Snorkel Bob, Himself
About Snorkel Bob
Robert Wintner is Snorkel Bob, Hawaii’s largest reef outfitter. His five marine volumes show reef society and personalities, narrating conservation victories and politics. Wintner is dedicated to reef recovery and the global campaign to ban the aquarium trade; “It’s all one reef.”
Wintner’s twenty books include fiction and memoir, well reviewed, optioned for film rights and recognized for excellence.
Reef photography rounds out the opus with five volumes on reef culture and characters of Palau, Hawaii, the Great Reef, the Virgins, Fiji, Tahiti and Cuba. Wintner’s reef photography book REEF LIBRE, An In-Depth Look at Cuban Exceptionalism & the Last, Best Reefs in the World (Rowman & Littlefield: Feb, 2015) and REEF LIBRE, the Movie, capture this pivotal time, from the streets to the reefs. Dragon Walk (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018) and Dragon Walk, the Movie, link reef health and politics in Indonesia, the Philippines and Hawaii.
The Dark Hobby is a reef documentary on the three hubs of aquarium extraction: Indonesia, the Philippines and mostly Hawaii. Controversy continues with aquarium collectors still working Hawaii reefs in violation of a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling. Aquarium plunder and consequence is documented, as aquarium collectors blame reef decimation on global warming and pollution. The campaign continues with a technical ban on West Hawaii aquarium collecting but no enforcement. Reef stewardship in The Reef State is in the balance. The Dark Hobby presents the pros and cons from both sides of the argument, commercial vs. conservation, 75 minutes.
The sum of these parts comprises a reef conservationist with a gifted eye for composition, focus and insight. Wintner is heard across the Hawaiian Islands and around the world.
His short fiction has appeared in Hawaii Review (University of Hawaii) and Sports Illustrated. His historical novel, In a Sweet Magnolia Time was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a PEN/Faulkner Award. Los Angeles production companies optioned his sailing novel Whirlaway and motorcycle adventure The Modern Outlaws for film rights.
Wintner lives on Maui with Anita, Cookie and Larry. His writing draws on real time experience, combining decades on the high seas and below the surface with a literary style honed to efficiency. Wintner’s recent novels are A California Closing, Where market value looks moxie in the eye, and all parties sign off, and Reefdog, an adventure romance of Hawaii and Polynesia with fishy values. Robert Wintner is Executive Director of the Snorkel Bob Foundation and active in Hawaii’s conservation community, working diligently to protect Hawaii’s reefs.
Robert Wintner, The Author. Click here to preview books by Snorkel Bob, Himself
Robert Wintner is the nom de plume (et la guerre) of Snorkel Bob, Himself.
Advance snorkel gear reservations or a book ‘n a beach chair rental can earn you the book of choice from our favorite author. Or you can dive shallow for a paltry few shekels like Gramma used to do.
Better style and action in a literary oeuvre you will not find—and don’t forget the worldly diction, the tropical erudition, the panache, élan & wickedly twisted syntax. CAUTION: PG 23, some of these, with smut-like behaviors that may lead to redemption in the end but warp those impressionable young minds on the way. Not to worry, if you’re already formulated. A brief synopsis of each Robert Wintner title is listed below.
1) Brainstorm: A Memoir of Love, Devotion, and a Cerebral Aneurysm (Yucca Publishing, Feb, 2015)
Nine million Americans are touched by aneurysms during their lifetime. This is one story of love.
Brainstorm is the candid and powerful memoir of the author’s harrowing experience of an aneurysm and his road to recovery. It is a journey of love, devotion, and a clash of medical beliefs and countercultures. The fierce resolve of the author and his wife is extraordinary, inspiring, and matched only by the tremendous competence and care of the medical system—one to which the author initially stands in opposition, but that he later learns to admire and respect.
This book is for anyone who has experienced the fear and difficulties of a major illness. The themes, truths, and above all, the compassion that this book shares will be familiar not just to the nine million Americans affected by aneurysms, but to anyone whose family has been touched by a medical trauma. Filled with raw emotion, Brainstorm affords quiet but powerful support to those suffering similar circumstances and strives to tell them that they are not alone.
2) 1969 and Then Some: A Memoir of Romance, Motorcycles, and Lingering Flashbacks of a Golden Age (Yucca Publishing, Oct, 2014)
The year when everything needed to be experienced and tried, when innocence was tempted, played, and lost.
1969 was that pivotal year for the baby boomers. Young and innocent, they were given the ultimate freedoms and were faced with growing up.
This touching, hilarious memoir is the true story of a late sixties grand tour of Europe—a life-defining parable, for those who remember and for those who can’t. Never before and not since have a handful of seasons so exquisitely defined the difference between right and wrong. With the gift of youth they saw, sensed, and savored the laughably clear distinction between profit motive and greed, between truth and propaganda, between national interest and defense contractors, between a lovely cloud of smoke and the smoke of napalm, and between the phantoms of security and the dangers of complacency and atrophy.
Stoned to the gills and then some, these adventurers saw and felt and knew things that no generation before did. Some fully engaged in the counterculture while others merely observed, sticking a left foot in, pulling a left foot out, but not quite jumping to the full hokeypokey.
