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!

2022 Life Logs, Day 322: Puerto Rican Festival; Water Walks

2022 Life Logs, Day 322: Puerto Rican Festival; Water Walks
Date: Friday, November 18, 2022
Weather: Sunny, High 85, Low 74 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Ziggy and Coco attend a small private school called Foresta and today they hosted a Puerto Rican festival for the families of students. We dropped Ziggy and Coco off at 9 am and then headed to the beach to take a walk while waiting for the festival to begin at 10 am. We went to the beach near the school, Corcega Beach, a beach I had never been to before. It is a beach lined with homes, hotels, and condos that were built way too close to the water, and since Hurricane Maria in 2017, much of the beach has disappeared and structures are at the water’s edge. It is a beach where sea turtles come to lay their eggs, and when one of the condos tried to rebuild a swimming pool on the beach, the people went to court to claim their rights to a public beach and won. Many of the condos are truly beach front as high tide comes close to the structures. But we had a delightful walk sighting birds and one turtle in a wet area beyond the beach.

Then it was back to Foresta for the festival. All of the students were invited to sell the products they have been making as part of an entrepreneurial unit of study. Coco and her friend Maya were selling plants, cookies, and juice and were thrilled that they made over $50. All of the entrepreneurs were girls as all of the boys declined to participate. So, Ziggy was just hanging out with his friends Caleb, Tommy, and Marlowe. Justin took me for a tour of the property. There is one permanent structure that houses the pre-k and kindergarten students. You then walk by classrooms under tents for some grades, cross a practice field and come to some portable buildings that house the older students. My favorite thing was an outdoor pencil sharpener attached to a utility pole!

We were then treated to entertainment by the students. The youngest students sang the Rincon anthem and danced the Salsa. Four and five-year-olds were paired as couples for the dance and they were unbelievably cute. Then girls in grades five through seven danced the Bomba. This was Coco’s chance to perform and perform she did. The dancing was followed by a play out on by the younger students about the struggle the local people went through to claim their rights to public beaches. The backdrop was a cardboard condo, one of the ones Justin, Jo, and I had seen on our earlier walk. It was quite engaging and all of the older students watched intently. After the play, we ate a traditional lunch of roasted pork, rice and beans, and pasta salad. Then school was out for the day, and for all of next week.

At home later in the afternoon, I went for a walk to a small nearby river. We walked down through the property, went into the woods, climbed down one very wet and slippery bank to cross a small creek and then up another steep and slippery bank and on the river. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I persisted with help from Ziggy and Coco. When we reached the river (more the size of creek), we walked upstream and then downstream before returning home. Coco taught me how to play the card game called Stress and I finally won one game. Then tonight we had homemade pizza for dinner and watched a movie.

2022 Life Logs, Day 321: Free and Easy First Day in PR

2022 Life Logs, Day 321: Free and Easy First Day in PR
Date: Thursday, November 17, 2022
Weather: Sunny AM, Mixed Sun and Rain PM; High 85, Low 75 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Jo took Ziggy and Coco to school early this morning and I then had what I call a free and easy day until they returned from school in the afternoon. I sat on the front porch drinking tea, reading, soaking in the view of breadfruit trees, passion fruit vines, assorted tropical plants, went for a walk around the property noting the various kind of plants and trees (of which there are many) and huge banana spiders, went back to the front porch to read some more, had lunch, did a little clean up in the kitchen, watched Justin and Jo working with Hopi, and then read some more. Tough life. Once the kids got home from school, we had an afternoon snack and then I watched Coco and Jo play a card game called Stress. Coco has promised to teach me to play tomorrow. Then Ziggy had a piano lesson at 5 pm. Coco and I decided to go with Justin and Ziggy and go to the Thursday night Art Mart on the plaza afterwards. Unfortunately, Ziggy’s teacher didn’t show up, so we went to the plaza early and the kids looked for friends to hang out with. Justin and I went into a new craft shop and bar just across from the plaza and sat and visited while waiting for the kids (who visited us from time to time). And, of course, I had to buy a new pair of earrings at the Art Mart on the plaza. It is so wonderful to be here with no agenda other than just hanging out and visiting.

Tonight, we had lobster tail, asparagus, corn cakes, and salad for dinner. What a feast! And after dinner Coco and Justin performed magic card tricks and Coco told some of her hilarious jokes. Now we are all turning in a little early. Tomorrow morning, we all get up and go to school with Ziggy and Coco. It is the last day of school until after Thanksgiving and they are having a traditional Puerto Rican lunch and the kids will be selling the products of their entrepreneurial businesses. Then tomorrow night we are going out for our traditional sushi dinner. Yummm!

