ACTUN CHAPAT ADVENTURE
Designer&Styling: Joris Hendrik
Model: Ruth Salazar
Location: Actun Chapaat Cave
Tour Guide& Owner: Kenneth Darth
Photographer: Frozen Instants Photography
I wanted to do a long blog post about this shoot because it wasn’t just a photo shoot. It was a whole days adventure! I had once done a photo shoot for my friend and her husband and she once said; ”You know, if you are ever interested in a great location for a photo shoot, my step-father owns some land with some cool caves, i could speak to him if you are interested” Of course i was! I asked more information about the cave and one day, after another fellow photog had been there and had come back with some amazing professional shots of the cave, she linked me to it and said ” This is the cave i was talking about, Actun Chapaat” I didn’t expect it to be so attractive.
So the next time, clothing designer Joris Hendrik and I spoke of his next clothing pieces (2 wedding dresses) i suggested the cave as a great location. He said, ”let’s do it there”. Truthfully i didn’t know what the Cave trip entailed. I contacted the owner and tour guide to have the photo shoot there. He was willing and offered to take us on what he said was not a tour, he promised it’d be an ‘adventure’. And what an adventure that was!
So on a Monday morning at 10am we set out to the cave. My husband drove a Toyota Hilux where my gear and dresses were safe, and the rest of the crew went in Kenneth’s Land Rover. I don’t want to exaggerate but it is a very very rough road. The ones riding in the landrover must have not felt much but it was a harsh on the Toyota Hilux, do not attempt to drive one there if you don’t know what you are doing. Or even if you know! To top it off, it was muddy. I was aiming to shoot at the ”Skylight” cave, which Kenneth said was the last of the trip; before you head back the same way. The first cave is really beautiful, it’s like a tunnel and not so claustrophobic and it’s just 5 minutes away from the parking area.
And so we were on to the adventure of our lives. We passed through this cave (which at times has water gushing through, right where the model is standing), then through jungle with slippery terrain. I wish i had some photos of that but i had my gear packed and my hands muddy, yes muddy! At times you prefer to crawl rather than walk (specially when not wearing hiking boots). The walk through the jungle to the next cave entrance is about 25 minutes, taking it easy. Then i saw the entrance of the cave and i thought ”Oh not bad”, when they announced ” Its the beginning”. We entered the cave, where you need to be prepared with headlamps, as you’ll need your hand at times when climbing up the rocks. I kicked off my slippery tennis and made it through the DARK cave in socks. Without light it’s pitch black until you arrive at the skylight where if you are lucky and the sun is out, you will get light filtering in. We began our journey into the cave. It is very wide so it isn’t all that claustrophobic. I hardly saw spiders or bugs or anything scary. I remember asking Kenneth, why he wouldn’t put lights along the way and steps for the places where you have to do some rock climbing and make it into a commercial cave, but he responded that his aim was to keep it as virgin as possible, just like when in the mayan days, just as they had it. A virgin cave and i think it’s a great idea, specially for visitors who are up for experiencing a true Mayan Culture experience.
When we arrived at the ”Skylight”, i was disappointed to see a very dull sky outside and some drizzling rain now and then. However, the photo shoot went well. I was aiming for something with a little bit of drama. I am planning another trip in the summer, when it won’t rain.
In conclusion, i recommend this adventure to anyone. You can contact Mr. Kenneth Darth for more information.
Now please enjoy the images:
A wedding dress made out of perfect material to be worn in our tropical country Belize! It has a ruffled bottom, open back and long train.
These were shot in what is called ”The Curtain Room”.
Entrance to the Curtain Room.