Bob Friel

From shark wrangler  to stand-up comedian, cruise-ship lifeguard to television producer, author Bob Friel front-loaded his life with an adventurous mix of jobs.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Bob was nonetheless drawn to islands and the sea. He studied marine science at the U of Miami, but discovered he wasn’t suited to life in the lab. After graduating, he moved to Grand Cayman (the first of what is now eight islands that he’s lived on) where he taught underwater photography and scuba diving. Bob then traveled the world as a photojournalist, including time in hotspots such as Northern Ireland during the height of The Troubles, Sri Lanka during the Tamil insurgency, and in the Guatemala Highlands.

After tiring of teenagers pointing machine guns at him, Bob switched to safer pursuits, moving to the Republic of Maldives in the Indian Ocean where he made his living as a shark wrangler.

Over the last two decades, Bob has worked variously in television (from cameraman to producer for major US and foreign networks), travel and adventure photography , and for magazines, including five years as editor in chief of Caribbean Travel & Life. Bob has traveled to more than 50 countries to capture stories, photographs and footage for books, magazines and TV. He’s also a certified amphibious ultralight pilot, marine naturalist, and bartender, as well as a journeyman bodhran player.
In 2007, he moved to Orcas Island, Washington, with his wife, Sandi, and their Leonberger, Murphy. Eighteen months later, Colton Harris-Moore showed up on Orcas and began the adventurous crime spree that led to Bob’s book, The Barefoot Bandit.

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