“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

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Deshaies: Gardens and Waterfalls

After staying in St.Barts longer then anticipated, we found the best 24-hour weather window we could manage and made a dash to get to Guadeloupe (the island in the Caribbean, not the town in Mexico of the same name). The sail ended up being a bit more sporty then expected so we decided to take a more scenic route in order to be in the lee (less wind and waves) of the islands of St.Kitts, Nevis, and Montserrat. We did see lots of dolphins and a whale, so that helped make the journey more enjoyable!

Guadeloupe is nicknamed the “The Butterfly Island,” due to its shape. The island is divided in the middle by a narrow river, Rivière Salée. The west-wing of the butterfly is Basse-Terre and the east-wing is Grande-Terre. We decided that our first stop in Guadeloupe would be the little town of Deshaies (“Dey Hay”) located in the northwest corner of the west-wing.

map of gwada

The main attraction in this area, as recommended by several guidebooks and other cruisers, is the Botanical Garden.  Upon further research, I learned that you can climb up the steep hill from the town or you can get picked up by the free shuttle, which of course we chose the shuttle route. Putting my best French forward (which is very, very little), I called and requested a pick-up. After about 45-minutes of walking around looking for our ride, I finally found the bus. Pleased with myself, I stepped onto the bus to confirm with the driver that he will be taking our group up the hill to the garden.  Well, my satisfaction was short-lived.  Between hand signals, broken French/English, and Google translate, I learned that this is a public bus that is currently on break and does not go to the garden.  However, the driver took pity on me and yelled to the group to all hop aboard. This very nice man gave us a ride to the Garden, he wouldn’t let us pay him anything!

The Deshaies Botanical Garden is located on a 7-hectare property that belonged to the French comedian Coluche. Michel Gaillard, a nursery gardener, friend of Coluche, opened a palm tree nursery in Guadeloupe to supply his Paris-based company. In 1985 Coluche asked Michel Gaillard to look after and maintain his property in exchange for land to create his nursery. Unfortunately Coluche died a year later. Thanks to his knowledge of the property, Michel Gaillard bought it in 1991 and took many years to turn it into the magical garden that is visited today.

garden map

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flower and waterfall

flower with bee


giant tree 2

giant palm


view from the garden 2

We also hiked up the Deshaies River to the waterfall. Described in a cruising guide as “a five-year-old hiked here for two hours without problem”; well, after hiking all day, climbing over boulders and pulling ourselves up very muddy terrain, I call BullShit on this description!  What should have been a couple of hour hike took our group of five all day and we never found what any of us deemed to be any sort of worthy waterfall.  At least the foliage along the way was pretty.

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bouldering 2

Kevin contemplating how to proceed

the gang

Well deserved drinks after our hike. Left to right: Stacey on sv Smitty, Peggy, Kevin, and Teddy on sv Asante.

Smitty in Deshaies (1)

Information for Cruisers traveling to Deshaies, Guadeloupe (as of January 2020):

  •  Moorings are Free but almost all are taken by local boats that leave a dinghy to reserve their spot when they leave. Hope for a mooring but plan to anchor in 30+ feet of water behind the moorings.  Leave plenty of scope as you will spin 360.
  • Check in/out can be completed at the Police Station for free.  Use the computer in the hallway then see the front desk clerk with all paperwork. The Police Station Opens at 7:30 each weekday; closes midday for lunch then opens again in the afternoon, closed by 5.
  • Bringing a pet? No Problem.  Be sure all paperwork is up-to-date, thats it! This French Island has no additional fees and does not require any special vet exams in order to import your pet. 



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Cost to Cruise – May 2016

May marks the month we finally left the Bahamas;  so our costs for this month includes entry fees for Turks & Caicos and Dominican Republic.  We also got a bit overzealous when we went to a ‘real’ grocery store – we definitely bought some pricey items and treated ourselves.