I wish you could hear the chorus of Puerto Rico’s coquis as I sit here writing my log. These little frogs have the most delightful call. It sounds like they are saying coqui (co-KEY) over and over and it can be mesmerizing. However, I am not looking forward to the call of the rooster in the morning. At 6:50 am today, right outside my window, he bolted out the most blood curdling cock-a-doodle-doo I have ever heard. Not the calmest wake-up I have ever had.

2022 Life Logs, Day 320: Cape Cod to Boston to Puerto Rico

2022 Life Logs, Day 320: Cape Cod to Boston to Puerto Rico
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Weather: Rainy AM, Mostly Sunny in PR; High 85, Low 74 degrees F
Location: At Home with JJZ&C, Rincon, Puerto Rico

I said goodbye to Cape Cod early this morning and was off to Boston to catch my 11 am flight to San Juan. I sat next to a young woman, born and bred in Boston, but whose family was originally from Puerto Rico. At first, we were both reading and napping, but when Estefania got up to stretch, we started talking. And the exchange of life stories didn’t end until we parted inside the airport in San Juan. She was flying to Puerto Rico as a 30th birthday gift to herself and will be headed to Culebra tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Estefania!

Heather flew home from London today, so I drove to the airport and left my car for her to drive home this afternoon. Justin picked me up in San Juan at 4:30 pm here (3:30 pm back home) and we battled the traffic leaving the city. We then stopped at a Costco to pick up a few things, but as we checked out, I wondered if we hadn’t bought one of each thing in the store. We didn’t get to Rincon until 9 pm. It took a bit to unpack all the food from the truck, and then we sat down to eat and to visit. Jo and the kids had eaten, but Jo warmed things up and we had a fantastic dinner of salmon, boiled-smashed-baked potatoes (delicious), and salad. Thank you, Jo.

It is wonderful to be here. I sure miss my Shadow, but I’m sure he is as happy as can be with the Goldstones. I am so looking forward to spending time with Ziggy and Coco, meeting some of their friends, and just hanging out with Justin and Jo. No touristy plans this trip. Just precious family time together.

2022 Life Logs, Day 319: Shadow with the Goldstones

2022 Life Logs, Day 319: Shadow with the Goldstones
Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Weather: Sunny AM, Cloudy PM; High 45, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Interesting day. I took my car to Hyannis early to have a flange in the exhaust system replaced. I was told by the garage that changed my oil last week that this was a problem. Well, that was not a problem. The problem was the exhaust smell in the car and the rumbling noise, both of which appeared immediately after the oil change. The young man this morning put the car up on a lift and then called me out to the garage. He showed me the flange was a bit rough but said it probably has two more years of service. But he pointed to oil dripping from the bottom of my car. I told him the garage that changed my oil last Tuesday didn’t mention an oil leak. And that statement caused a light bulb to go off for him. He lowered the car and opened the hood telling me that he thought they had forgotten to put the oil cap back on after changing the oil. Sure enough. The oil cap was laying in the engine area. He checked the oil, put the cap on, and sent me home. No more smell. No more rumbling noise. Problem solved.

When I got home, I somehow managed to spend the entire day doing nothing. I thought I was going to be driving to Boston to pick up Heather, but her return trip home has been delayed. I had a nice walk with Shadow, checked in for tomorrow’s flight, did a few last minute things to get ready to leave, and all of a sudden it is evening. I am delivering to Shadow to Jed and boys after dinner. Then I’ll come back to a very lonely home without my Shadow and read myself to sleep. I sure am going to miss my little guy. But my this time tomorrow, I’ll be with another one of my very favorite guys. Justin and I will be driving home to Rincon from the airport in San Juan. Jo and the kids are staying home and will have dinner ready for us when we arrive around 8 pm. Can’t wait!

2022 Life Logs, Day 318: Preparing for First Frost

2022 Life Logs, Day 318: Preparing for First Frost
Date: Monday, November 14, 2022
Weather: Partly Sunny, Windy; High 45, Low 29 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

“It feels like someone flipped a switch.” That is what friend Karen Baranowski said today and, indeed, it felt COLD. And tonight, we are supposed to get our first frost. I was reminded that the holiday season is approaching as Jane Woodin came over to gather holly and evergreens for her outside holiday arrangements. I invited her to stay for lunch and we had a great time just catching up. The forecast for the next ten days is for more cool days and cold nights. I guess the turn to cold weather has set us all scurrying about getting ready for the holiday season and the winter ahead. I replaced the shingle on the front of the cottage that the downy woodpecker. Was she building a winter nest? What do the birds that stay here do all winter? I really never thought about it before.

