What is GO Time? According to the Urban Dictionary, “go time is a phrase to say when it is time to undergo a task and get serious about doing something.” It’s time for Aaron and Heidi Stagg to get serious about leaving the safety and security of being tied to land and venture out on Sonho to Live Our Dream on the open ocean and in foreign coves of warm, turquoise water.
For us, “GO” is also short for “GET OUT” as in “Get Out the Golden Gate!” We bought Sonho for the sole purpose of living aboard and crossing oceans and are determined to see that vision become reality.
In January, it’s cold and feels like a very long time until my favorite season of fall. It’s a little over 7 months and precisely 232 days from today (January 29, 2022) to September 18th. We’ve lived aboard for almost 13 years now, so you’d think we could just throw off the docklines and head to sea. It’s not that simple.
Life at the marina includes readily available water, electricity and garbage service. We simply plug in for energy needs and pull the hose out to fill our water tanks. We take our trash and recycling to shared refuse cans and someone else hauls it away. A pump-out boat comes to our slip, sucks out and disposes our toilet/head waste. And if we forget an ingredient or get a hankering for a particular food, we drive to any number of stores with a myriad of choices. We can easily call specialists with help for our systems or visit a chandlery for specific maritime needs. What we can’t find locally, we can order online and have delivered to our postal box in a matter of days.
I’m a goal-driven person. I’m also a list-maker. So New Year’s Resolutions are totally in my wheelhouse. I make them every year and, for the most part, I achieve them. Usually, they’re focused on personal intentions … beginning a new exercise or health routine, setting goals for writing, or learning a new skill.
Five years ago, I set a big goal of launching a blog to chronicle our preparation to circumnavigate. I was so very proud when I hit the button on the first published post. It has given me much joy as I share our life aboard our 42 ft sailboat on the Alameda Riviera, culinary creations from my tiny kitchen/galley, short stories and random musings. I posted weekly for three solid years, even as our goal to leave kept getting pushed back due to family circumstances. My audience grew to over 10,000 followers across the globe, and I reveled in the knowledge that I really was a writer.
Life onboard can be challenging enough, but surviving a virus during a pandemic and having to isolate for 10 days meant for lots of patience and biting of the tongue a time or two. I’d say that our marriage is unbelievably strong at this point … we spent a month on a 46 ft sailboat with our friends and then came home to catch Covid and went into lockdown on our own 42 ft boat. All the anchors are still attached and no one is missing, so I’m calling it a success!
We’d both done a lot of reading about the virus during the course of the pandemic. But when one contracts a deadly disease, so many questions arise. Perhaps the most disappointing thing has been the lackluster communication from our health provider, Kaiser. I know that doctors are overwhelmed with emails these days, but taking days to answer about symptoms and then answering with canned replies after we tested positive isn’t very compassionate. I’ve still not talked to my doctor; an associate reached out and I finally had a call from their Covid team as I was on the road to recovery. I did get a call from a doctor with the offer to receive a dose of a medicine that helps to lessens the symptoms; but since I was on the tail end of my infection, I was no longer eligible. I sure would have loved that opportunity early on!
Seriously? There must be some mistake. I am Queen of Covid Avoidance and have followed all the CDC guidelines to stay healthy in this pandemic. I’ve been known to chide others to wear masks and stay socially distanced, and I avoid those who are unvaccinated like the plague that it is.
This result was from a Rapid test and was followed up by a call from a nurse at the testing site who recommended we both get a PCR-24 hour test as soon as possible as it is more accurate. I had already gotten a PCR test at Kaiser upon the advice of my doctor and Aaron suggested driving through the airport Rapid test site on our way home. As soon as I got the Rapid test results, he went and got a PCR test. His results came in before mine and he is positive. So there’s now no doubt that we are both infected.
This is no joke. My symptoms went from lethargy and a mild cough and low grade fever to a hacking/wheezing cough that leaves me completely exhausted, whole body aches and a raging headache. All I want to do is sleep. Oh, and I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell! I realized this when I put a drop of pure peppermint essential oil under my tongue to help with my congestion and didn’t taste a thing. I won’t go into detail on the stomach issues after eating a fast-food cheeseburger. Oy vey!
“Seriously, Heidi, do you really need 50 pairs of shoes?”