May 2016  TOTAL $ 2,413.27

$  245.00     CUSTOMS – ENTRY FEES

$  340.80     MARINA

$  861.55     GROCERIES

$  491.24     ENTERTAINMENT (eating out, alcohol, and excursions)

$    42.00     BOAT PARTS & OTHER

$  219.68     FUEL (Diesel & Gasoline)

$  170.00     COMMUNICATION

$    30.00     LAUNDRY

$    13.00     PROPANE

         Summary of previous months’ Totals*:

April 2016         $ 1,956.78

March 2016      $ 3,149.20

February 2016  $ 1,851.99

*previous month’s are detailed in prior posts


Turks & Caicos



Turtle Rock


Water color changes:  darker blue (close) is the deep water; the beautiful turquoise is the more shallow water


After a 36-hour passage from Long Island, Bahamas, we arrived in Providenciales (Provo) in the country Turks & Caicos.  Our plan was to have a 7-day or less stopover here in order to provision, take on water and fuel and wait for a weather window to head to the Dominican Republic.  Staying any later then 7-days in this country would mean that we would have to pay an additional hefty fee – No Thanks! 

This island was full of resorts and a fee is required by each resort in order to enter and go to their beaches and restaurants.  All of the nice beaches are privately owned (residences or resorts) and nothing is within walking distance.  The marina owner was nice enough to drive the cruisers to the grocery store each day; other than that, we did not spend any time outside of the marina.


Several boats that are headed to the Caribbean had come into this marina in Provo within a day or so of each other.  We quickly made friends with Kendra (Owner/Captain) & Darren (Crew) on sv Sea Frog; you can follow her travels on Where is Kendra – My Adventures on Sea Frog. And, thanks to Barbara Hart on sv La Luna (published author and blogger – check out Harts at Sea)  for the introductions, we met up with Rhonda & Travis and their three kids (Quincy, Jonah, Daphnie) on sv Party of Five. This family is on a plan to sail the world! You can follow them at Party of Five.

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sv Sea Frog                                                                        sv Party of Five


Left to Right adults:  Darren, Kendra, Rhonda, Travis, Fabio (sv Odoya), Stacey                                                                                                                                      Kids of sv Party of Five:  Jonah, Quincy, and Daphnie


In order to stage to jump to Luperon, Dominican Republic, we headed to South Caicos.  We anchored in Cockburn Harbor.  We were surprised that this sleepy little town was having a huge party – their Annual Regatta.  This regatta included sail and power boat races, junkanoo, face painting, games, bands, food & beverages.  A few of the more daring guys in our group ate turtle and did not feel so well later that night!


Turks & Caicos


Great name for a boat:  RUM DRINKER 1


Junkanoo performers

Finally, we paid an extra fee to the government official in order to check-out over the weekend, and we were off to Luperon the next day.


Bahamas Chapter 10: Long Island

Long Island, Bahamas marks the last Chapter in our journey through the Bahamas.  We stopped at two different anchorages, and stayed a little over a week.  We rented a car with friends and checked out the island including:  Dean’s Blue Hole and some caves.  This island was devastated by Hurricane Joaquin (Category 4 hurricane that hit in October 2015) and is still recovering.  

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Beach Bar for Cruisers

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Snorkeling Dean's Blue Hole

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Lots of creepy, crawly things in the caves!

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Long Island

We absolutely loved the Bahamas and would like to eventually go back, but our current plan is to continue to head south.  Turks & Caicos here we come!


Bahamas Chapter 8: George Town (aka Chicken Harbor)

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Have you ever gone on a cruise on a cruise ship or went to summer camp?  You know how everything is scheduled and everyone is friends by the end of the time there…this is what George Town is like.  I am not even joking…there is Yoga and Water Aerobics each morning, weekly poker tournaments, volleyball each afternoon, and fires & sundowners on the beach.  And, if all that is not enough for you, there is plenty of hiking, snorkeling, restaurants with live bands, etc.

The harbor consists of multiple anchorages, which is the home to several hundred boats that come to this stop in the Bahamas, where they remain for the entire winter season.  There is a Cruisers’ Net that comes over the VHF each morning to discuss the on-goings in the harbor, announces items available for Buy-Sell-Trade, and includes Arrivals and Departures of vessels to the area.  To be honest, when we first arrived here all of this was very overwhelming, after we had spent over three months in pretty small, quiet anchorages.

We had an extended stay here as we waited for our guest (Frank) to arrive from Boston, Massachusetts.  The timing could not have been more prefect.  We ended up being at this island during the National Family Island Regatta, which we learned is the biggest sailing event in the Bahamas.  Boats and people come from every island to participate in the races and festivities.  Regatta Point, an otherwise quiet street, became an entire town of shacks and stages just for this event.  Besides the races and drinking & eating, there were art exhibits, parades, a fashion show, and bands.  It was amazing to see this quiet little town swell with thousands of people over the course of just a week.  We had such a good time with Frank and miss him already!

