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!

2021 Life Logs, Day 89: Out Like a Lamb

2021 Life Logs, Day 89: Out Like a Lamb
Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High 52, Low, 43 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

March came in like a lion. On the first day of March it was overcast with pouring rain. I wrote in my log that evening that it was raining so hard in the morning that Shadow and I had to abort our Morning Mile walk. I think that was the first time all winter we had to totally abort. There were a couple of days that we only walked half a mile, but one of these was the second day of March! The second day of March was just COLD. Here was my weather summary in my log that day:

March 2: Overcast with Rain; High 31, Low, 24 degrees F (as low as 2 F with wind chill)

And it went on. March 3 was a little better in that it was mostly sunny and a little warmer, but the wind was coming from the north and it still felt icy. So, based on those weather reports, I say that March definitely came in like a lion on Cape Cod.

Today, being the last day of March, was a great improvement over the beginning of the month, Therefore, I declare that March went out like a lamb. It was sunny and 52 degrees today, a little windy, but not too bad. The high temperature tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 60’s, so I might abandon my writing for a couple of hours and do some gardening. Then we get rain, but I must remember that we need those April rains to bring the flowers (and peas that I will plant tomorrow) in May and June.

I got stuck in Tahiti today in my writing. Maybe it was because Tahiti was not one of my favorite places to visit on the voyage of Windbird or maybe it was because during the time we were there Mark’s sister Mary Ellen and brother-in-law Lee flew in to visit. We were so busy that I struggled to write logs during that time that accurately reflected what we were doing. So today I had to ‘fill in the blanks’ by going back and looking at photos and researching the names of places we visited to make sure my memory was correct. But I persisted and got us back to Moorea, the island ‘next door’ to Tahiti, where we had been for a few days before sailing to Tahiti to pick up Mary Ellen and Lee. Both Mark and I loved Moorea, but I tomorrow I will be writing about one dark memory from there—the evening I broke my leg. I rarely have looked back to that time. Once it happened, I decided that I just had to deal with it and move on. And I did. It was not a terrible break, just the fibula which is the smaller of the two bones in your lower leg. Hobbling on one leg with crutches was not fun, but other than snorkeling, I did most everything I would have without a broken leg—just a little slower. And I did manage to do a version of snorkeling in Bora Bora by wrapping my cast in a huge Zip-Lock baggie intended for storing bedding to keep the cast from getting wet and then leaning over the side of the dinghy with my face mask in the water. It was a bit awkward, but it worked!

This afternoon, instead of picking up Ollie after school, I picked Sam up after school and took him to his drum lesson. Jed was at work this afternoon and Heather had a meeting at Ollie’s school, so she picked him up. Tomorrow Ollie and I have a ‘date’ after school. He wants a bird feeder and seed specifically for chickadees, so we will go shopping. He is still under doctor’s orders to limit physical activity as the swelling in left knee due to Lyme disease persists. He is in his fourth week of taking doxycycline, but because the swelling has not gone down they will extend the time he is on the antibiotic. The doctor has removed the fluid two times, but in both cases, it just came right back. He has another doctor appointment this Friday, so we will just have to wait and see where things go from here. It pains me to watch him fighting this. How can a little tick cause so much trouble?!

2021 Life Logs, Day 88: New On-Demand Water Heater

2021 Life Logs, Day 88: New On-Demand Water Heater
Date: Monday, March 29, 2021
Weather: Sunny and Windy; High 51, Low, 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was new hot water heater day at the cottage. National Grid is my natural gas provider. In order to take advantage of their very generous offer to insulate and tighten up the cottage so that I am not wasting precious natural gas, they required a new hot water heater. My old did not have a built-in fan which caused it to leak fumes. The new one did not have to be an on-demand tankless one, but that’s what I wanted, and my gracious landlord said okay. Today was installation day. It took all morning, but things went smoothly. National Grid is busy these days and they cannot come recheck things until May 21, but hopefully they can start the work soon after.

