Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Special Report: Red Shanks anchorage, Georgetown

Red Shanks Yacht Club

Georgetown Day 5 (Tues, Jan 12):  I'm up early for our reposition. The Captain doesn't think moving for all-around protection is necessary, but agrees Red Shanks looks fun (I'm still a little gun shy from the derecho!). Coffee is on. It's another beautiful Sand Dollar beach sunrise! As I step out to survey our anchorage, I can hear waves crashing on the other side of the cay. Fantastic!  The Captain makes an appearance and heads out on deck while Amelia gives him the "paw up" from the helm (quickly bored, she goes back in for a nap). As soon as the anchor is up, I realize the wheel has limited steering--it's quickly resolved--a bucket in an aft locker fell over.   Hello, differential steering. Whew!  Better than coffee!  The short reposition is 5 miles and takes an hour (I can't believe some people move everyday.).  Here is how we got into Red Shanks/Crab Cay/"the secret spot" per "The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South, The Thornless Path to Windward 10th edition.":   ' down Elizabeth Harbor on a line 126 magnetic on JR's house on Man of War Cay.  This shall carry you by the reef off Sand Dollar Beach anchorage through a gap in the reef off Elizabeth Island anchorage.  (Caution both markers are missing from Joaquin Jan 2016)
When abeam of the house on the middle of Guana Cay turn to 222 Magnetic (Garmin has already turned you to 190) until able to distinguish a transit of the easternmost of the Redshanks and the bluff which bounds Master Harbor to the northeast. Keep these 2 features just closed, and you will pass a large coral head to starboard which stands in the center of a 100 yard gap in the reef beyond. Leave the last of the Redshanks forty yards to starboard and steer to the bluff, rounding slowly to starboard so as to leave the bluff 200 yards to the southwest. Then steer west until you see the entrance to Redshanks anchorage and pick up the darker colors of the entrance channel's deeper water."

Garmin BlueChart into Red Shanks

Just kidding!  I navigated with our trusted Garmin BlueCharts on the iPad.  We're newbs driving our house!  We probably wouldn't have tried that!  Of course, we scoped it out in the dinghy the day before, so maybe! I was skeptical since hurricanes could change landmarks, but The Captain read along, and all the houses are still there.  He's disappointed when we round the corner and see 6 masts, mostly catamarans (but later 2 monohulls!) way back in there (spot 3? "The litter box"?). Mistakenly thinking they were in the hole closest to the bridge (spot 4?), we drop anchor in spot #2 ending up in deeper water than we planned (6.6 ft on the depth finder at low tide, 4 ft charted--Garmin). 

The most beautiful bridge I've seen in the Bahamas.  Crab Cay bridge to nowhere...

We listen to the end of the 8:00 am net, check in with Sasha, and I look up to see Dos Libras come around the bend.  We hop up on deck to wave and I holler over, "Hey, you can't bring that monohull in here!"  Tammy hollers back from the helm, "Watch this!"  We hop in the dinghy for a slightly longer ride into town, picking up our friends on Sasha on the way. We were careful the 1st time because of 1-2 ft along the route, but at high tide we zip straight over. The crew breaks up for errands and reconvenes at Red Boone. It turns out the veggie boat had arrived, so I scored $70 worth of spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, tomato, broccoli, squash, oranges, and mango. We ran into pretty much everyone we know--better than happy hour at Chat n Chill!  Party on the Exuma Market dinghy dock!  

Red Shanks mangroves

The kayak is dropped in the water after the hole is repaired (a little generator mishap in the watertight bow, fixed with a screw & washer!).  Now it matches the dinghy! I paddle off to explore and discover a tiny half moon beach covered in conch shells decorated with boat names (turns out to be Red Shanks Yacht and Tennis Club). On the way back I swing by the say hello to Dos Libras then back to Odin for a snorkel out to the anchor.  I spot a sea star, cushion sea star and an upside down jellyfish (it's the first time I've seen one of these.  They're weird.  When the water is really calm, I can even see them breathing from on deck.)

Our pet sea star/starfish.  Every day, as the boat swings around, we play, "where is the star fish now?"

