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 291: The Times They Are A’Changin

2017 Life Logs, Day 291: The Times They Are A’Changin
Date: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Weather: Lovely Fall Day; High 68, Low 53 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

Today I thought of Bob Dylan’s song, The Times They Are A’Changing, more than once. First it happened when I went to the post office to send two more packages to Justin and Jo. The postman on duty was not the one that is usually there and he casually asked what I was sending to Puerto Rico that was so heavy. I explained that it was books for home schooling. Then one of the postmen who is usually there came out from the back room. Somehow, they got into a fury bashing President Trump’s handling of the fallen soldiers in Niger. They used language I never thought I’d hear coming from a postman. And all I could think is . . . the times, they must be changing. What has happened to make a public employee feel that he can express his feelings like this to a customer he has never met? I just stood wide-eyed and then left. I actually agreed with what was being said, but I would never express that to people I had never met before. Something is happening in this country.

The second time today that I thought of the words in Dylan’s song was when I communicated with Justin. In the late afternoon I heard a ding on my computer that I knew was Justin on Skype messaging. I ran from the kitchen to my computer and read his message. We were able to message back and forth long enough for me to understand that there has been a change in what is happening there. Justin expressed it by saying they no longer need water purification tablets (although they really do in the short run). Rather, they need concrete cisterns and industrial grade water filters. This led me to understand that he, and everyone else there is realizing that their situation is not temporary. They are now fully realizing that they are going to have to live without any modern conveniences for a very long time. The words stating that have been said since Maria hit, but true realization is different. Mark and I reared our children to believe that anything is possible and I know Justin believes that. But I could tell today that he is tired. Things are too hard. Everything takes too long. A two-minute phone call takes 40 minutes because the call is dropped so many times. But I hope he can take a deep breath and regain his momentum. As any mother would do, I will do everything in my power to help. I just wish I had Mark here to help me. He would be able to figure out what kind of solar system Justin needs to run a refrigerator and a satellite dish for internet. And he would know how to figure out what satellite internet system he needs and how the solar system and satellite equipment would interface. But I don’t have Mark, so I need to figure all of this out on my own and very quickly.

2017 Life Logs, Day 290: Great News from Nyack

2017 Life Logs, Day 290: Great News from Nyack
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Weather: Partly Sunny and Cool; High 58, Low 48 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

The highlight of my day was a text from Ed and Lynne Kirwin in Nyack, New York. If you have read this log over time, you know that Mark and I sailed across the Indian Ocean on Windbird with Ed and Lynne on their boat Constance. We didn’t know one another until then, but we spent six weeks in India together, two months in the Chagos, and four months in Madagascar. This gave us the chance to become very close friends. And again, if you have read this log over time, you are probably aware that Ed was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2015 and was given only months to live. But today he was given another two months off chemo because the scans show that his body is holding its own for now. He has spent the past two months chemo-free and now he has the gift of another two months without having to deal with the terrible side effects of chemotherapy. After beginning the chemotherapy treatments in 2015, Ed had so many side effects that he it was difficult, if not impossible, for him to walk for any distance. He and Lynne researched and got linked up with the Pine Street Clinic near San Francisco. The Clinic works with Ed’s oncologist at Sloan-Kettering in New York City to provide appropriate supplements to his chemo treatment. The Pine Street Clinic provides the right mix of Chinese herbs along with high doses of Vitamin D and other vitamins. And Ed and Lynne’s research led them to change their diet. Ed eats almost no sugar, including natural sources of sugar in fruits and limits carbohydrates to a minimum. He starts every day, and I mean every day, with a green smoothie that includes kale, celery, cucumber, parsley, some nuts, and an apple to sweeten it up. The apple is his one exception to the no sugar rule. He eats organic and Lynne ferments cabbage that they include with other fermented vegetables with lunch every day to keep the gut working properly. The results have been miraculous. Ed knows he is buying time, but he has been playing golf four days a week and spending quality time with his sons and grandchildren. Ed and Lynne, congratulations! I know how much time you spend buying and preparing the ‘just right’ food, but I’m sure the news today makes it all worth it.