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Race boats arrive via barge or are towed by a power boat

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Shacks being erected

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Shacks ready for action


Cheers! Tasting our first Sky Juice.  From left to right:  Stacey & Jesse (sv Smitty), Chris & Jim (sv Radio Waves), Frank (sv Smitty guest)

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Late night (well, early morning)….well past my bedtime, but well worth it

Chat’N’Chill is one of the famous stops of this area, just across the harbor from Georgetown on Stocking Island.  They have a weekly pig roast, daily volleyball games, and of course a beach bar.

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We did manage to snug into a quiet spot that hardly anyone goes to anchor called Redshanks.  It was a great place to hide out from high winds that we kept experiencing.  The most amount of boats that we saw in this area was about 15, which meant that the most beautiful beach was virtually all ours! We probably spent the most amount of our time while in Georgetown anchored here. 

George Town-001

views around Redshanks


bridge that you go under as you dinghy to/from town.  

On each larger island, there is a monument that identifies to approaching vessels which island that they are in fact approaching.  The short hike up to the top of the hill to the monument on Monument Beach rewards you with the most spectacular views of the surrounding area.

George Town

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sunset with Deborah & Keith (sv Wrightaway)



spotted this eel as we were snorkeling

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You get a pretty diverse group of visitors to this island


This kid kicked my butt at checkers (likely because he made up new rules as we played)

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Bubbly pool – nice afternoon of relaxing and wine with Radio Waves’ crew

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weenie roast on Frank’s last night

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Flip Flop Beach


this is how the local police handle derelict boats


George Town

sadly, this was where we departed ways with Radio Waves.  Thank you both again for everything – we had a really great time enjoying this experience with you!


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

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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





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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).


Cost to Cruise Bahamas – April 2016

After our failures to land fish (we hooked them but did not successfully get them onto the boat), we invested in a gaff.  We are hoping that this gets a lot of use once we leave Georgetown to start heading south on the deeper water.

In April, we also had a bit of a data usage snafu…Jesse and I both forgot to turn-off certain apps and inadvertently sucked up all of our data, therefore, we bought 10g of data (normally we only buy 5g and that is plenty). 😦

And last but not least, we did spend extra on food and entertainment because we had company visit and we checked out the Family Islands Regatta and festivities.

April 2016  TOTAL $ 1,956.78

This month we visited Lee Stocking Island, Cat Island, and Great Exuma Island (Georgetown, Red Shanks Anchorage, and Stocking Island).  Those costs break-down as follows:

$  597.07   GROCERIES

$  401.82   ENTERTAINMENT (eating out and alcohol)

$  341.40   BOAT PARTS & OTHER

$  282.43   FUEL (Diesel & Gasoline)


$    48.00   LAUNDRY


$      0.00   PROPANE

$      0.00   WATER

Summary of previous months’ Totals*:

       March 2016         $ 3,149.20

       February 2016    $ 1,851.99

*previous month’s are detailed Cost to Cruise Bahamas – The First Two Months

Bahamas Part 3: Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park


Continuing on south through the Exumas, we made stops at some of the islands & cays in the Exuma Land & Sea Park.  Warderick Cay was one of our favorite stops.  We anchored at Emerald Rock and had a very quiet spot with several beautiful beaches virtually to ourselves.  We hiked around the island and, as is customary for passing cruisers, we left our driftwood sign on BooBoo Hill.

Ward 1


Curly Tailed Lizard – only found here

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Ward 9






Ward 8


Ward 20


At Cambridge Cay (Little Bells Cay), we checked out a submerged plane, snorkeled the Sea Aquarium Coral Garden (where Jesse got chased by a shark!), explored the Dungy Caves, kayaked, finally busted out the hammock and spent some time relaxing, oh, and we peeped on Johnny Depps’s private island – Pirate’s of the Caribbean money buys you a pretty nice place in the Bahamas!



Cambridge plane

submerged plane

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Dungy Caves

Cambridge aquarium


Cambridge mountain

Sand mound at Cambridge

Cambridge Sunset

Sunset at Cambridge

This gallery contains 29 photos


Florida – The Last ICW Frontier

Florida not only represented the last and longest stretch of the ICW for sv Smitty and crew, but also new challenges and sites.