Quick shampoo on the stern steps.  The Captain whips up a potato, broccoli, cheddar dinner!  Dos Libras hollers over an invite to happy hour.

Stats:  total time 1:03, avg speed 4.3 kts, total 4.5 nm, motored

Another trash and water run

Georgetown Day 6 (Wed, Jan 13):  It's a overcast morning, with a few showers and a slow start.  

Some days we sit in the cockpit and watch the free entertainment.  Other days WE ARE the entertainment!  (You probably shouldn't be a cruiser if you don't have a sense of humor). 

We dinghy in to fill our water jerry cans. With the extra weight, our new outboard didn't want to "get on plane."  This a) isn't as fun b) meant a LONG, wet ride back to the boat. He had 3 jerry cans & a case of beer in the bow (where I usually sit) and I was sitting in the back with The Captain.

"Lean farther forward."  As we head through Kidd Cove anchorage, we are both laying across the jerry cans. Most people probably knew what we were doing, but I'm sure we still looked silly. "My fat butt should be up there.  You need to shuffle things around."  He stops, we both stand up and move a jerry can & the beer to the back.  

("Hey, honey. Come out here. You have to see this!"). 

I plop down in the hole, with both feet up in the air and 2 jerry cans between my legs.  NOW it's getting interesting. The worst part was, it still wouldn't plane.  If anybody got this on video, please tag Odin when you post it to YouTube. Tip your waitresses. We'll be here until the end of the month.

Sv Reach and our fellow PDQ Sam the Skull (a Scotsman!) stop by to say hello (spot 4?). Pasta primavera for dinner. 

Georgetown Day 7 (Thurs, Jan 14):  The forecast has slid back another day. The winds should be 15 today and 20 tomorrow. Chris Parker's servers had been down, so this morning we are greeted with this:  "We officially have our 1st Tropical LO of the 2016 Hurricane Season.

The LO which developed just NE of Eleuthera Wed6 evening (which we have been monitoring for possible Tropical LO formation since before it developed, and which packed Hurricane Force sustained wind when it was officially a non-Tropical LO E of Bermuda Sun10) has been declared "Sub-Tropical" Storm Alex."  I guess we can say we were there first!

The outboard is a week old.  Might as well drill some holes!  (new fins)

A friend posts a pic of a water spout on FaceBook this morning, so we think--let's run into Red Shanks!  It's takes some exploring, but we find the "cement dock" which is really a boat ramp/rock wall with pieces of pipe or pallets to tie off to. We stop at Cheater's (bright colored building to the left) for directions, then we head to the laundromat (to the right). The power is out but I decide to wait awhile. The Captain hops back in the dinghy and runs down to Brown's Marine and returns as the sky turns dark. "Time to go!"  We scramble back to the dinghy.  Generator on, TV on, flannel jammies on.

Errands cut short.  It didn't even rain at our place.

Georgetown Day 8 (Fri Jan 15):  Alex is a hurricane.  Speechless. The earliest Atlantic hurricane in 78 years.  We head back into town (take 2) for laundry, fuel, and lunch at Cheater's Restaurant.

On the way back another dinghy flagged us down and asked if we knew where the blue hole was. We've passed over the area several times, but always forget to look. We say, "it's right around here somewhere!" I look back as we motor away--and we were sitting right over the top of it! Should we go back? "They'll figure it out..." Lol

Our afternoon snorkel takes us to an underwater cave. It's not what we thought it was (a dark hole on the bottom), but we found an amazing array of fish--"the most we've seen". The Captain saw one huge striped fish that caused him to drag out the reef fish book.

Red Shanks activity map

There is supposed to be plantation ruins and an abandoned housing development on Crab Cay.  Our Navionics chartplotter indicates a possible trail on the NW beach (spot 4) but we didn't get that far.  You can stop at Minn's Water Sports for a snorkel map and to ask about the cave.  The guidebook also mentioned ice cream in Red Shanks, but shockingly, that was never pursued either.  Guess we're going back!

A beautiful Red Shanks sunset

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