I spent my day getting packages ready to send to Puerto Rico and taking them to the Post Office. Then I picked Ollie and Jonah up from school and spent the afternoon and evening with them. Heather was in Boston and Jed and Sam had soccer practice. I worked with Jonah helping him with a book report that is due on Friday, fixed dinner, and then spent some time with Ollie after dinner while Jed helped Jonah finish up that book report. When I picked Jonah and Ollie up from school, they were both in such a good mood. They are both really enjoying school this year. Sam rides the bus home from his school and goes to his room to read and work on homework, so I don’t get to see his happy face coming out of school. But he seems to be enjoying his year as well. Happy boys make for a happy Oma!

2017 Life Logs, Day 289: Focus on Puerto Rico

2017 Life Logs, Day 289: Focus on Puerto Rico
Date: Monday, October 16, 2017
Weather: Overcast; High 65, Low 41 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I’ve been sitting at this dining room table working at this computer screen for most of the day. I did go out to buy some Halloween fun stuff to send to Ziggy and Coco, but then I was back at work. In the afternoon, I was connected via Skype messaging with Justin. He had hoped to have a new website up and running today that would be a place for people to check in to see what the current needs are, but things are changing there and the website might be a duplication. So, he has put that on hold. The Rincon Beer Company that transformed itself into a soup kitchen after the hurricane and has now become the official relief distribution point. If they put up a website listing needs, then a second one would be unnecessary. So Justin went to Mayaguez today to try and check into a hotel so he could use their internet to get some work done. But now that FEMA and military personnel are there, no rooms are available. He paid $25 to use the internet but had to work in the very busy and noisy lobby. And internet is very spotty, not allowing us to talk via Skype. We had to message back and forth. We are trying to figure out if there is way that Justin can get back to work by installing a solar power system and satellite internet. In other words, he needs to be totally independent. Of course it can be done, but the cost is pricey. And I learned from Justin today that he has been told that it is illegal in Puerto Rico to set up an independent solar system in your home that is not connected to the grid. The grid doesn’t exist right now, but anything we do now would need to have the capacity of being connected eventually. Justin is going to a meeting tomorrow where the possibility of setting up charging stations and internet in the town plaza in Aguada will be discussed. And if he has time, he might drive further north to Aguadilla to talk to the people at Maximo, a solar energy company. He is so lucky that they are so close. Now that I have been able to get money to him, at least he can drive to these places to check out possibilities. Stay tuned for further reports on progress. And there was a bit of really good news today. Packages that I sent through the US Postal System soon after Maria are finally starting to arrive. Even a package that contained a large amount of cash arrived intact. So I have faith that packages sent through UPS or through the Postal System will arrive.

I’ll end this log with a bit of a rant and then I’ll list the items that I know Justin and Jo and neighbors could use. It is not an exhaustive list, but it is the current Top 20. If you or anyone you know would like to contribute and don’t have Amazon Prime for free shipping, you can contact me and I will order and send for you. Now for the rant of the day. I get very angry every time I hear our President saying that the Puerto Rincon people need to do more for themselves. I think they are probably working as hard as they can. Finally, after more than three weeks, the US government help is getting out of San Juan and into the rest of the island. But they were only able to get there late last week. How were the people of Puerto Rico who have had no way of communicating, who don’t have any idea of how other people on the island were affected by the hurricane, who have had no way to get cash until the last few days (and no way to charge anything), and even if they had cash, there was limited fuel availability—How were these people supposed to know to come to San Juan to pick up water and food? And how were they supposed to get there? If there was a devastating hurricane that hit the Cape and we were in the same situation, I would not think it would be acceptable for the government to deliver water and food to Providence, Rhode Island or to Boston and expect me to go pick it up. If you don’t have water, if you don’t have fuel, if you don’t have communication, if the roads are a mess, and if many people had lost their homes or incurred severe damage, I would hope my government would come to my aid by delivering what is needed to me. I know there is corruption in Puerto Rico, just like there is corruption here on the mainland. But I don’t think that is the problem here. This has been an unprecedented catastrophe in a time with so many other catastrophes that is hard for any of us to keep track of what is happening. I could understand if things didn’t get done because of that. But I can’t understand or tolerate blaming the victims for not doing their part. Where is the compassion, the caring? Where is the spirit of what this country has always stood for?

