Priit Vesilind is a retired editor, writer, and head of the Expeditions and Adventure department at National Geographic magazine. He received a B.A. in English literature from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, and an M.A. in communications photography from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Vesilind was a communications officer in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and has worked extensively in underwater exploration for the magazine, most often with oceanographer Bob Ballard and many times while using his scuba skills. His 2005 book, Lost Gold of the Republic, documents the richest monetary and archaeological marine salvage in American history.
Vesilind also specialized in Eastern European affairs during the Cold War, writing and contributing photographs to an article about the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Baltic States, the Baltic Sea, and Kaliningrad. A native of Estonia, Vesilind was decorated with the Third Order of the White Cross by Estonian President Lennart Meri in 2001 for his contributions to Estonian independence. He has written and photographically illustrated three books about political and cultural affairs in Estonia, including The Singing Revolution, which tells the story of Estonian history and resistance to Soviet occupation.
Vesilind has written for Sports Illustrated and photographed for many travel and trade magazines. He continues to lecture about history and culture on National Geographic cruise ships. He has written 35 full-length stories for National Geographic, and has the photography credit for one.