Encore: 'Sunniland' Explores the Story of the First Oil Well in S. Florida During WWII
In 1942 and 1943, German U-boats sank more than one hundred tankers in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, impeding the flow of crude oil to the refineries in the northeastern United States. This was war time, so in response, the American government encouraged drilling for oil in South Florida, and it was discovered here first near Everglades City.
Around this same time, four German saboteurs landed by U-boat in Florida. These men were caught and subsequently executed. These largely forgotten historical facts form the foundation for the new novel "Sunniland" by first-time novelist Stephen O. Sears. Sunniland is the name of the oil field which was discovered. Sears is a recently retired faculty member from the LSU Craft and Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering. We sat down with him back in November, on a boat called The Lucky Duck that was docked in a marina in downtown Fort Myers.