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Wes C. Skiles 1957-2010
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July 24, 2012
godspeed buddy. The good do die young. Chris Lewis Panama City
February 16, 2012
I met Wes at Branson Dive shop back in the late 70's and early 80's. I enjoyed talking with him so much, and always looked for him when I traveled down from Georgia to dive the springs. His joy of the underwater world would spill over onto anyone that took the time to get to know him. I am sorry to learn of his untimely death, but are very blessed to have known him. Thank you Wes for all your contributions!
June 08, 2011
A man of greatadventure, thank you for your legacy.
February 10, 2011
Was glad to see "Samctum" movie dedicated to memory of Wes. He will be remembered for the dedicated explorer he was.
October 02, 2010
I just found out today from Peter Butt the tragic loss of Wes. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Terri, Nathan and Tessa. Wes is and will remain an icon for cave diving, underwater exploration and photography.
I am truly sad to hear of your loss.
October 01, 2010
I met Wes in Akumal almost 30 year ago, found him to be an immediate friend, and when I ran into him a few years later at DEMA was impressed that he remembered my name--what a guy. I am blessed to have crossed his path.
August 30, 2010
I spent a wonderful week on a live-aboard photographing spotted dolphins with Wes and his son, together with a dozen others including crew. It was a magical time on the white sands of the Bahamas and Wes made the experience so memorable, sharing his expertise, his humor and unforgettable personality. He lived and died doing what he loved. So long, Wes, see ya in the not too distant future.
divermom99, Stuart, Florida.
August 14, 2010
I first met Wes back in 2001 when i came over from the uk to dive ginnie springs, apart from my father there has never been a person that has had so much influence on me than Wes. Cheers mate enjoy that cave. gaz 2179
August 14, 2010
I first met Wes back in 2001 when i came over from the uk to dive ginnie springs, apart from my father there has never been a person that has had so much influence on me than Wes. Cheers mate enjoy that cave. gaz 2179
August 13, 2010
Mi querido Wes, quiero en nombre de todos los que en algun momento tuvimos el Honor de compartir algunos momentos de nuestras vidas contigo reiterar a ti y los tuyos, nuestra mayor admiracion y respeto que te ganastes en Puerto Rico.

Fuistes tu, el que comenzo esas grandes aventuras en nuestra isla , para todos los que nos apasionaba el buceo en cavernas y Cuevas.

No solo fuistes mi Instructor en esas materias, si no que fuistes un gran amigo, demostrastes ademas, que la distancia y el tiempo no afectas los sentimientos profundos de hermandad entre los hombres.

Puerto Rico esta de luto por tu partida, pero seguro que aun en el cielo continuaras siendo el espiritud libre y aventurero que en vida fuistes.

Descansa en paz, Wes. Siempre estaras en nuestros recuerdos!
August 13, 2010
There aren't words to describe the absolute shock I was in when I found out I was giving a emergncy response class in Puerto Rico and I was telling my students about this extraordinary diver... and as I type his name he news of his incident hit me like a train... I had to stop my training. Nathan... My condolences to you and your family and even if brief our encounter in Puerto Rico you must know your father is an inspiration to me and I promise his name will be immortalized. Last time I spoke with him was well over 4 months ago after I got back from Irak. It is with a heavy heart I say rest in peace Wes.
July 31, 2010
July 30, 2010
No one who sees the films of his underground river and cave explorations will ever forget Wes Skiles. Long ago, I was touted to Wes by our friends Bob and Bea Snyder and Bob Bisson as one of the most extraordinary Explorers of our time. He far exceeded their praise.
From the day I first met him at the Snyders and first viewed his work, I shared their admiration and wonder for him.
Over the years Wes and I had many conversations, generally involving work, who's doing what and where, and can we find something we could raise funding to work on together. Though he enjoyed working with public television and others who broadcast and distributed much of his work, he always looked for opportunities to reach the international audiences I had with A&E and The History channel. And though we kicked around many challenging ideas, we were never able to do anything together. Schedules interfered. Life happens.
And now he's gone.
It's a time-worn sigh to say we mourn our opportunities lost, admonishing ourselves for delaying, putting off, and not taking time to do what we really wish with our lives - and still we let time so easily slip by.
For Wes, I believe he's among the few who was able to achieve much of what he wanted in life- when and where he wanted. On his terms. I do believe that.
There is no question, Wes was extraordinary - gifted and fearless. One of God's good men. From the day I met him, and followed his work, it was good to know that someone like Wes was out there.
And though all too brief, I prefer to believe his life was well and fully lived.
God Bless you Wes. And your loved ones.
And bless all of us who had the good days to know you.

