Back in the year 2000, a writer/photographer team for National Geographic Adventure magazine came to our island in Belize for a feature story. You can imagine how excited we were about this. Jon Bowermaster and Barry Tessman were famous, they were widely published, and had also both traveled extensively all over the world.
The staff and guests on the island that week were also super excited and it became quite a frenzy trying to figure out really cool photo ideas for Barry to shoot. They got this killer idea to do ‘underwater kayaking’.
Underwater Kayak | The fun photo shoot experiment “kayaking” underwater
Of course, no one offers underwater kayaking – it’s impossible – no matter how hard you try, you can’t stay under. But this was sort-of an inside joke because we have so many different sports, Jon had the idea to claim in the article that this was just one more.
It was quite a production to get the shots. The person in the photo has a hidden scuba tank in the kayak, with the regulator in his or her mouth. There are a bunch of other people just out of sight of the camera, some scuba diving, some snorkeling, who would help drag the boat down, and then swim out of sight real quick so that Barry could snap the photo before the boat shot up to the surface. In the end it wasn’t mentioned in the article since we don’t have underwater kayaking at our island sport center in Belize. National Geographic did use one of the images on the contents page for that month since it was just too hard to pass up.
The article was published in February of 2001. That season was our 25th year in business and we highlighted Slickrock’s history in our color brochure that year. As a joke we used the photo above with the caption “Cully’s latest sport”. The problem was we kept getting calls from people wanting to sign up to go underwater kayaking! We never tried to make a joke in our published literature again.
The article was a huge success for us. You can see the full article, including the contents page of that issue on our website: http://www.slickrock.com/natgeo.htm#island_in_the_rough.