It was an incredible time of self-discovery, of love, and of finding out what you were made of.
3) Wintner’s Reserve (Snorkel Bob Books, 2007) is a case of fiction—12 stories fermented with the vintner’scraft to take the result beyond the sum of the parts. (2007, Snorkel Bob Books, a Book ‘n a Beach Chair Main Selection) Robust yet complex, these vintage domestics sparkle on the palate with innuendo and overtone. Fruity, nutty, buttery in part; the oak is constrained, the acid balanced with an easy follow and hardly a recoil in the pungent recollection.
The stories are:
•The Powers that Be are money, political influence, masculine dominance, adventure, good friends, big talk, the high life and sexual drive—and when that’s not enough, Viagra.
•Honor Among Men deconstructs the budo code in a local martial arts club, where factional politics interferes with spiritual discipline. Resolution comes in one fell swoop, once the principals have inured themselves to dishonor.
•Bigger than Mike Quinlan weaves high school wrestling and expository writing with a grid-iron hero, his beautiful girlfriend, a flirtatious teacher and the district finals, where life and meaning await.
•A Strong, Lasting Experience tracks investment ups and downs in the E.D. market and love.
•Athena & Buck recalls the life and passing of a native spirit and owl healer.
•A Fleabit Painted Monkey recalls the life and times of Jimmy Levin, drug addict and Mick Jagger impersonater, dead at 22 from overdose, and free at last.
•Reunion finds a man as indifferent to his 40th high school reunion as he was forty years ago—but morbidly curious too. The email exchange reveals ageless motivations.
•We’ll Always Have Chicago follows a turtle nest on a nude beach and a lone survivor.
•The Scenic Route is chosen by a man with a stifling life—with reefer, beer and fantasy.
•The Luck of the Draw is a modern tale of a writer’s revenge on the reviewer who fouled his career, who is a transsexual with needs and frustrations of her own and a painful shyness that leads to romance—and literary acclaim.
•Benny the Beekeeper buzzes with bees and baffling banter belying meaning, till Benny is betrothed to Blanche, who bludgeons holy bejesus out of Benny’s beatitude till…
•The Musical Fruit is a sad tale of unrequited love, fulfilled at last through beans.
4) In a Sweet Magnolia Time is available on amazon.com (The Permanent Press, 2006) This historical novel based on actual characters and settings was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. It follows the contrite evolution of a landed blueblood from cross-burning racist, to alcoholism and beyond to middle age, where he discovers love and rediscovers his home.
In a Sweet Magnolia Time (The Permanent Press, Jan, 2006) rings with authenticity—and not just with language. Wintner’s insights speak of intimate, ingrained, firsthand knowledge of Southern culture with its almost incomprehensible (certainly peculiar) racial dynamics and comedy of manners that overarch all behavior. And the humor—so often sharp, unexpected, hilarious at times, even—is so disarming. To realize only in the final pages that we have read this story from the perspective of an eighty-two-year-old man looking back on his journey makes his earlier shortcomings and searching even more poignant, more comprehensible, more understandable as a product of the human condition. —Gloria Randle, former professor of African American Literature at Michigan State University.
5) Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing (The Permanent Press, 2002) is a bit unusual, pushes the envelope, and engenders discussion. The material is definitely adult, but with a sense of innocence carrying through to unusual conclusions. The plot is good, the settings excellent, and the characterization and dialogue superb. We rated this a high 4 hearts. —Bob Spear, Publisher and Chief Reviewer, Heartland Reviews Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing is the story of two brothers: Antonio, a gregarious gigolo, and Baldo, a dysfunctional mute who loves nature. Both work at a resort hotel, as does Lyria, betrothed to Antonio yet drawn to silent Baldo. In the tangle is a murder on the beach and extrication, Mexican style. Exotic location, beautiful people, sex, and murder: another winning combination from The Permanent Press! But the writing is what makes this story blossom: it’s incredibly sensual and lyrical, lush and languid, like the tropics themselves. Altogether Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing is an easy, pleasing read for the mind and senses. –Sanford J. Greenburg Associates Scouting Report
A saucy tale of a distinctive pair of brothers at a seaside resort with wild and lively escapades. —Kirkus Reviews
The transitions in point of view are deft and impressive, and the characterizations are successful; Wintner (Homunculus) endows his hotel workers with telling perceptions. With Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing, Wintner succeeds in creating a roguish, self-absorbed protagonist who becomes increasingly likeable in the company of his peers and the context of his times. —Edward Keane, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, for The Library Journal
Toucan Whisper, Toucan Sing blends plenty of escapism with a dash of social consciousness. It’s a formula that has served Wintner well before in Homunculus, The Prophet Pasqual and other novels set in exotic vacation locales; here again he provides sex, lush description of beautiful places and a peek into the machinery that makes such places work. —Publisher’s Weekly.