Okay, enough of that. Let’s focus on what we can do. Here is the list of things that can be ordered on Amazon and sent to:
Justin Handley
100 Carretera 115, Unit 870
Rincon, PR 00677
USA

Deluxe Kitchen Crop 4-Tray Seed Sprouter by VICTORIO VKP1200
$18.50

The Sprout House Amazon Six – Assorted Organic Sprouting Seeds and Seeds Mixes Sample, Pack of 6
$18.05

5 Part Salad Sprout Seed Mix -1/2 Lbs (8 Oz) – Organic Sprouting Seeds: Radish, Broccoli, Alfalfa, Green Lentil & Mung Bean – For Sprouts
$11.99

The Sprout House Organic Sprouting Seeds Baby Black Sunflower 1 Lb
$15.90

The Sprout House Certified Organic Non-GMO Alfalfa Organic Sprouting Seeds 1 pound
$19.25

Winner Outfitters 6-Pack 10 Gallon Grow Bags /Aeration Fabric Pots With Handles
$16.59

KANBERRA GEL 524003 Natural Air Purifier Gel, 8-Ounce
$49.35

Kanberra KG0024P Kanberra Gel Refill – 24 oz.
$89.99

100 Pack – World’s #1 Water Purification Tablets – Aquatabs
$15.95

Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with PA Plus – For Camping and Emergency Drinking Water
$10.25

Personal Water Filter, Epress Mini Portable Water Purifier Straw 2000L Outdoor Survival kit Emergency Camping Equipment for Outdoor Camping Life, Hiking, Climbing, Traveling, Backpacking (2 pack)
$31.99

DampRid FG90 Moisture Absorber Easy-Fill System, Large Room
$9.82

DampRid Hanging Bag FGAM86 Fresh Scent 16-ounce, 3-Pack
$10.99

Meyenberg Whole Powdered Goat Milk, Vitamin D, 12 Ounce (Pack of 3)
$33.54

Certified Organic Whole Milk Powder (1lb), Hoosier Hill Farm, Gluten free Hormone free
$16.99

#1 Rated TASTY Grass-Fed Beef Sticks Gluten Free MSG Free Nitrate/Nitrite Free Paleo Friendly Meat Sticks 12 Pack
$19.95

Mission Meats Ultimate Sampler Pack Grass Fed Beef Sticks & Bars & Free Range Turkey Sticks Gluten Free MSG Free
$23.95

Laura’s Lean Beef Organic Grass Fed Jerky, Original, 3 Oz Bag
$7.99

Home Depot Gift Certificates and D-cell batteries are both great things to send. I cannot get confirmation from Home Depot that a gift certificate bought electronically can be honored in Puerto Rico at this point. So, if you wanted to send a gift certificate, you would have to buy it in a store and send it. A gift card or anything else you want to purchase to send yourself should be put in a US Postal Service Flat-Rate box (not UPS) and addressed to:
Justin Handley
PO Box 870
Rincon, PR 00677
USA

2017 Life Logs, Day 288: Back on Cape Cod

2017 Life Logs, Day 288: Back on Cape Cod
Date: Sunday, October 15, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Warm Day, Stormy Night; High 76, Low 61 degrees F
Location: Back Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

After a run of absolutely beautiful, warm days, tonight it is stormy. As I neared the Cape this afternoon, it got misty and then fog set in. Now the wind is blowing about 25 mph with rain. So I am back on a stormy Cape Cod. The forecast, however, shows that sunshine will return by Tuesday. The predicted high temperatures are in the 60’, not the 70’s, but with sunshine, that is fine with me.

I had an incredible four days in New Hampshire visiting friends. Thank you to all. Meeting with yacht club friends in Concord is always special as I get to see so many friends at one time. And the three days in the Portsmouth area were just glorious. Portsmouth, NH, and Kittery, ME, are on either side of the Piscataqua River, and both are beautiful. I love the old homes and rocky shoreline. But I also love the sand beaches of Cape Cod. I just need to make sure I get out and walk along the shore here at home, just as I did along the rocky shore in New Hampshire. I will spend most of tomorrow waiting for a phone call from Justin as he can’t be sure when he might have a connection. But whenever that happens, we plan to go over an updated list of needs and get that list out to people who have indicated that they want to contribute. I am continually in disbelief of the dire situation in Puerto Rico, but I have been honored and overwhelmed at the generosity of friends. Thank you to all who have contributed. And to those waiting for that specific list of items needed, it will hopefully be coming your way tomorrow night.

