Archive for the Category »Red Shanks «

Royal Bahamian Red Shanks Yacht Club

Our final evening with the remaining Navy ships was spent at the “Royal Bahamian Red Shanks Yacht and Tennis Club” enjoying happy hour, throwing around the frisbee and taking in a gorgeous sunset.

Christie saving a local starfish

Matt and Ted tossing the frisbee

The yacht club bar

Matt jumping for a high throw

The Navy’s conch shell memento

The Navy being accepted into the yacht club

Now before you think we’ve gone all fancy, schmoozing at the “yacht club”, realize that this is no ordinary club. In fact, it’s a short beach that only exists at low tide. And only accessible by private yachts boats. There is a simple wooden bench and a driftwood bar secured to the rocks so they don’t float away. The backdrop is adorned with creatively decorated and signed conch shells left by members who have come before. And there you have it. A bonified Bahamian yacht club. Design by – and for – the quirky, yet ever imaginative cruising community.

As a place of legend in one of our cruising guides, and positioned in the front yard of our anchorage in Red Shanks, we couldn’t pass it by without a visit before making our way toward Long Island.

Just as many cruisers had done before, we all signed and dated a conch shell and secured it onto the rocky wall. The shell we signed had special significance as Rusty and Linda had given it to us the first time we met them wayyyyy back in Kemah! They had found it on their first trip to the Jimentos and told us to return it to the Bahamas when we got there. The “Royal Bahamian Red Shanks Yacht and Tennis Club” seemed like as fitting place as any to keep the promise. Thanks, Rusty and Linda!

Navy Dinner in Red Shanks

To celebrate Christie and Steve’s return to George Town, and with the Texas Navy starting to take diverging routes, everyone gathered at a restaurant in Red Shanks to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.

A Texas-size celebration

Ted had made reservations for 11 and we upon arriving, we were greeted with a large pre-set table with lit candles, linen tablecloth and napkins. “SYL” had arrived a few minutes early and was thoughtful enough to assign seating for the two guests of honor. Hand drawn on little napkins were “Steve from Anchor Management,” “The Admiral” and Matt’s sign “The Admiral’s Servant.”

Christie’s place card

Matt’s place card

As we sat down, the chef/owner brought out complimentary conch fritters to start the evening. Rum punches and Kaliks (Bahamian beer) were lifted as we toasted to our friendship and soon enough the table was filled with cracked conch, cracked chicken, garlic shrimp, and New York Steaks with steamed broccoli and honey-glazed carrots.

The food and service were top notch and the evening was spent over vibrant and engaging conversation. On the dinghy ride home, we stopped to say farewell (for a couple weeks) to “SYL” who left for Turks and Caicos this morning.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks waiting in George Town for our watermaker to arrive and it should finally be here on Thursday. Once picked up, we’re looking forward to setting sail for Long Island on Friday.

A Week in Waiting

The blog and Kaleo have been pretty quiet the past week while Christie flew to Houston to reprovision on family time and a few things that aren’t readily available out here.

She left on Sunday morning and after another Bahamas church service (just as long but without the shouting), I returned to an empty hull. All our stuff was there but the warmth, energy, and emotion that fills Kaleo was noticeably missing.

Knowing that a ship without its Admiral is like having a compass that doesn’t point north, the Texas Navy stepped up to help me through the week. From breakfast on “SYL” to dinners aboard “Morning Glory”, I certainly wasn’t lacking for wonderful and filling meals.

This week highlighted the bonds made while cruising as each boat we’ve spent time with supported, encouraged, and anticipated Christie’s return with me. I am continually amazed by how much everyone cares for each other and will stop at nothing to lend a hand, cook a meal or bring a smile to your face.