After lunch I drove to Falmouth Heights Beach to meet friend Jane Wooden to walk and visit. It was too windy to walk along the beach, but we headed inland and that worked. When I got home, I had a surprise visit from another good friend, Olivia White. Olivia had been shopping at Mahoney’s Garden Center which is about a mile from here, so she decided she should stop by to say hello. I was delighted to see her and was sorry that my outside chairs are still in the basement. I must get them out so I can sit outside with friends. But we stood in the driveway and that worked. This weekend I get my second vaccine, but I am wondering if I am ever going to feel comfortable inviting people into my house or going into theirs. I am just not ready for that quite yet. After Olivia left, I had time to wind up the writing I had done during the morning and then it was time to pick Ollie up from school, take Jonah to the skatepark, come home and play ball with Shadow, and cook dinner. So goes a day in the life.

2021 Life Logs, Day 87: Passover Seder with the Goldstones

2021 Life Logs, Day 87: Passover Seder with the Goldstones
Date: Sunday, March 28, 2021
Weather: Overcast and Rainy; High 56, Low, 42 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

This evening I went to Heather and Jed’s for their Passover Seder which is a dinner following a ritual reading from some version of the Haggadah. The Haggadah is simply the text that sets forth the order of the evening by retelling the story of the Israelites being led out of Egypt. Heather put a lot of effort into tonight’s Seder modernizing it a bit for the boys.
And this year, the boys took a passage from the Haggadah literally. It says that we “recline at the Seder table because in ancient times, a person who reclined at a meal was a free person, while the slaves stood.” The boys each brought a comfortable chair to the table tonight allowed them to ‘relax’. Part of the Seder deals with the plagues that were inflected on Egypt. In addition to the text about the ancient plagues, each of us brought an item representing something we see as a plague on people today and explained that. That led to some interesting discussions. We were joined by Marti, Jed’s mother, via Zoom. Marti lives in Washington, DC. It was 82 degrees there and she was able to ‘take’ us outside to see the cherry trees in full bloom on her street. What a beautiful sight that was!

Otherwise, I spent my day writing and working on my current jigsaw puzzle. Having a puzzle on the dining table beside my computer makes it easy to take a short break from writing to find homes for a few more pieces each day.

2021 Life Logs, Day 86: Just a Saturday

2021 Life Logs, Day 86: Just a Saturday
Date: Saturday, March 27, 2021
Weather: Sunny; High 57, Low, 39 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

While I was finishing up writing about the four-day passage from the Marquesas Islands to the Society Islands in French Polynesia, I read in one of my logs from those days that Mark was reading a really fascinating little book. It was “The Year 1000: What Life Was Like At The Turn of the First Millennium” by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger. The book gives the background for many of our English words. As that point in our trip, we were struggling with French and the various Polynesian languages. Reading that book made Mark reflect on the fact that most of us know so little about our own language. The chapter he was reading on the passage was dealing with how the names of the week originated. The Babylonians named the days of the week after the five planets they recognized, plus Sun-day for the sun and Moon-day for the moon. But what about Saturday? It comes from Saturn, the ancient Roman god of fun and feasting. I suppose it should be Saturn-day. Whatever, I did not engage in any fun or feasting today. I guess I can count writing as fun since I am enjoying it so much, but I believe the ancient Romans were thinking of a different kind of fun.

There was one special highlight today. The daffodils just outside my front door bloomed. I love those yellow blossoms.

I alternated writing with doing some outside work. I borrowed Jed’s loppers that will cut through a branch that is almost 2-inches in diameter. I was trying to clear the paths that Shadow and I walk in the woods surrounding the cottage and somehow pulled a muscle in my right thigh. I honestly can’t figure out how I managed to do this, it really hurts when I walk. I am hoping a good night’s rest will take care of the problem. I knew I should have just stayed inside and kept writing!

Passover began at sundown today. Heather and Jed were planning to have a Seder at nightfall, but they were so busy today that it was just going to be too stressful to get it together. So, we will just have a first Seder on the second night of Passover.

2021 Life Logs, Day 85: Zoom Presentation, Editing, Writing

2021 Life Logs, Day 85: Zoom Presentation, Editing, Writing
Date: Friday, March 26, 2021
Weather: Misty, then Windy and Foggy; High 58, Low, 42 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

