256 pages, 19 b/w photos, maps
Nature and travel writer Bill Belleville has inspired and informed countless readers through his books and magazine articles. River of Lakes, praised as "erudite" (Publishers Weekly), and "elegiac" (Florida Today), has spurred a resurgence of interest in Florida's St. Johns River. A similar sense of wonder abounds in Deep Cuba (Georgia), which reveals the island's diverse marine life. In these eighteen essays and articles Belleville takes us through Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America in quest of the distinctive, the wondrous, the threatened, and the undiscovered. His wanderings take him to the once prosperous, now submerged pirate city of Port Royal, Jamaica, and to an offshore Florida reef just in time for a night dive to witness the seldom-seen spawning of the coral. In the Dominican Republic, Belleville dives with archaeologists in search of pre-Columbian Taino artifacts, long lost in the dark depths of a sacred cenote. In Trinidad he joins the search with native fishermen for the rare golden hammerhead shark. Whether seeking the queen conch off the islands of the Turks and Caicos or the flashlight fish in Cuba's southern waters, Belleville's purpose is always more than adventure for its own sake. Hungering for the distinct sense of a place, his curiosity compels him to learn all he can about the wild secrets of the remotest landscapes, from inland jungles to teeming island waters. Belleville's language creates a dreamy double vision, blending archetype and precision so well that the reader is convinced he has not merely read about jeweled moray and pink dolphins, but floated alongside them in tropical waters.
"These tales are not hairy-chested, macho attempts to conquer snowcapped peaks, but adventures into sensuality and meaning."
– Susan Zakin, author of Coyotes and Town Dogs
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Bill Belleville, an award-winning environmental journalist and filmmaker, is also a veteran diver. His books include River of Lakes and Deep Cuba. His articles, which have appeared in such publications as Sierra Magazine, Oxford American, Islands, and Salon, have been anthologized in six other collections. Belleville lives in Sanford, Florida.