My girlfriend had dropped by for a chat and caught me in my bi-annual shoe-purge. I was sitting on the floor with a huge mound of leather, vinyl, rubber and sequins in front of me. “You don’t wear all of those, do you?” she asked incredulously.
“If the shoe fits,” I quipped, slipping a darling, light teal, bejeweled kitten heel sandal on my foot and waving it in the air. “And there’s not 50 pairs anymore. I’m down to 37.”
“You do realize that you live on a boat?” she laughed.
Yes, I live on a 42 ft sailboat. No, I don’t really have a shoe fetish; I only buy a few pairs a year but I take good care of my shoes and keep them forever. My husband gave up on lecturing me on the fact that high heels really don’t belong on a boat and installed a fabric shoe holder behind my hanging clothes, against the hull. So my collection doesn’t take up needed space and is out of sight. But I know they are there; and that makes me happy.
We are committed to crewing with our dockmates, Scott and Joanne, on the Baja Ha-Ha and, come Hell or high-water, we are going to be sailing south on their gorgeous Bavaria Vision 46 for the first three weeks of November 2021. (Please, God, don’t take this as a challenge to mess with our plans. We really, really need this sea time!)
What, pray-tell, is the Baja Ha-Ha? (Doesn’t it just make you smile to say it?!) It’s not a race … it’s a cruiser’s rally that starts in San Diego, makes a couple of stops along the coast for rest and partying, and ends in Cabo San Lucas. There’s no trophy for being first to an anchorage or to finish. The goal is to safely traverse the Baja Coast in the company of others. Basically, the Ha-Ha is a 10-day slow journey south buddy-boating with about 150 other vessels. Power boats are welcome, but since there’s really only one stop for fuel, it’s generally about 99 percent sailboats. It’s a great segue for folks looking to spend a winter (or a few years) in Mexico, prepare for the big Pacific Ocean crossing to the Marquesa Islands or Hawaii, or perhaps continue south to Central or South America or go through the Panama Canal to reach the Caribbean. Just thinking about the possibilities makes me yearn for our turn to go.
Macaroni and cheese is one of our favorite comfort foods. I’ve made it a kazillion ways using different varieties of cheese, baked, straight from the pot, with a bread crumb topping, and without.
This recipe was invented because I had a half cup of Alfredo sauce in my fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste. I figured it would meld well with the other ingredients I had on hand, and I was right! It was ooey, gooey cheesy and so easy to throw together.
Variations: Choose your own cheese blends and try different flavors of creamed soup and Alfredo sauce. (The sauce I had was garlic flavored; otherwise I would have added a couple of minced garlic cloves as we are garlic lovers.) Add a diced jalapeno pepper or a dash of cayenne if you like it spicy. Use different pasta shapes, but I suggest staying with one that will hold the cheese, such as shells, elbow or penne.
Sometimes my recipes are created out of necessity, as in this case. I bought a 4 lb pork loin that I thought would be great for my hubby to smoke. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no clue as to the fine art of barbecuing, grilling and smoking. He mentioned that this cut might dry out but went ahead and brined and smoked, spending all day tending to our main course for the evening. And lo and behold, he was right. It was far from tender and juicy and instead almost inedible.
I come from a long line of thrifty cooks, so wasn’t going to throw away the whole loin and thought long and hard hard to bring moisture back to the protein. (Although, I did pick this up from our local Grocery Outlet for a bargain price!) I knew I needed to simmer it in a liquid and with fall just beginning, our evenings have been getting cooler so a soup came to mind.
Hubby has been doing a ton of meat smoking since we were gifted with a mini-Traegar barbeque from his Dad. We’ve done salmon, whole chickens, corned beef (which makes pastrami), and beef and pork roasts. Roasts end up in recipes for two or three meals and I try to be creative in changing up the flavor profile so we aren’t eating the same thing every night.
This was a 6 pound lamb roast that started with a nice fat cap, making the meat tender and juicy. After serving it sliced the first night, I cut the leftovers into bite-sized cubes and made a stew for my daughter with potatoes, celery and peas, Shepherd Pies for us and finally this curry served over jasmine rice.
I live aboard a 42 ft Tayana Vancouver sailboat, hull #5 laid in 1979, with my husband and little dog. We are preparing to head to Mexico in Fall 2022 and I enjoy blogging about our preparations for our journey, cooking in my tiny kitchen and writing short stories.