They call him the swim-whisperer. A man able to take a fully-frightened toddler or adult, so fearful of learning to swim the sight of a half-full bathtub gives them shakes, and get them smiling wide and splashing big in just one lesson.
His name is Michael Wooley.
Another tidbit: To help build awareness and raise funds when the YMCA was still just a dream, Mr. Wooley swam from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard. A few times.
But the Nantucket Sound is not his only haunt. In fact, most winters find him swimming the world, checking in on the status of reefs and oceans around the globe. An artist, he makes sculptures, pictures and dioramas with objects found during his expeditions underwater. He also shoots a lot of video.
Let’s face it, he is Aqua Man come to life.
Currently, the Oak Bluffs Public Library is hosting for the month of December an art show featuring Mr. Wooley’s work. And this Thursday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 p.m. he will be giving a presentation at the library entitled Below Sea Level, Around the World Underwater.
The presentation is part ooh and aah, with magical undersea video and photography, and part educational journey as Mr. Wooley discusses the state of the world underwater and its inhabitants.
The event is free, but his artwork is for sale. A portion of the proceeds of any pieces sold during the month benefits the library.
For more information, call 508-693-9433.