Monte, Klaire, and Jason Markham
July 29, 2010
Wes Kiles, my Parents Bea and Bob Snyder said to me along time ago we have this guy coming over tomorrow and he is the neatest guy we have ever met. I said yeah yeah heard that before. Mom said no this guy is my favorite coolest guy i have ever met and Bob has met some neat people in his long life of Oceanography. Well i went to their house that night and Wes made an impression that never left my head. He was the real deal. The man that believed in what he did that seemed to be fearless but so knowledgeable that he just had a way about him that you just never forgot and never will forget him. My parents loved this guy like a son and i feel for them and his family. He will be missed by all that knew him, and Heaven is in for a great time with Wes Kiles David Baxter from Jupiter Fl, now in Canyon Lake Texas
July 28, 2010
The 570 members of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Alabama mourn the passing of our friend and "Resident Explorer" Wes Skiles. Over 23 years, we were captivated by his nine presentations (a record) to our club. He was scheduled to bring us a tenth program in late October. Wes, my friend, we will miss you! May God grant him eternal peace, and comfort and bless Terri and the children in the days ahead.
July 28, 2010
I first worked with Wes in the mid 1980s when I was heading up a megawatershed deep groundwater exploration program in Florida for my company BCI Geonetics. I had worked with Cousteau’s team and been a cutting-edge mixed gas diver in the oil patch in the 1960s, but when I met Wes, I could not believe the level of sophistication that he brought to the extreme profession of submarine cave exploration, Wes ‘incredibly advanced diving methods, navigation skills and filming techniques were science fiction to me I asked Wes to go out in the field and document fracture-controlled stratiform cave formation and associated groundwater dynamics, including upward and downward first-order vertical flows cutting through aquicludes in Florida’s (at that time) poorly understood and vastly oversimplified aquifer systems , and he did that pioneering study with a vengeance. We later brought these films to Tallahassee to alert the lawmakers of the potential dangers of deep well injection of municipal waste.
Wes produced two movies for me and accompanied me to Cairo Egypt in 1990 to co-present a major lecture to a packed room full of over 500 of Africa’s water ministers, engineers and high-level politicians. Wes’ movie of deep groundwater flows in Karst systems similar to those found in much of Africa was projected onto a giant screen with Wes narrating it from in front of the screen. He kept the audience totally enthralled for over an hour and set the stage for the much “dryer” lecture that I presented on Megawatersheds of Africa with our esteemed colleague Dr. Farouk El-Baz. Needless to say, Wes was the star of the inevitable ensuing all-night (barroom) lively discussions with dozens of VIP water politicians, especially from the Nile basin riparian states paying rapt attention to Wes’ every word. After all, Wes was the first person they had ever met who not only knew how groundwater hydrology worked, but had actually BEEN THERE, SEEN IT, DOCUMENTED IT AND SPENT HIS LIFE TEACHING OTHERS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACADEMIC AND PHYSICAL REALITIES.
I really regret I could not get down to Ginnie Springs for tonight’s celebration of the life of this dear friend to me and myriad others, loving husband and dad and daring explorer. I assure you Wes and Terri, I will be thinking of you this evening, and always. We lived in the same world, and that will continue...
Happy trails, my friend.

