Chaos to Serenity

Stories of Staniel Cay


About the Book:

Staniel Cay is a small Bahamas island in the middle of the Exuma chain, where neither the temperature nor population rarely rises above 100. A mere dot on the map, it is one of the best kept secrets in the travel industry.

There is no bank, no ATM, no super department store, no big hotel. A rental car is a golf cart.

There is incredibly clear water, world-class snorkeling, diving and fishing, deserted beaches and a friendly native village.

The author has a 40 year association with the island, and Chaos to Serenity is a collection of stories that includes its history, the author’s personal experiences, island life and trivia. The book weaves local culture into the fabric of everyday life, with a little insanity thrown in for reality. Anyone who has visited the island will enjoy and relate to the various tales. Anyone who hasn’t will probably make reservations.

Serenity is the name of the author’s island home and cottage.

There are more than 100 black and white photos throughout the book. Here are two that show the island in the early 1970s and as it is in 2009.


About the Author:

Martha (Marty) Crikelair Wohlford is a professional writer who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work. She has sailed all her life, is a licensed private pilot, diver, photographer, musician, and graphic artist.

She is a graduate of St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Ind., where she majored in English Literature and Creative Writing. Her career began as a feature writer/editor for several newspapers, including the former Fort Lauderdale News (now Sun-Sentinel). She established her own public relations firm in the early 1970s, and her combination of photography, writing and graphics skills have resulted in numerous brochures, catalogs, ads, and image pieces for a variety of clients.

Marty mostly lives at her home, Serenity, in Staniel Cay, Bahamas, where she nourishes her spirit.

ISBN: 9780978798147. Published by Serenity Press

Reader Comments

I just got done reading Chaos to Serenity for the second time.  My wife and I both read it before we came to the island in September of 2011 and when I got back I had to read it again because I loved the island so much.  I just wanted to tell you that you have a little piece of heaven where you are.  We spent a few days at the grotto and would go by your dock and just look at how beautiful your house and cottage are and just imagined the view you get to see on a daily basis!  I just wanted to let you know that now instead of re-selling the book on Amazon I am going to have to keep it so when I need my little reminders of how great the island was I can go back and read.  We already have plans to go back in the next year or two, have to work that around having kids, but I cant wait to get back.  I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the book as a reminder of the island life and when I need to get away from the day to day hustle and bustle I can always just go read the book.  Thanks,Wesley J. 1/9/12

Here is a post from a sailboater...

We came to Staniel Cay to ride out a blow and experience the area. In my years of travel I've always found the local library and church is where you can fully experience the community. I saw "Libra" on the initial Staniel Cay map yet was informed the Library itself doesn't exist anymore, yet the Library Books were moved to the Isles General Store. The non-fictional, true stories, recollections and facts of the book pictured here "Chaos to Serenity" was in the store. This book has opened my eyes to truly know the island for its history as well as many characters who still work and live on the island. As well most island folks are descendants of true characters in the book.

The book speaks about the cemetery, the church, the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, the family "Gray House," the almond tree, the Breadfruit tree and many other village markings which I passed by never giving them a thought until I read the book. I saw and appreciated the island quite differently. The island came alive more than ever, the living history and above all the Staniel Cay people. The Generations of families who were born, raised and perished on the island.

We decided to attend the weekly Sunday morning Church service. Seeing the same faces from the docks, the marina, the laundry, the stores felt so familiar. All giving us a wink and a smile. To my surprise I saw the name of the Pastor on the church sign and realized he is written about in the book, not as the church pastor but of his work at the airport, his family, his own unbelievable hardships. The library and church are one with the community.

If one is a sailor, boater or admirer of the human spirit and resilience, one cannot put this is book down. The history, the heartaches, the overcoming of adversities is admirable. Many trials, tribulations and stories are told of the true grit, determination and skill of navigating these waters over the years w/o modern technology. Reading continues of the many hardships the island community has suffered and endured. And yet the Island people persevered to establish the Staniel Cay community which exists today and serves this boating community with smiles, manners and the basics we need.

"Chaos to Serenity" combines local culture with the everyday life we cruisers experience today. This book experience, this learning of the Staniel Cay Island history to present time, this true familiarity with the Island people has been so far the highlight of this Bahamas trip.