By the time I got up, got dressed, made a breakfast smoothie, and took Shadow for his Morning Mile walk, it was time for my 10:30 Zoom presentation on The Voyage of Windbird. People signed up for this through the Lifelong Learning Program sponsored by the Friends of Snow Library in Orleans. The PowerPoint presentation was an hour long and the Q & A was another half hour. A couple of people from my book club signed up as well as friend Olga Mitchell. Since I didn’t know any of the other people, it was great to see faces I knew. The presentation got a very positive reception, but if I am ever going to get this book written, I think I’ll have to shy away from presentation for a while. It just takes too much preparation time. But I did get a question today that gave me another job to do. One woman asked if I had other videos from the voyage. I answered that I have many, but that they have not been edited. Mark was always my editor, and I just don’t have the time. She suggested I give that job to a grandchild. I thought that was a great idea! And I also got to reconnect with Barbara Semple from Chatham. I didn’t know she was going to be attending, so it was a fun surprise. Barbara saw the presentation a couple of years ago and then I went to see her make her presentation featuring the history of her sailing family. She has the original diaries of a great aunt who traveled with her husband who was a sea captain. It was a fun morning for me.

After lunch, I finished editing Chapter 12 on the Marquesas Islands and am now writing Chapter 13 on the Society Islands—Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, and Bora Bora. In doing so, I went back to read my logs from that time. When we left the Marquesas, there was a four-day passage to the Tuamotus. We had some unusually rough weather on that passage that I wrote about in my log. Heather wrote back to us with a rant about Cape Cod weather that June. This was on June 9th in 2006. Today I found it a little depressing to be reminded that summer is not just around the corner. We have a long, unpredictable Cape Cod spring to survive first. Here are some excerpts from the 2006 log.

Day 235, Year 1: Lumpy, Bumpy Ride
Date: Friday, June 9, 2006
Location: Marquesas to Tuamotus Transit, Day 4

We are having a lumpy, bumpy ride out here, but we are both fine. I remember reading “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day” over and over to our children and I think Pooh would agree that this passage has been blustery. We have periods of sunshine with puffy white clouds and then all of a sudden one of those clouds starts to darken, the winds increase, and we get a mix of high winds and rain. Things just begin to settle down, and it happens again—squall after squall after squall.

Our daughter Heather wrote her version of a “Captain’s Rambling” to us yesterday, but she admitted it was more “ranting” than “rambling” about the weather back home. Here’s part of what she had to say: “I’ve decided that Cape Cod is on its own very special tectonic plate that moves around the globe randomly. For a couple of winters, when Buzzards Bay froze shore to shore, I was convinced we were in the Artic Circle. Now I believe we’re in Bangladesh during monsoon season. It has been raining for weeks, with the exception of Memorial Day weekend. I actually had to wade to and from my car today as the entrance to the parking lot was flooded 4+ inches deep and the ‘puddle’ had no edges. It just connected a marsh to a stream. Rivers around New England are at or above flood stage, and we’re due to get 4 inches of rain tomorrow … 4 inches in one day! Not to mention gusts to 40 knots and thunderstorms.”

Well, I hope we don’t get 4 inches out here today, but we will probably have 40 knots. And I feel more like I am in the North Atlantic than the South Pacific. We have the warm weather, but not the steady trades. Today we were getting winds north of east again. But I don’t think I’ll get any sympathy from anyone from the Northeast. Hopefully we will be safely tucked into the atoll of Ahe by mid-morning tomorrow and snorkeling in the clear, warm waters by tomorrow afternoon. Sorry, Heather!

Note: The next day in my log, I had to write an apology to Heather for rubbing it in a bit. The weather got even worse and we had to abandon our stop in the Tuamotus and sail on.

2021 Life Logs, Day 84: Editing and Preparing

2021 Life Logs, Day 84: Editing and Preparing
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021
Weather: Misty Morning, Sunny Afternoon; High 63, Low, 45 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

My days are fairly predictable these days. I get up at 6:30ish to take Shadow outside for a pee break. I then go back to bed for an hour or two, get up, do stretching exercises to keep my back happy, get dressed, take Shadow for our daily mile walk, come home. I then sit down at my computer with my smoothie in hand, read the NYT Daily online, work the mini-crossword, and then either write or edit for a couple of hours. I stop at some point to eat lunch and continue writing or editing. Things change at 3 pm each day when I head out to pick Ollie up after school and then take Jonah to the skatepark for an hour or so. When I come home, I take Shadow for another walk or play ball with him. I come inside and continue writing or editing for a couple of hours, eat a late dinner, and then get on my exercise bike and pedal away while I catch up on the news of the day, write my log, go to bed and read for an hour, then collapse. In between all of this, I read and return emails, work on my current jigsaw puzzle, Today was an editing day and an I had the added task of preparing for a Zoom presentation on The Voyage of Windbird for tomorrow. The problem with this schedule is that there is no time for preparing meals, cleaning house, or gardening. Tomorrow will be different in that I will be making a presentation from 10:30 am to 12 noon. I think I will then have lunch and do outside activities from 1:00 until 3:00 pm and only allow myself to write from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. I’ll let you know how the new schedule goes.