Bob Bisson
July 28, 2010
My heart and prayers are with you and your family.We will always cherish the good times we had together. Wes will live in our memory. Rosemary Taylor Pomona Park, FL
July 27, 2010
We met Wes Skiles in the mid 90's in South Africa, and shared adventures filming white sharks in the waters off Capetown, way before "Air Jaws" and Dyer Island became famous. Wes was a dedicated cinematographer, pioneer and explorer, but also a man who kept life in perspective. There are many oversized egos in our business. You can feel drained of energy just being around them. Wes was that rarer soul, an energy-giver. Being around him, you felt connected to a life force that was sincerely warm, positive and exceptionally talented. His passing is a great loss to his family and friends, and very sadly to the world of underwater filmmaking. Wes, we will miss you, brother.
July 26, 2010
I believe the hardest death I've faced in my 80 years is that of Wes Skiles. He had visited me and Bob, my husband who suffers from Alzheimer's, last week and we had a very special time. In one of my deepest slumps, Terry called. and after saying what a great person her husand was and what a wonderful father he was, she said, "I'm just so glad I was along for the ride." What a truly wonderful woman she is, and while I'm not really well acquainted with Nathan and Tessa, I know he must have given them more in the few years he shared with them than most fathers give in a long lifetime. I'm so glad they have the mother they have. Everyone who knew Wes knew of his marvelous humor. On his first visit when Explorer Bob Bisson brought him to our house, I had tied a yellow rope from the street, all around our open 2 story home. The line ended at the bar with his favorite tequilla. He fixed himself a drink and sat down at our large redwood table. He talked all the way around the house while he followed the line, but never mentioned the line. There isn't a funnier joke than that. NOT ONE WORD!. He told Bob last week how much he (Bob) had meant and inspired to him. I hope Bob's foggy mind "heard" Wes. My love and sympathy go to his family. Wes will be in our hearts forever. Bea and Bob Snyder
July 26, 2010
Positive thoughts and memories will live on concerning Wes. Our family received a gift when he came into our lives in February 2005 though youth volleyball in HIgh Springs, Fl. where our daughters met. The legacy of living life as a fun adventure to the fullest will live on . We treasure memories of gatherings, the springs, and so many times taking our daughter to games, concerts, Jacksonville,restrurants, and swimming, playing beach volleyball, and camping at his beloved Ginnie Springs. The devoted father is how I will remember him. The Miller-House family Alachua, Fl.
July 25, 2010
A talented man is not so hard to find in this world. A talented, successful, warm, caring, funny, and gregarious man is a rare find. The world was a better place with Wes here. He will be sorely missed by many. Warm light and love to his family and closest friends in this time of great loss.
July 24, 2010
I just met Wes a little over a month ago at my Uncle Dexter's memorial service in Jacksonville. It only took the small amount of time I was able to speak with him for me to see his character, and at that time I had yet to even see any of his incredible work. What an amazing person! Before leaving the gathering he told me, "We're family now. Things like this bring you together that way." It meant so much to all of us that he was able to come, and those words stuck with me. Know that the Browns have you on their mind & close to their heart, grieving with you and praying for you during this time.
July 24, 2010
This accident is a real shock. My condolences to his family. I hope you find strength from each other during this difficult time.
My brother and Wes were surfing buddies in high school. I used to dive with Wes '74-'76. It was always a lot of fun - two or three of us would leave Jax for the karst on Friday afternoons with a few bucks for air, sleeping bags, a box of saltines and a jar of peanut butter, and spend the entire weekend diving. Wes had a way of making each dive interesting even if it was a place we'd already been to many times. I see a post here from one of Wes' cave diving instructors. In a way, you were my instructor too - we would go out on weekends after Wes had one of your classes and all of us would practice what you taught him. I lost contact with Wes when I enlisted in the Air Force in '76, but had reconnected with him via Facebook last fall. Wes is one of the few people who were fortunate enough to work doing what they loved, and to make a real difference to the world while doing it. Rest in peace, brother.
July 24, 2010
To the family of Wes Skiles,

What a guy!! I had the pleasure of knowing Wes, we went to school together from kindergarten to graduation. The world is a better place because of him.
My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
He loved doing what he did.
July 24, 2010
I first met Wes in the early 70s. Rory Dickens and I taught him cave diving. Little did we know back then the impact Wes would make on the diving community and to the public at large with the videos he made so expertly. I remember him telling us that he was going to make a living off of cave diving. Rory and I just kind of laughed it off as the innocence of a young kid who was smitten with cave diving. Boy did he ever prove us wrong! I'll never forget a dive he led us on in water hole which is part of the peacock system near Mayo. During that dive our roles were reversed. Wes was the teacher and Rory and I were the students so to speak. I am fortunate to have known and dove with Wes when he was first crafting his skills in the sport which became his life long adventure. Back in the days when I was actively cave diving people would ask me "why do you cave dive?". It was difficult to answer that question to nondivers. Later when Wes made one of his earliest films entitled Freshwater Caves I would show it to people who asked me that and they would get some idea of what a cave dive was like and why we did it. That's what Wes did for all of us. He became the teacher by making some of the most incredible diving videos ever produced. I am sure that he already has his camera and videos up there and is right now educating those eternal souls on the joys of cave diving. I can just picture him talking about the early days of cave diving with Rory and Sheck. His legacy will continue for a long time to come through the many videos he made with his friends at Karst Productions. My condolences to Terri and the girls and the rest of the family. I will miss you my friend.
July 23, 2010
He was great photographer, always had fascinating pictures full of colours and light, how did he do it? I am very full of sadness that he will never show anymore of his great work. My condolences and best wishes for his family and friends. Danuta Jaworska Poland/USA/UK
July 23, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with Terry and the rest of his family also. I am so sorry! God bless you all. John 3:16
Mark R. Teal
July 23, 2010
I have watched you and your family from afar over the great many years. I was always so proud of you and followed all of yours and Wes' accomplishments with so much pride. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am Lewis, and my brother Doug and Mother Marcia would tell me of seeing you and Wes and your growing family in Gainesville. And Wes just kept growing larger than life. What a captivating and endearing man. I felt the world was off on wednesday, and now I know why. Profound loss. I can be contacted at 561-368-4855 or email at, if I can be of any service to you and yours. Love to all, Lewis.
July 23, 2010
We loved having him speak to the Kiwanis Club in Birmingham. Richard Russell
July 23, 2010
Terry, Nathan and Tesa: We grieve your loss. We will miss "Ole Wes" He was often so funny and so animated and we loved his work for the environment and nature in general. His legacy will live on!! Old quote: "Nothing lives longer than a beautiful memory!" Hold that dear to your heart.
Condoleneces and best wishes;
Lisa & Dr. Art Hayes
July 23, 2010
July 23, 2010
Wes, I enjoyed all the years of OWU talking to you and watching your films and diving with you on the Aquacat. Here's one more shot of Cuervo for your next big adventure.
July 23, 2010
We met Wes at Our World Underwater dive show many years ago and have continued to enjoy his love for life and his wonderful pictures. George has been on several Aquacat trips with him as well, so has made many dives with him. We want to express our sincere sympathy to you for the loss of Wes. George Muszysnki and Marge Brockman
July 23, 2010
The world is a brighter and more beautiful place because Wes lived... he will be missed.
July 23, 2010
To the Skiles Family:

