We've just returned from a week-long shoot near Akumal, Mexico, part of the Yucatan Peninsula. South of Playa del Carmen, this area is home to vast landscapes of incredibly beautiful cenotes.
A cenote is a deep well or sinkhole, formed by the collapse of the surface limestone, often exposing water filled caves. It is a beacon for cave divers and explorers from around the world, and at the center of it all is Under the Jungle, a unique cave diving operation, owned and operated by Natalie Gibb and Vincent Rouquette-Cathala.
Unlike a lot of dive operations, Under the Jungle aren't looking for a mass of tourists eager to strap on a tank and go for a guided dives. In fact, their very location makes it unreachable for most. Instead, they're much more focussed on providing top tier service for experienced, passionate, and responsible cave, cavern, and technical divers.
Our relationship with Under the Jungle began just over a week ago when we touched down in Mexico to begin a week-long shoot for an upcoming Shearwater Research project. Natalie and her husband Rory, were our guides, hosts, and models for the week. We quickly learned about the area, the cenotes, and the way they do business. To say we had a lot of fun, adventurous, and great experiences would be an understatement!
Such focus on quality rather than quantity is rare within diving, but these guys truly mean it. They want to promote safe diving, cenote conservation, and responsible diving practices. They have a respect for the land, the locals, and the future of the area. It shines through in their business and is an reassuring attitude to be exposed to.
Natalie Gibb is herself, fast becoming a well known figure in the diving world. Her years of work exploring Mexico's cenotes is substantial, and her attitude towards sharing it is infectious. Her recent speaking tour in the US and Canada was hugely successful, and her video work increasingly impressive.
We had a fantastic time exploring and shooting inside the cenotes with Natalie and Rory. We can't yet share the results with anyone as it's an ongoing project. But rest assured, we got some awesome video! We'll also be putting together an interview video with Natalie, so keep an eye out.
For now though, give serious consideration to joining the Under the Jungle team in Mexico, they have an excellent training program, great accommodations with their onsite Limestone Lodge, and unparalleled knowledge of the area. We can't wait to return!