“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Chapter 7: Lee Stocking Island


Lee Stocking Island may be our favorite stop that we made in the Bahamas.  There is enough to do that we could stay for weeks, which we did! But, we had to pile Smitty up with 30 gallons of extra water in a bladder and as much extra gas as we could, because there are no stores or other means of getting water or fuel on this island.


The island marker and the cut (entry/exit) for Lee Stocking

The Abandoned Institute


In order to pursue his interest in marine research and renewable energy, the 600-acre Lee Stocking Island was purchased for $70,000 by John Perry in 1957. He developed the island as a scientific field station and tried to make it self-supporting by incorporating working models of new technologies.


Wind Turbine – the cables were used to pull the blades to the top of the post (which looks like a mast of a boat on land)

The Perry Institute for Marine Science included laboratories, housing, an airstrip, a dock, boats, and dive support facilities.  Up until SCUBA technology became more advanced, the field station featured shallow-depth submersibles.

From the institute’s website: 

The Perry Institute for Marine Science is dedicated to making a difference by protecting our oceans. We do this through ocean research and education that informs the public and encourages action. We operate a tropical marine laboratory on Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Scientists, students and educational groups visit our facility from around the world to conduct ocean research in this remote, pristine stretch of the Caribbean. In the areas on and around our island, we study things like coral reefs, fisheries, ecosystems and the biodiversity of undersea life.”

After the death of Perry in 2006, research funding dried up and the institute was closed. However, the Institute was not cleaned up; tons of garbage (including hazardous materials), buildings and equipment remain on the island. 


A couple of the many abandoned buildings and a pick-up truck

Lee Stocking Island-001

Live-wells used for research




Hazardous chemicals and the remnants of a decompression chamber



The tanker trucks were used to hold fuel for the generators that supported the island



Where the conch live



Conch:  Before                                      Conch:  After

Beautiful Beaches and clear water in every shade of blue





Lee Stocking Island-002

Summer leads the way on the trail hike

Lee Stocking Island





Anchorage with spectacular sunset


Farewell & Following Seas

One of the saddest days of of our trip so far was parting ways with Deborah & Keith and their pup, Kai on sv Wrightaway.  Thank you so much for the pleasure of your company, sharing the hunting and snorkeling spots with us, showing Jesse how to clean conch, and especially for sharing all of the super yummy fish & conch meals. 🙂


As I suspect that this island (or at least a portion) will be sold and developed into some sort of luxury resort over the next couple of years,  I am glad that we had the opportunity to explore this island now, especially in its current state (which, we found to be quite interesting and fun).

9 thoughts on “Chapter 7: Lee Stocking Island

  1. One of our favorites too! Enjoyed spending it there with you. Cocktails and popcorn overlooking Adderly cut made a fine evening :). Miss you guys!

  2. Pingback: The Cruising Life: Women’s Perspectives. Part 4: Where Would You Revisit? – Oh Sail Yes!

  3. Interesting notes. I did research at Lee Stocking 30 years ago. I hadn’t been back since 1991. What a sad scene, it was so vibrant then. Back then, it was “CMRC” Caribbean Marine Science Research Center. We once hosted a dinner for Lowell Weicker. Many amazing memories.

    • I would love to have seen the island in it’s prime. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • I did my thesis on Lee Stocking Island in 1987. I mapped 7 square miles of submarine carbonate sediments. It was the best experience of my life!

      • That’s great! My degrees are in geology and chemistry. I always wanted to get more involved with marine research.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • I did marine research there in 1986, under Dr Robert F Dill. We made the cover of Nature, November 1986 issue Giant Stromatalites in the Exhumas”

        It’s really a shame to see where this place is now, but that research was a highlight of my career in the Geosciences, even now, 34years later

  4. Sorry to see the photos and the way the Island was left. I worked for Perry Oceanographic years ago and many of my Projects were on this island. I spend many days and nights in the paradise. I conducted experiments in Wind Power, Solar Voltaic Power, Methanol Synthesist from sea water, Hydrogen Oxygen Fuel Cells and other power related research.

  5. I am devastated to see what has happened to this place. I also was one of the fortunate few that got to do some research there, not once but twice, in 1985. It s one of the fondest memories of my whole career. We met John Perry on one of those trips, a very kind and generous man, with an incredible few of the world we could all learn from.

    I decided to google this place, since I know Hurricane Irma is eading there, and was curious about what was happening there, did not know it had shut down.

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