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Local author pens personal history of undersea exploration

Anyone who enjoys reading of adventures and discoveries will love Bob Wicklund’s new book.  He has a talent for storytelling—some tales almost unbelievable, yet they are all true.

The pages of Eyes in the Sea come alive with remarkable stories. Wicklund, a regular guy, relates the fascinating string of events that propelled him to become one of the world’s leading underwater scientific observers and a pioneer of diving science. Sport divers and scientists alike will marvel at his “first eyes” discoveries. His dives included nine saturation missions, two of which are records—the first saturation dive from a submarine and the first saturation dive under the Arctic ice.

The foreword of the book is written by Sylvia A. Earle, PhD, Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. She said, “Bob Wicklund shares an insider’s view of historic events … from underwater encounters with Cuban President Fidel Castro to meetings with fish in icy Arctic waters and standoffs with drug smugglers, all share the single element that makes them at once entrancing and enduring—they are all true … some terrifying, some wise, some breakout-laughing hilarious, others painful sagas of loss, both of treasured friends and of treasured places in the sea.”

The book was produced by Mariner Publishing, Buena Vista. Andy Wolfe, the publisher, said, “Wicklund’s stories bring the three dimensions of the sea to the mind’s eye and take the reader through decades of diving development—from the primitive, early days of scuba and other diving gear to shallow-diving manned submersibles, undersea laboratories, and ROVs.”  Mariner’s editorial staff worked with Wicklund for a little over two years on the development of the book. Wolfe said, “We are very pleased with the partnership and the finished product. This really is a book that matters—we saw that from the beginning.”

Judy Rogers, Mariner’s science editor, worked with Wicklund and his wife Gerri Wenz on the editing of the manuscripts. She said, “Bob Wicklund’s ability to live and work under the sea has increased mankind’s knowledge of the elements and biodiversity of our underwater world. Reading Eyes in the Sea will give readers a better understanding of the oceans’ critical importance to our own well-being and future.”

The Wicklunds moved to Rockbridge County in 2003 and live on a horse farm off Forge Rd. In the oceanographic community Bob is known as a true undersea pioneer. His amazing career (over 50 years) included many “firsts.” As director and cofounder of the Hydro-Lab Undersea Research Program (1971–75), Bob’s team saturated 343 scientists and policymakers, enabling them to live and work on the bottom of the ocean. He spent seven years with the U.S. Senate working on legislation for diving science and ocean protection, including the building of the Aquarius undersea laboratory. He was cofounder and executive director of the Caribbean Marine Research Center in the Bahamas (1984–95), which conducted thousands of scientific dives every year. He also held the directorship of the National Undersea Research Program in the Caribbean, and later the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico Region.

Wicklund began his career at the Sandy Hook Marine Laboratory in 1961 as a researcher and the Northeast diving examiner for the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Department of the Interior. He is presently the director of Federal Programs for the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

In 1990, Bob Wicklund was presented with the NOGI Award for Diving Science. The NOGI is the oldest and most prestigious award in the diving industry, dating back to 1960. The roster of NOGI recipients has become a virtual “Who’s Who in the Ocean World.”

Visit to learn more about the book.

augusta free press
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