2017 Life Logs, Day 287: From Rye to Greenland, New Hampshire

2017 Life Logs, Day 287: From Rye to Greenland, New Hampshire
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2017
Weather: Mostly Sunny; High 675, Low 55 degrees F
Location: At Home with Detta and Tom Porat, Greenland, NH

I’m writing and posting this log a day late because the day continued into the wee hours of the morning and I was just too tired to write. It was a long day, but it was filled with wonderful hours spent with friends. Leslie and I took her dog Roo to Great Island Common on New Castle Island for a morning walk along the ocean. Leslie and I enjoyed the walk and Roo delighted in running into the water to retrieve sticks Leslie threw to her. The ocean waves were gently rolling onto the rocky shoreline, the sky was blue dotted with wispy white clouds, the sun was shining, and the temperature felt like summer even though the trees are beginning to show the colors of fall. It was a delightful morning on the coast in New Hampshire.

I left Leslie and Rich Kole’s late morning and drove inland just a bit to Greenland, New Hampshire. I stopped at a post office to get Flat Rate boxes to mail to Puerto Rico and then went to visit with Sue and David Wolowitz where we sat on their patio overlooking Great Bay. Great Bay is a tidal estuary with its waters coming from the Atlantic into the Piscataqua River which winds itself into Great Bay. As we enjoyed the weather and the view, we talked about the situation in Puerto Rico and I got to hear all about Sue and David’s recent trip to Oman, Dubai, Jordon, and Italy. You can see Detta and Tom Porat’s house from Sue and David’s, so I didn’t have much a drive when it was time to head to Detta and Tom’s for lunch. The weather was just glorious, so we had lunch on their patio which also overlooks Great Bay, and then Detta and I spent our afternoon sorting and packing up donated school materials to send to Puerto Rico while Tom researched solar possibilities for Justin and Jo. As it is looking more and more like there will no electricity for at least six months to a year, they are going to have to become energy independent. They have a little solar system that is currently charging their phones and computer. But if they are going to have any kind of refrigeration over the next few months, they will definitely need more solar capacity. Tom’s research and time spent helping me understand what might work was extremely helpful. The bad news is that because of some international agreement, most solar things cannot be sent through Amazon and we couldn’t determine if we can order through Home Depot in Mayaguez. The good news is that there is a solar company that has an office close to Justin and Jo. If they are up and running, they should have everything we need. They even sell Tesla Walls and when I sent an email to them asking for information, I immediately got an auto reply that they will get back to during the work week. I hope this means they are ‘online’. Detta and I sorted through bags and bags of the donated reading books and math materials that Jo needs for home schooling Ziggy and Coco and a few of their friends. At the end of the afternoon, we packed my little car with box loads of books. While doing this, we had Great Blue Heron that kept flying by and squawking at us. He finally decided to stand on a rock to pose for a photo. Beautiful.

Dinner was Detta delicious with cod and sautéed vegetables. A close teaching friend of Detta’s, Marilu, and her husband Dean dropped by and we really enjoyed sharing stories so much that time got away from us. And then Detta and I sat up and talked our way into the wee hours of the morning. We get to see each other so infrequently that we need to fill every minute when we are together. But Sunday, I will head home to Cape and look forward to the next visit.

2017 Life Logs, Day 28: Bow to Concord to Portsmouth, NH

2017 Life Logs, Day 28: Bow to Concord to Portsmouth, NH
Date: Friday, October 13, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 68, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home with Leslie and Rich Kole, Rye, NH

In 20 minutes, Friday the 13th will be over, and so far it has been a wonderful day. So maybe, just maybe, I should drop my superstition that makes me see flashing caution signs on this day. I had breakfast with Helaine Kanegsberg and then Alan joined us for conversation as he had already had breakfast with the Rotary Club. I then drove into Concord to meet with Scott McPherson from New Hampshire Public Radio to congratulate him on a career move. Scott came to NHPR almost fresh out of college and in just a few years became Mark’s right hand man. He has served as assistant station manager since the late 1990’s and has been indispensable in the smooth running of the station. He is now moving on to become the CFO of a New Hampshire private school. I know public radio will miss him, but I wish Scott all the luck in the world in his new job.