Itinerary                                                             Thoughts

Jacksonville                                         Nice free dock with water and we got to see Bonnie

St. Augustine                                       Beautiful! Would highly recommend to anyone.

Daytona Beach                                    ehhh…I wouldn’t stop here again

Cape Canaveral – Titusville                Pretty cool to look over and see a space ship 

Cape Malabar – Marker 21 Lagoon     First spot we got to swim in warm, clear water

Vero Beach                                           Hated it!  Overly congested with boats and people.

Fort Pierce Cool town & people.        Peacocks roaming the streets and we got to catch back                                                                                                                   up with Lori & Marty.

Indiantown                                         Okeechobee waterway side trip (not the ICW)

Jupitor – Hobe Sound                        Pretty & quiet

West Palm Beach                               We experienced two TORNADO warnings – NOT COOL!

Fort Lauderdale – Sunrise Bay         Nice spot with a park; saw iguanas swimming

North Miami – Oleta State Park       Very well maintained park with many trails

Dinner Key                                        The mooring field was terrible – totally exposed.

Key Biscayne – No Name Harbor     Beautiful!  We saw rays and huge orange iguanas.

random sits of the FL ICW

Scenes going along the ICW in Northern Florida


Jesus, Beer, and Breakfast with Marty & Lori at Archies in Fort Pierce


Smitty’s height from the water to the top of the mast (including the antenna and other instruments on top), is just under 50’, which means that we need a bridge to have a vertical clearance (the space from the water to the underside of the center of the bridge in the closed position) of at least 50’ or we will need to have the bridge opened. Some bridges are “on demand”, which means that when you get near the bridge you hail the bridge tender on the VHF to request an opening. Other bridges only open at certain times during the day, for example on the hour and half-past the hour.  Some bridges are fairly close together, requiring us to time our journey each day in order to coordinate openings so we did not have to sit there and wait. Holding station (trying to wait in the same spot) in a sailboat is quite challenging to do when it is windy or in strong current, you cannot just put the boat in park and have it stay in place. In total, we passed under almost 90 bridges in Florida!

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So many bridges – about 90 in all

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My favorite travel day was the day we went from Daytona Beach through Mosquito Lagoon to Cape Canaveral. The lagoon is a large body of shallow water that is part of the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge.  At one point we took a sharp right turn into a very narrow canal known as Haulover Canal.  This spot was majestic.  As we rounded the turn we saw dolphins all around us and seabirds of every variety diving into the water and swimming about. There were lots of people fishing, one guy even held up his catch for me to get a picture.  Once we were through the canal, a large flock of Flamingos flew overhead and landed on a small nearby island. Shortly thereafter we spotted our first group of manatees!  Once we were anchored for the night, I looked over to the distant land only to see the NASA space shuttle. Then as we were on a nearby island with Summer we saw yet another manatee. We ended the day with a beautiful full moon that night.  Needless to say, it was a great day.

Haulover Canal



Okeechobee Watrerway – Indiantown

In order to have Smitty hauled out (put onto land), our itinerary for Florida included a diversion from the ICW to go to Indiantown. We had many projects to complete that could only be done out of water (like clean and paint the bottom).  Living on the boat, on land, and having to get Summer and ourselves up and down a ladder was not easy.  However, not all of our time was spent working.  We spent a lovely afternoon with my Aunt June and Uncle John (thank you again for making the long trip over to visit us).  We were also able to meet some blog friends in person – Matt & Jessica, authors of the blog MJSailing and Ellen, author of the blog The Cynical Sailor and His Salty Side Kick. And…we finally saw an alligator!    


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We had to go through a lock to get into and out of the Okeechobee waterway; and of course this waterway had bridges as well

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A baby fawn hanging out with some horses along the Okeechobee waterway

Smitty before & after

Smitty before and after

Much bigger houses and boats starting in the Treasure Coast and south.

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Waterway “streets” and neighborhoods are all along the southern ICW – every house has at least one boat “parked” out front


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Yes, that is a boat carrying several megayachts and yes, you can own that super sweet tent-boat  it is for sale

Florida ICW

Miami and West Palm

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We were treated to the World Cup Races (the Olympic Qualifiers) as we went into Dinner Key

Smitty and crew have now sailed to every state on the East Coast of the United States. On Saturday, January 30th, at 11;30 pm, we departed from No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne, Florida to continue on to the next leg of our journey – the Bahamas.