I am writing this early as I am heading to Heather and Jed’s around 7 pm to hang out with the boys while Jed is at Town Meeting. More scurrying about tomorrow to get ready for my flight to Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

2022 Life Logs, Day 317: Dreary Sunday

2022 Life Logs, Day 317: Dreary Sunday
Date: Sunday, November 13, 2022
Weather: Overcast with Rain; High 55, Low 34 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Overcast, gentle rains turning to downpours, periods of no rain, cool. Yes, it was a much more typical November day. Dreary, but sometimes a dreary, rainy day is good for the soul. I finished packing for Puerto Rico, picked some no rain times to walk with Shadow, turned the outside water off and removed the drip irrigation controller, installed a new carbon monoxide and dangerous gas monitor in the basement, replaced a carbon monoxide alarm in the upstairs of the cottage, replaced the screen with the storm window in the back door, but I didn’t get the hole in the front of the house repaired. That last one needs some explanation. Last week, Shadow and I kept hearing a loud pecking sound on the front of the house. When I heard the noise, I would go out and see a bird flying away. Then on Thursday, I was shocked to see that one of the cedar shingles on the front of the house was missing. And unfortunately, it was one of the shingles covering a two-inch diameter hole that Mass Saves drilled in order to fill the walls with insulation. They had covered the hole with white Styrofoam insulation so no critters could get in and then covered it with the shingle. I taped over the hole and thought it would be fine until I could deal with it. Then on Friday morning, I heard the tapping again and went out to see a very determined downy woodpecker flying away. The tape I had applied had blown off during the night, but I had to leave to go downtown for the Veterans Day ceremony, promising to come home and do something about this. When I got home, that little woodpecker had been very busy. She had drilled out the white Styrofoam and entered the hole and emptied as much of the blown in insulation as possible onto the ground. Unbelievable. I covered the hole with a cork coaster and fashioned a bird deterrent by cutting long strips in an Amazon bag and nailed it over the area. Saturday afternoon Jed gave me a sheet of shingle material, but I still need to cut it and put it in place. It was too rainy to deal with it today, so that is tomorrow’s job.

2022 Life Logs, Day 316: Cooler Weather Arriving Tomorrow

2022 Life Logs, Day 316: Cooler Weather Arriving Tomorrow
Date: Saturday, November 12, 2022
Weather: Sunny and Warm; High 73, Low 50 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

We have been enjoying a run of warm weather, but it looks like that ends tomorrow. The forecast going forward for the next ten days looks much more like November in New England—highs in the 40’s and 50’s with low’s in the 30’s. It’s time, but I will really miss the warm fall 70’s and 80’s there. I will get one more week of warmth!

I spent my morning packing for that trip and then this afternoon, Shadow and I took Sam and Jonah to Harwich for soccer try-outs for the next season. Since they are already on the team, they are assured a position, but all players were asked to come and play. It was a great afternoon to be on the soccer field.

When I got home, I took a close look at the garden. Monday night the temp is supposed to dip below freezing, so I picked the last of the tomatoes. There were just a few Matt’s Wild Cherry tomatoes, so I will savor those. Then Shadow and I went down by the water to play fetch and watched the sun go down, turning the white clouds a peachy pink. Not dramatic, just lovely.

2022 Life Logs, Day 315: Honoring Veterans

2022 Life Logs, Day 315: Honoring Veterans
Date: Friday, November 11, 2022
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Warm; High 68, Low 63 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The morning was spent honoring our Veterans, the early afternoon was spent helping Ollie do yard work at the Goldstones, and later in the afternoon, I took Sam to Hyannis to meet up with his friend Robert and took my little Fit to Lou’s Custom Exhaust garage to get an estimate on repairing a rusty flange in my exhaust system.