Even though I did not know Wes personally I have enjoyed his work on many videos. Blessings and most sincere condolences to the family,
July 23, 2010
Twenty four years ago I saw film Wes did on cave diving at Ginnie Springs. I was hooked and thanks to Wes, I went on to become not only a diver but achieved divemaster within two years. Living in central Illinois, that isn't the norm but because of the inspiration I got watching and hearing Wes, I did it and have had the pleasure of diving Ginnie several times since. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, may God give you peace and comfort knowing that Wes touched so many live's with his passion for diving, we have lost the best.
July 23, 2010
To Wes's family:

I cannot imagine the impact of your loss. It's been many years since I last spoke to Wes and the news of his passing is such that it feels like I just spoke with him yesterday.

He was one of the bravest, most talented explorers and photographers that I've ever met, a great gift to the world. His kindness and generosity when I first asked for his time many years ago will never be forgotten.

Please accept my condolences.

July 22, 2010
Wes and I met through Robert & Bea Snyder when Bob started the Jupiter Chapter of the Explorer's Club many years ago. I think Wes and I were Bob's very first members of the chapter. Wes certainly cast a long shadow in his quest to document our underwater world... Like many fine artists - his memory will live on in his unique many works... See you later Wes...
July 22, 2010
Terri and family,
My heart and prayers go out to you. Wes was wonderful to my parents (Joe and Rosemary) and gave me a glimpse of a world that I never knew existed. For that...I am forever grateful. Bless you all...
July 22, 2010
Terri I am so sorry for your loss. I have so many wonderful memories from the 80's when he was starting his wonderful exploration of our springs and caves. So many wonderful memories camping at the old homestead. My heart is with you and your beautiful children. We are here for you if there is anything you need.
July 22, 2010
Wes' amazing photography and his love for underwater caves have been an inspiration to me, the rest of the cave diving community, and so many others. The light of his life was a very bright candle shining from the darkest caves.

May the Lord bring comfort and peace to Wes' family and friends during this difficult time.
July 22, 2010
Terri, Nathan, and Tessa; My deepest sympathy in the loss of your most amazing husband and father. Wes was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to so many people. He leaves an impressive legacy of life's work at such a young age. May you be comforted by your many memories of him and by the love from the diving community that surrounds you.
July 22, 2010
Wes' work has inspired and amazed me for over 25 years. It helped open my eyes to the amazing underwater world of caves. My condolences to his friends and family.
July 22, 2010
Dearest Terry, Nathan, Tessa and family;
Our prayers are with you. We love you and send big hugs... Can't believe this is happening. Pete's close call and now this...Wes has been so special to our family for so many years and like a brother to Pete. You all have been Pete's family too. We'll talk soon. With all our love...Joanie and Roger Butt.
July 22, 2010
Thank you for the beauty you captured and shared with the world.
July 22, 2010
This is a sad day in the diving world...Wes is leaving behind a wonderful legacy with his beautiful photos. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
July 22, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
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