Then I was off to Rye, New Hampshire, to spend the day and evening with good friend Leslie Kole and her husband Rich. On the drive from Concord to Rye, New Hampshire, my cell rang and I saw it was a call from Justin. I pulled over to answer the phone and Justin and I talked for quite some time about how things are going in his corner of Puerto Rico. Packages are starting to arrive at the post office and FEMA aid workers have now reached the west coast. Justin has been back to the hotel in Mayaguez where he and the family spend last Friday night, and upon return he saw that FEMA workers and people in US military uniforms are now using the hotel as a base. He said that food and water are starting to be distributed. So that is very good news. At the same time he said overheard the people in military uniforms saying it could be as much as a year before power is returned to the country. Not such good news. He called to ask me to do a little research into solar alternatives for power and to say that on Monday he plans to return to the hotel in Mayaguez to use their internet to launch a new website that will list the supplies most needed. He hopes he will be able to build the site to make it possible for people to see what has been sent which should help in their decision making about what to send. It was great to talk to Justin and get an update on how things are going. He said he had left Jo with a whole bunch of children at Finca Maravilla in their new temporary outdoor school. Way to go, Jo!

I arrived at Leslie and Rich’s a bit late due to the long phone call with Justin. When I did arrive, Leslie had lunch waiting for me—a great green salad. Then Leslie and I drove to Kittery, Maine, right across the bridge from Portsmouth, to walk at Fort Foster with her dog Roo. After that we drove to a Kittery Beach to take another walk along the ocean and then it was home to get ready for dinner. It was warm enough for us to sit outside to have happy hour with the help of their outdoor heater. Then Rich cooked another of his award-winning dinners and Detta and Tom Porat joined us. It was a lovely day and evening.

2017 Life Logs, Day 284: Good News from Justin

2017 Life Logs, Day 284: Good News from Justin
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 69, Low 52 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

My morning was listening to an online summit about best ways to deal with osteoarthritis. I seem to know someone very well who suffers from knee pain due to this. And yes, that person would be me. I didn’t learn a lot of new information, but I was reminded sternly that not drinking enough water can exacerbate the pain. So, I once again have that water bottle by my side. In the middle of one of the sessions, I got a call from Justin. He had been standing in line for two hours to try to once again to get the cash I sent to him on Saturday via Western Union. When he finally got to the head of the line, they couldn’t give him the money because I had not included his middle name when I sent the money. The name has to match what is written on your government issued ID. The person who met with gave him a number I could call to fix the problem, and because he was in town, he had a cell signal so he could call me. I called the number and I was able to add his middle name without too much fanfare. But by the time I sent Justin a text to let him know the name was changed, the people manning the Western Union window had gone to lunch. While he was once again waiting, he saw that people were getting money out of a nearby ATM machine. He gave it a try and was actually able to get money out of his account for the first time since the hurricane. Very good news. And then he was successful in getting the cash that had been sent through Western Union. So, I can breathe a little easier now knowing that at least Justin and Jo have cash . . . and hopefully continued access to their bank account. But that could come and go, so they can’t ‘bank’ on it. At least in terms of the ability to get cash and to communicate, there has been some improvement. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for food and water, at least not in western Puerto Rico where Justin lives.

There was a little bit of unsettling news from Justin, along with the good. Coco was not feeling good today. Justin said he had a bug of some sort a couple of days ago and Coco seems to have the same symptoms. Justin thinks it is just a result of eating too many carbs—just rice and beans and more rice and beans. He thinks their bodies are just telling them they need something green. But there is nothing green to eat right now. So hopefully he’s right and hopefully those sprouting seeds and trays will arrive soon. And hopefully our Coco Belle will feel better by tomorrow. But I don’t have my head buried in the sand. I know that the Governor of Puerto Rico today said that the first deaths have been reported from the water borne disease called leptospirosis. It is treatable if you have the right antibiotics, but people have no easy access to antibiotics. The deaths so far are close to San Juan, not in western Puerto Rico where Justin and Jo live. And J & J did receive the water filters they ordered before the storm. So hopefully their water is safe. I have sent hundreds of water purification tablets for others, but those have not yet arrived. It was three weeks ago today that Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico. I knew that if the hurricane hit hard, the entire island would be without electricity and cell service, but I guess I really didn’t believe that an entire island would be left without any source of fresh water. And even if they were, I naively thought that our government would find immediate ways to air drop water bottles to the people. But that hasn’t happened. Our government is still traveling around asking people to fill out forms to get relief. And I am still having a hard time believing this even though I know it to be true. Where is the government of the country I thought I lived in? There are good people down there ready to deliver food and water, but somehow the leadership is not allowing that to happen. Mail has not reached Justin yet, but so many things have been sent through the generosity of so many friends and family members with more on the way. So even if the government support system is broken, the goodness of the people of this country shines through. Thank you so much to everyone making contributions.