Ollie had an appointment with the orthopedist this morning before school to check on his swollen knee caused by Lyme disease. They had to remove more fluid from his knee and they are going to extend the time he is on Doxycycline. If the Doxycycline is doing its job, the fluid gathering on his knee due to inflammation should go away. It pains me to watch him going through this, but he is a trooper. He hates it when they remove the fluid because he says it hurts so much it makes him cry. But otherwise, I don’t hear him complain. Lyme disease affects everyone so differently and is so hard to conquer. He has another appointment next Thursday and I just hope there is some improvement.

2021 Life Logs, Day 83: First Crocus in Bloom

2021 Life Logs, Day 83: First Crocus in Bloom
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Weather: Sunny Early, Then Overcast; High 54, Low, 42 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Saturday was the first day of spring, but at that point I had seen no spring flowers in bloom. Today was an early release day for Ollie and when I drove him home and parked the car in the driveway, I spied a little dot of the color purple in the landscaped area by the driveway. I told Ollie to go investigate and we both delighted to see the first flowers of spring in bloom. The tiny purple crocuses with their bright yellow centers were such a delight to see. He went in to get Heather and bring her out. There were squeals of joy. Spring has officially arrived.

It was also a day of joy for Massachusetts. Boston Mayor Marti Walsh is headed to Washington to serve as President Biden’s Secretary of Labor. And after 200 years of being a city with a white man as the chief executive, Boston’s acting Mayor is now a black woman, Kim Janey. A new era is ushered in . . . finally.

I achieved my goal today of finishing up Chapter 12 of my proposed book and I started writing Chapter 13. I did a quick reread of Chapter 12 which is about the time Windbird spent in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. I will begin tomorrow by reading it again and making a few more edits. Then I will continue on with the new chapter about our time in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, and Bora Bora. When Mark and I left the Marquesas, we were headed for the Tuamotus. We never got there. So, I started the chapter today writing about how plans change. I started the new chapter by writing, “Of all the people we met while sailing around the world, it was a couple we met on Langkawi Island in Malaysia, and with whom we buddy sailed across the Indian Ocean, that we remained closest to once we returned home. Ed and Lynne on Constance were in the sixteenth year of their circumnavigation when we met. They had been ‘out there’ long enough to know what they were doing. They soon learned that Mark and I lived by an adapted version of a Ben Franklin quote. ‘If you don’t have a plan, you are planning to fail.’ When I would say this to Lynne, she would always smile and say, ‘You can make all the plans you want, but then life happens.’ Our planning, and then our rapid change of plans during our last days in the Marquesas and on our passage to the Tuamotus was a perfect example of Lynne’s ‘then life happens’.” So true.

2021 Life Logs, Day 82: Beautiful Weather

2021 Life Logs, Day 82: Beautiful Weather
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 60, Low, 37 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Finally. We are having a stretch of beautiful weather. Little wind, warm temperatures, sunshine. Delightful. I love it. Normally I would be outside getting the gardens ready, but I find I cannot pry myself away from my computer. I desperately wanted to complete another book chapter today. I did not make my goal, but almost. I will finish it tomorrow and head on to the Society Islands in French Polynesia—Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Bora Bora. This will be chapter 13 and it was in Moorea that I broke my leg. Fitting chapter number for that little catastrophe. BTY–I am so superstitious that I thought about not having a chapter 13!

Last night I wrote a bit about our hike to a waterfall on the island of Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas. I mentioned that I was not sure I was going to finish that hike without being injured due to the rough terrain. This morning I got an email from my friend Lynne Kirwin who is currently living in New Zealand. The first time she walked to that waterfall she broke a bone in her foot. Testament to the fact that it really was a treacherous walk.