6) The Prophet Pasqual (The Permanent Press, Sept, 1999) follows an aspiring guru in Hawaii’s other tourist industry. The characters presented here blossom mightily. In the tradition of Algren and Bukowski, on the mean streets with mordant humor, here is the other side of Paradise, far from postcard pretty, showing the heat, dust, racism and magic of Hawaii. —Martin Shepard, Publisher, The Permanent Press
7) The Modern Outlaws (I Universe, July, 2000) This motorcycle novel was optioned for film right in Los Angeles. Robert Wintner paints his imagery with a fine, fresh brush. His style and intelligence transcend genre, and The Modern Outlaws is not so much an excellent biker novel as an excellent novel that happens to be populated with bikers. When you’ve finished the book—which you will—you’ll probably consider it brilliant. I did. Very highly recommended. —Terry Roorda, Thunder Press
8) Homunculus (The Permanent Press, April, 2000) is a story of down-and-outers in the tradition of Charles Bukowski or Graham Greene, dealing with an expatriate American community in a small Mexican town. Polite society allows escape from cultural priorities in America—corruption and obscenity. They assume freedom but find themselves corrupted in different ways. Along the way is a great deal of dark humor, love and social observation of the ex-pats and the Mexicans whose town they live in. Wintner captures the life with a perfect ear and eye. —Martin Shepard, Publisher, The Permanent Press
9) Lonely Hearts, Changing Worlds (The Permanent Press, Jan, 2001) is a collection of love stories for modern times. Lonely souls seek communion in secret places. Crab bait may not sound like the stuff of love, but romance is where you find it. Whether sorting a bowl of chicken guts, visiting Death Row, bouncing off the turnbuckles or gazing out a window on the 9th floor for thirty years, these apparently loveless venues show that every heart longs for love. Here is a romp in the hay, a yodel in the dark or under the Kliegs. Success is measured in other eyes recognizing the unique character before them. —Publisher’s Weekly
10) Hagan’s Trial, (Edward R. Smallwood, 1996) Darkly comic, deeply ironic, these stories are a compelling chronical. Wintner’s eccentric (to say the least) characters and circumstances, in settings from South Carolina to Paris, Southern Indiana to Los Angeles, are arranged in three sections; “Animals,” “Love” and “Animal Love.” The collection opens with the metaphoric title story, in which Hagan, a weimaraner, goes on trial for murder after he plays a little too rough with a French poodle. The trial is accompanied by heavy media attention and ever present politicians searching for the spotlight. Although “Snapdragon” is ultimately about two cousins who enter a retired, half-blind racehorse in the annual cup, it starts with the two carefully watching marked down pork. “It’s a known fact that if you buy grocery store pork marked down twice for quick sale, unwrap it and circle it and leave it on the kitchen counter, it will move out of the circle in less than an hour.” In another story, “Cousins,” the county coroner describes a local murder and comes close to realizing that it probably involves his own family. Closing out the collection are two touching stories of devoted cat owners. Wintner has a masterful touch, drawing his readers into each life with wit, irony and traditional story telling of the sort you’d hear rocking on an old front porch. —Publishers Weekly
Hagan’s Trial presents a fine set of short stories revolving around varied lives in this fine collection of absorbing writing. —Midwest Book Review
11) The Ice King, a memoir (Edward R. Smallwood, Jan, 1999) Robert Wintner, in a narrative voice at once powerful and lyrical, passionate and graceful, creates The Ice King as a steadfast and comforting presence in the life of a man whose childhood was forever altered by his father’s death and his own subsequent loss of place. Torn from the forests and lakes of rural Indiana, he is thrust into the split-level reality of suburban St. Louis. The Ice King is magic, and so is this story. —Diane Donovan, The Book Watch
The Ice King reveals that sometimes it takes blood, sweat and tears to gain a sense of self. The story ends optimistically; the adolescent comes to accept and appreciate the spirit his father imbued in him. This poignant tale with a cutting edge shows how walking through one’s worst fears can lead to deeper self-understanding. By the time I finished reading The Ice King I felt moved by the gripping realism and inspired by the protagonist’s spirit of survival. —Peter Robinson, The Commuter Times of San Francisco
Wintner fleshes out The Ice King with humor, warmth and insight. We have one warning: Don’t read The Ice King in a hushed library—we tried, until waves of laughter rolled up and exploded… Wintner is hilarious, but underneath the hilarity, he serves the message. —The Indianapolis News
Wintner offers remarkably strong characters and developments…filled with broad stretches of gourmet reading. The narrator’s sharp, laconic wit, the fine portraits of the skewed-edged band of family and in-laws, the fluid slaloming from past to present, and the occasional nugget of contemplative hindsight that rings like a solid brass bell are some of the author’s considerable strengths. Wintner has an obvious and large talent for storytelling and characterization. —Rappaport Magazine
12) Whirlaway (Edward R. Smallwood, 1994) Vivid passages depicting harrowing open-sea crossings…dead-on cameos of tourists from the mainland. —Publishers Weekly
NOTE: PG 23, this one, so fasten your seatbelts & prepare to blush. NOT for impressionable children of any age. Whirlaway was a HOT PICK at the Maui County Library for many years. It is still under option for film rights in Los Angeles.