decision they make.
In the meantime, life must go on here. This morning I called to check in on the Goldstones and found out that Heather had to go to Martha’s Vineyard to moderate a panel discussion and Jed had the boys for the day. He had to take Sam and Jonah to a Scout event and then had to head off-Cape to coach Sam’s soccer game. He said Ollie’s cold was worse, so I offered to take Ollie for the day. I needed to get ready for a dinner party tonight, but I could do that with my little buddy. So, Ollie and I had another day together and I think Ollie enjoyed helping me get ready for tonight’s dinner party. It was my turn to host the Newcomers Dining-in Group that I joined in the spring and I had decided to have a paella party. Ollie helped me make non-alcoholic sangria and we both loved it. I used white grape juice as the base and put it in the Vita-mix with some blueberries to turn it red. I approached it as a science experiment and Ollie loved the color change. But getting ready for the dinner party took more than cooking. It took a bit of rearranging to figure out how to fit nine people at a dining table in my apartment. With the use of deck tables and chairs, it worked. The main dish was a seafood and chorizo paella served with a simple green salad with garbanzo beans provided by Midge and Bill Frieswyk. Before the main course, we had gazpacho that I made, fresh local clams provided by Karen and Peter Baranowski and then steamed in a Spanish tomato sauce upon arrival, and Manchego cheese and marinated green olives brought by Olivia and Terry White. All of this was topped by a chocolate fudge cake with a brandy sauce brought by Jane and Bruce Woodin. The food was great but it is always the comradery that is the most important part of the evening. I joined this group in the spring, but I was not sure I was going to be able to pull off a dinner for that many people in my small space. It worked and it was fun! And now I can stay in the group knowing I can do this. Thanks to Rich and Leslie Kole, my good friends in New Hampshire, for providing the paella recipe. I have seen them prepare and serve this dinner for dinner parties in the past, so although I had never done this before, I had a little experience from watching Rich work his magic in the kitchen. It takes a village.
Tomorrow morning I am headed to West Falmouth Harbor to help Bruce take Pooh out of the water for this season. He and Jane are headed to Europe in early October and tomorrow is the day their son Eric can help. So my morning will be spent messing about with boats. Not sure about the afternoon. It looks like Jose might finally be headed out to sea and we might get a hint of sunshine. That would be wonderful.