Each year I attend Falmouth’s parade and ceremony on Veterans Day. I started going because the Goldpebbles march in the parade with their Scout troops. I still go for that reason, but I also appreciate setting aside the time each year to give thanks to those who serve our country. I think the first time I attended Falmouth’s Veterans Day ceremony was in 2016. And my oh my, how the Goldpebbles have changed. Today, Ollie was in the Webelo Color Guard. In 2016, he was too young to participate, and I have a photo of him sitting on the library lawn proudly holding up a late season dandelion he discovered. Today, Jonah was also in the Color Guard for his Boy Scout troop. In 2016, he was a Cub Scout and marched alongside mom, who was also a troop leader. Today, Sam was the tallest Boy Scout in the parade. How did that happen?

It was warm today, but there was no sunshine. Tonight, we are supposed to get rain and wind from Tropical Storm Nicole. The clouds are holding the warmth. It is after 10 pm and it is still 66 degrees outside. It was even warmer earlier today. After the ceremony, I stopped by Heather and Jed’s to pick up big bags of leaves to bring home for my soil building project. I wanted to get them before the wind and rain predicted for tonight. Ollie had three big bags ready for me, but there were empty bags and lots of leaves, so I stayed while he filled more bags. I decided to help by mowing the leaves and Ollie emptied the lawn mower bag into the big paper bags. He also rode his little tractor while holding the leaf blower in order to blow the leaves where he wanted them. He is quite creative and a hard worker. We ended up with ten bags of leaves by the time I had to leave to take Sam to Hyannis. But Jed reported tonight that Ollie kept working and has more bags that he put in the garage for me to pick up tomorrow.

I picked Sam up from the fire station at 3:30 to take him Hyannis. He and Jonah were at the fire station attending the first in a series of first aid classes. I think he said there are seven more classes in order to get the First Aid badge. I delivered Sam to Barnes and Nobles to meet up with Robert and then headed to Lou’s Custom Exhaust. They can do the job, but I have to return to Hyannis early on Tuesday morning to have the work done. The good news was that the estimate I got this afternoon was $150 instead of the $2,000 it would cost to replace the whole system. Whew!

2022 Life Logs, Day 314: Dancing Leaves

2022 Life Logs, Day 314: Dancing Leaves
Date: Thursday, November 10, 2022
Weather: Mostly Sunny, Windy; High 63, Low 54 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Today’s highlight was watching the piles of oak leaves swirling in the wind. They looked like they were dancing. At one point when Shadow and I headed down Debbie Lane to begin our walk, we were following the dancing leaves. Otherwise, it was just a day . . . early morning dental cleaning, running errands, playing with Shadow down by the water while being watched by our resident great blue heron, picking up Jonah and his big bass guitar after school, getting a muffler issue checked out, food shopping, and finally home. Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day and tomorrow night we are expecting gale force winds and rain from once Hurricane Nicole as she rolls northward as a storm. But by noon on Saturday, the rain and wind should have moved on leaving us with good weather for the remainder of the weekend.

2022 Life Logs, Day 313: Feeling Proud

2022 Life Logs, Day 313: Feeling Proud
Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Weather: Sunny and Cool; High 51, Low 44 degrees F
Location: At Home in the Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

My day started on a high note. I watched a live stream of Heather moderating a panel at the climate conference in Egypt. I am always in awe of her abilities, but it was a very proud moment for this mom. I watched and kept taking photos of my computer screen to preserve the moment. Tonight, I told the Goldpebbles about their mom leading the panel discussion, explaining that it was just one of probably hundreds of side panel presentations at COP27, but still quite an accomplishment. Jed mentioned that his mom had watched as well and said she had noted that you could always see Heather, no matter how far back the camera zoomed, as she had on her power red jacket. Sam got a laugh out of that as he pointed out it is the same jacket Jonah wore on Halloween as The Joker. I love teenagers!

I also felt so relieved over the election results and felt so proud to be an American. For the most part, so far it seems that most candidates are giving acceptance or concession speeches as in a normal US election prior to 2016. That feeling of normalcy feels so good. We don’t know the final outcome, and some of my favorite candidates from around the country did not win, but it felt to me that democracy won the day. This afternoon I watched Biden’s press conference and felt proud again. I thought he set just the right tone for moving forward.

Monday night of this week I drove Jonah to soccer practice, last night I went on a full moon walk to a beach, and tonight I again drove Jonah to soccer practice. I think I get to stay home tomorrow night. Then on Friday morning, I will head downtown for the Veteran’s Day parade and program as the Goldpebbles will be in the parade. Then I am going to focus on getting ready for my visit to Puerto Rico. I will arrive there next Wednesday, and spend eight days with Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco, before returning home in the wee hours of day after Thanksgiving. I am really looking forward to spending time with Ziggy and Coco, and of course, Justin and Jo.