I’m headed to Concord, New Hampshire, tomorrow to attend a Concord Yacht Club meeting. And then on Friday I head to the coast of New Hampshire to visit with other good friends. I need some input from others to help me figure out how to prioritize what we are sending to Puerto Rico. This trip will give me time with friends who can help me with this task. Sitting here at my dining room table without input from others is leading to dysfunction. So I am really looking forward to brainstorming with friends.

I invited myself to dinner at the Goldstones tonight so I could see Heather, Jed, and boys before heading to New Hampshire for four days. And then I went to see Victoria and Abdul with Terry and Olivia White. The movie is about the unlikely relationship between Queen Victoria and a young clerk from India who is sent to England to deliver a ceremonial coin to the Queen. It is a cross between comedy and drama and Dame Judith Olivia ‘Judi’ Dent is as spectacular as ever. And Ali Fazal, the young Indian actor, quickly becomes a favorite. The movie certainly spurred me to learn more about the life of Queen Victoria.

2017 Life Logs, Day 285: An Evening with the Concord Yacht Club

2017 Life Logs, Day 285: An Evening with the Concord Yacht Club
Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Weather: Partly Cloudy; High 68, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home with Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg, Bow, NH

What a lovely evening I had attending the Concord Yacht Club meeting. We met at the home of my very good friends, Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg, in Bow, New Hampshire. Everyone brought heavy hors d’oeuvres that made a great dinner with no one person having to bear the total responsibility. I don’t get to see these folks very often, but I always enjoy it when I do. We talk about sailing, we talk about life, and tonight I did a lot of talking about the dire situation in Puerto Rico. People read and hear things in the news, but I don’t think they really start to fully understand until they talk with someone who has a friend or family connection there. We have shared news about our children for years. So, when we get together, it is natural to ask how each other’s kids are doing. A couple of people in the group read this blog regularly, so they were aware of how Justin and family are faring in Puerto Rico. During the evening, they shared what they have learned with others who don’t read this blog, and pretty soon everyone was asking what they could do to help. They decided to make a donation from the group allowing me to order the most needed items and send them to Justin to share with the larger community there. I know Mark would feel as grateful as I do that the group stepped forward like this. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Concord Yacht Club. And thank you to all of the others of you who are sending donations. Justin would want me to remind you that he and his family is doing fine, but that there are so many who are not. It’s hard for me to comprehend how they are really doing ‘fine’ with no electricity, no source of fresh food, no running water, and very few opportunities to communicate. I think saying that they are doing a great job of coping in these conditions is probably a more accurate way to describe it. But they are coping and they are trying to help others do the same. And so many friends have stepped forward to give them a helping hand. With so many disasters coming so fast and furiously this fall, it is very heartening to see how deeply people care about one another.

2017 Life Logs, Day 283: Meeting a Fascinating Woman

2017 Life Logs, Day 283: Meeting a Fascinating Woman
Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Weather: Back to Beautiful Summer Weather; High 80, Low 58 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

At 11:15 this morning, I was picked up by a fascinating woman I had never met before and she whisked me away in her Mercedes Benz ‘top off’. This is what the Goldpebbles call a convertible with the top down, and it was a great day for a ride with the ‘top off’. It was sunny with a high temperature of 80 degrees. Just wonderful. But back to my new acquaintance. We were introduced to each other in an email by a mutual friend who thought we should meet. Good call, Patsy (the mutual friend). We went to a luncheon meeting of the Wood Hole Woman’s Club which included a climate change presentation by yet another incredible woman. Sue Natali from the Woods Hole Research Center focuses her research on the permafrost in the Arctic and how it relates to climate change. And she does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of this to a lay audience. I won’t divulge the name of my new acquaintance as I didn’t ask her if I could, but what an interesting person. She earned her PhD at the University of Toronto in the early 1960’s in Physics. This came as a shock to me, not because she earned the degree which was record-breaking in itself, but because she doesn’t look like she could possibly be old enough to have done this. She is an active pilot who owns what she refers to as one-and-a-half planes (full ownership of one and joint ownership of the other). I must introduce her to Sam of Windbird the next time he visits here on the Cape. And any woman who got her PhD while I was in high school and still drives around in her convertible with the ‘top off’ is my kind of woman. She listens to my daughter on public radio and invited the two of us for a fly over Cape Cod. Looking forward to that!

