Drawn to the Deep: The Remarkable Underwater Explorations of Wes Skiles


Product Details

University Press of Florida
Publish Date
6.1 X 0.8 X 9.1 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

Julie Hauserman, an award-winning journalist, is editor-in-chief of the Florida Phoenix. She is a former national commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition and a former capital bureau reporter for the St. Petersburg Times.


"Journalist Hauserman does justice to the remarkable life of an explorer dubbed 'Florida's Jacques Cousteau.' Wes Skiles died in a diving accident at age 52 in 2010, cutting short an impressive career that brought underwater discoveries to a wide audience. His pioneering underwater photography--which yielded breathtaking images of such natural wonders as blue holes, 'stalactite-filled underwater Bahama caves'--was featured in National Geographic and on the Discovery Channel. Skiles's addiction to risk resulted in experiences straight out of thrillers: fighting off a great white that had broken into his shark cage, narrowly escaping a collapse in an Australian cave system, and being the first person to walk on the largest iceberg in Antarctica. Perhaps his most lasting legacy is a PBS documentary series, Water's Journey: Hidden Rivers, which showed the path drinking water takes en route to the tap and the impact of pollution on groundwater. Hauserman doesn't overstate Skiles's impact on public policy, noting that Florida's government still allows companies to pollute the state's aquifers. But despite that, Hauserman, who knew her subject personally, more than makes the case that Skiles's innovation and daring added significantly to the understanding of a variety of aquatic worlds, and to the human impact on them."--Publishers Weekly
"As a teenager, Wes Skiles (1958-2010) began cave diving at Florida's Ginnie Springs just for fun, and this after-school obsession eventually became his vocation. Cave diving led to his becoming an underwater photographer, a director of environmental films, and an explorer of some of the world's most hidden places. Over the course of his 25-year career, he was filmed under a gigantic iceberg near Antarctica, escaped shark attacks in South Africa, campaigned to protect Florida's aquifers from agricultural and industrial pollution, and became the first person to explore hundreds of miles of karst rock caves. Quoting Skiles' friends and his own writings, biographer Hauserman portrays him as a likable family man driven by his love of diving, and she recounts many of his fantastic, often-dangerous adventures. In addition to meeting a compelling character, readers learn about the cutting-edge work of cave divers, oceanographers, and environmental scientists against a backdrop of government regulatory inaction. Viewers of National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and PBS Nature shows will especially enjoy this book."--Booklist
"An intriguing, thought-provoking, and well-written book. . . . Hauserman successfully highlights [Skiles'] varied accomplishments and numerous contributions to exploration, education, and environmental awareness."--The Underground Movement