I recently finished reading a book that I highly recommend. Heather gave me the book for my birthday because she had really enjoyed reading it. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd is a novel, totally fiction, but the author meticulously researched the history of the time period. That research was reflected in the book. It is the story of a young woman named Ana who marries Jesus. She is from a privileged family and is quite the liberated young woman for those times. There is no historical proof that Jesus ever married, but Sue Monk Kidd helps you imagine what it could have been like if he had. It was a book I had a hard time putting down.

2021 Life Logs, Day 81: Writing, Writing

2021 Life Logs, Day 81: Writing, Writing
Date: Monday, March 22, 2021
Weather: Another Beautiful Day; High 56, Low, 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

It was another beautiful day in the neighborhood that I spent inside writing. I can’t help myself. I have this aching desire to just keep writing. Of course, I did walk my daily mile with Shadow plus I played ball with him in the afternoon and took another shorter walk. I also picked Ollie up from school and took him home. Otherwise, I either worked on a presentation that I make on Friday for the Snow Library in Orleans on the Outer Cape via Zoom, of course, or I was sitting at my dining table ‘office’ writing.

As I wrote this afternoon, I was wondering if the person I was writing about could really be me.
When Windbird sailed into Taioa Bay, also known as Daniel’s Bay, on the island of Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, we could see a waterfall falling from the top of a high peak. We knew it dropped 350 meters or 1,148 feet and we wanted to walk inland to the base of the falls. The next day we set out to do just that. Guides books were vague but said it should be about a three-hour walk round trip. Well, it was a five-hour trip over rough terrain. We got lost and crossed the same rushing stream multiple times. “There were few times that day when I seriously was not sure I was going to survive the walk to the waterfall without serious injury.” But Mark and I made it and it was spectacular. Maybe crazy, but spectacular none the less. And we understood why Survivor had done their fourth season in that valley. I have never watched a Survivor episode, but someday I should take a look at the Marquesas season. So, the sailing adventure of Windbird continues. I am truly hopeful that I will get out of the Marquesas Islands tomorrow and on to Chapter 13 about our time in the Society Islands. Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora are all in the Societies, so I have a lot to write about. BTW–Both the Marquesas and the Society Islands are in French Polynesia. By the end of the week my hope is that we will be sailing out of French Polynesia and headed for Rarotonga in the Cooks Islands.

2021 Life Logs, Day 80: Happy Birthday to Ollie

2021 Life Logs, Day 80: Happy Birthday to Ollie
Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Weather: Beautiful Day; High 56, Low, 31 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today was Ollie’s 9th birthday and what a beautiful day for an outside birthday party. Last year for his birthday, we all went for a walk in a nearby conservation area. It was the first time I had seen Heather and family for over a week as we were all in lockdown due to the pandemic. But he had a great Zoom call with friends on his way home, driving by the homes of each of his friends so they could give him a birthday wave.
This year was a little better as he had four friends over, all masked, and playing yard games. They played Kubb, which is a Swedish game, and then croquet. They had cupcakes on the deck and played giant Jenga and giant dominoes. Then it was hide ‘n seek, a walk around the boardwalk nature trail in the neighborhood, and finally bocce ball. During the afternoon outside with the boys, Heather and Jed were able to get a little yard work done and I made a quick trip home to get a couple of bean towers so that Heather could plant snap peas in their front yard garden. All of the landscaping on their property is ornamental plants, not vegetables. But little by little I think Heather will find a way to change that.

After Ollie’s friends left, he opened presents from me and from Jed. He had opened presents from Grammy Goldstone and his big present from Heather and Jed in the morning. The big present was a huge, long bean bag seat. It is very versatile. You can lay it out flat and use it like a lounge chair or double it up into a seat with a back. And it is soooo comfortable. I melted right into. Then the problem was getting out of it!

I made another quick trip home to take Shadow for a walk and then went back for dinner. Ollie ‘ordered’ Korean ribs. Jed had never fixed them before, but he gave it a try and they were delicious. Heather stir-fried veggies and made rice to go with the ribs. All yummy. And then we had Boston Creme Cake. It was Heather’s first attempt at making this. She thought she had used too much vanilla and cooked the cake part too long. I disagreed.
I thought it was just perfect and so did Ollie. Before we ate dinner, we went around the table to share one story about Ollie. Heather shared the story of when Granddad and I brought Sam and Jonah to the hospital to first meet Ollie when he was only an hour old. What a beautiful memory that was. We were all totally fascinated by that little creature and still are. Happy Birthday, Ollie!