While counting down the hours until Christie’s return, I:

  • Enjoyed ice cream at the laundromat a few too many times
  • Crossed some boat projects off the list like replacing the toilet pump, preparing for the watermaker install, wiring water tank monitors and reorganizing the lazzerette
  • Hiked to some ruins on a nearby cay with Ted and Mili and unsuccessfully searched for caves on another cay

The ruins of a kitchen on Crab Cay

Hiking the ruins on Crab Cay

  • Finished two books and slept in a few days
  • Gorged myself on manicotti during “Italian night” aboard “Pipe Muh Bligh”
  • Crafted, with the help of Ted and Mili, a spray shield for the dinghy to help keep us dry on high wind days
  • Met and hung out with Rusty’s brother Jim and his two daughters, who were all a fun addition to the Navy. The girls kicked transom at Mexican Train and Jimmy, in chorus with Troy, serenaded us all with sailor songs on the guitar

Troy and Jimmy playing sailor songs

  • Appreciated the gracious nightly invites to dinner aboard “Morning Glory”
  • Attended “boat church” aboard “MG” with the entire Texas Navy where we sang worship songs, spent time in prayer and watched a service

“Boat Church” aboard Morning Glory

“Boat Church” parking lot

  • Helped Mili on “MG” sew an anchor riding sail, which when hoisted on Kaleo should reduce swinging at anchor

Matt and Mili working on the anchor riding sail

  • Took full advantage of Skype by getting to talk with Christie a few times each day

While in Texas, Christie told me of her quest to stock-up on some of our favorite foods, boat parts, pampering and pick up a few requests for the Navy. Coming from a close-knit Italian family, most of their time was centered around meals of grand proportion with lots of conversation and laughter. One night (as most) the family got together at Christie’s parents’ house for a full-on Bubba Gump-style Shrimp Fest featuring boiled, grilled, and kabobed shrimp with every combination of zucchini, carrots, garlic, pineapple, potatoes, chicken, sausage and more. Breaks from these culinary feasts included road tripping to Dallas with her Mom and Nana to visit friends, dine at her favorite restaurants, and, in her words, “get put back together” at a few salons.

A round of reprovisioning

When I met her at the airport, the porter happily handed off the 3 giant bags and 1 box, weighing in at 50 lbs each. I was impressed that Christie was able to pack everything so efficiently and then get the freight down to George Town. “SYL” was kind enough to help with the pickup by staging their big boat near the dinghy dock to save us from the 30 minute dinghy ride with all the extra weight. We jumped on board, unloaded the dinghy and were back anchored in Red Shanks before dark.

It was announced on the radio upon pulling in that “the Texas Navy would like to welcome the return of Admiral Christie,” and we all (myself especially) were ecstatic that she was home.

Retreat to Red Shanks

All the activity and action from the past two weeks’ Regatta had taken its toll and we were looking for a great place to relax.

The gals soaking in the sun

Red Shanks is an anchorage about five miles south of George Town but no where near the same pace. As we motored into the secluded cove, only three other boats were around to greet us. As we set the hook, it reminded us of the private protected anchorages that we enjoyed in places like Black Point, O’Briens Cay and Shroud Cay. Surrounded by sandy mangrove covered cays, the water was glass and Kaleo floated without a tug on her anchor chain.

We dinghyied over to “Morning Glory” to relax in the sun, swim, and live the cruiser’s dream. The guys talked boats, solar panels, and other technical topics while the gals played Bananagrams and lounged on the trampolines. All the while, Ted and Mili were generous enough to run their watermaker for us, filling up our empty jugs as we wait for our Cruise RO watermaker to be delivered in the next week or so.

Matt and Ted jumping off “Morning Glory”

A few hours later “SYL” came into the anchorage and joined the afternoon swim and sun while we all made plans for a potluck dinner. Everyone returned to their respective boats to make a dinner dish and wash the salt off. We then headed over to “SYL” to be greeted by a table set with real linen napkins and glassware. A touch that brought the dinner from a cruiser’s potluck to a gathering of friends over fresh fish, filet mignot, chicken and a plethora of delicious side dishes.

Dinner & great company aboard “SYL”

Kaleo quietly floating at anchor in Red Shanks

Sunset turned into twinkling stars and as the night wrapped up, a crescent moon was our street light on the ride home.

N 23° 29.09 / W 75° 44.29

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