Before and after the luncheon, I spent the rest of my day corresponding with people who want to make contributions to Justin and Jo and their wider community. I packaged things that I took to the PO late this afternoon even though I still have no confirmation that anything I have sent has arrived. But I am still hopeful. I’m also overwhelmed with the number of people who want to help-out. Tomorrow I will spend time researching items and prioritizing them the best that I can with the information I have. And on Thursday morning I get ready to leave on a four-day visit in New Hampshire. I’m really looking forward to visiting with good friends.

2017 Life Logs, Day 282: A Bit of Good News from Justin

2017 Life Logs, Day 282: A Bit of Good News from Justin
Date: Monday, October 9, 2017
Weather: Second Day of Rain and Wind; High 71, Low 65 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio, Falmouth, MA

I was on the phone this afternoon when I got the buzz-buzz telling me someone else was calling me. Since I almost never get phone calls during the day, I just figured the person on the other end could leave a message. When I got off the phone, I looked at the number that had called and area code told me it was a Puerto Rican number. I frantically looked for a message and found one. The missed call had been from Justin. I called back and Justin answered. How could this be? He explained that he had purchased a Claro go-phone and was in an area with a signal. Claro is the Puerto Rican cell provider and they have more cell signal than other providers. Hurray! Unfortunately, the call dropped fairly quickly, but then Justin sent a text asking if the text got through. It did. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Just knowing that Justin and Jo can find a signal and contact me if there is an emergency is such a huge relief.

Now to how to best help Justin and Jo and their neighbors. Justin’s Facebook post that I shared in Sunday night’s log outlines most needs very clearly and includes his address. In addition, when I talked to Justin on Friday night, he said that he knows that one person in Rincon received a package from Amazon that was sent from the US the day after the hurricane. Hopefully this means that packages from Amazon will arrive. If you have Amazon Prime, you can send things to Puerto Rico with no shipping charge. One caution is that items produced in some countries cannot be shipped to Puerto Rico, but Amazon will let you know that when you enter the shipping address. Justin’s address for Amazon:
Justin Handley
100 Carreterra 115, Unit 870
Rincon, Puerto Rico 00677

The address for flat-rate Priority packages sent through the US Postal system:
Justin Handley
PO Box 870
Rincon, Puerto Rico 00677

A few items that Justin did not mention in his Facebook post are Home Depot gift certificates and organic potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, that will be used as seed potatoes to grow more potatoes. There are also items that are specifically needed by Justin and Jo. I won’t list those here, but if you are interested in knowing more, please contact me by email at judithmhandley@gmail.com. If you would prefer to have me order and send things for you, I am glad to do that. Just let me know and we’ll figure out the best way to pay for that.

The most important thing right now is that Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco are doing fine. They are all pirates at heart and don’t mind the temporary (hopefully) absence of running water, electricity, and reliable communication. But people who have never thought about living without these necessities of life are struggling desperately. And the federal response is just not getting through to the people. FEMA is visiting towns to have people fill out forms for assistance, but those same people need food and water and electricity and access to cash, not more forms to fill out. The American citizens of Puerto Rico have been thrown into conditions of a third world country which they were not before the storm. Before Hurricane Maria, the people of Puerto Rico enjoyed the same life style as you and me. Try to imagine that tomorrow morning you wake up with none of the basic necessities of life and with no way to do anything about your situation; no way to buy anything using a credit card and no way to get cash; no way to drive anywhere because there is no fuel; no way to get drinking water except to collect rain water or find a spring. At least that is the way it is in Rincon where Justin and family live and I think it is that way for much of the island. It is truly a desperate situation.