Below the Boat: Under-the-Lake Maps

Store Profile

  • Location: Online
  • Specialty: Laser cut topography art
  • Price range: ($$) Mid-Range
  • Website:

Store History

  • Founded by: Robbie and Kara Johnson
  • Headquarters: Bellingham, WA

We're Robbie and Kara Johnson, the husband and wife duo behind Below the Boat, and we're running the show from our home over here in Bellingham, WA. We've both lived a short walk from the Pacific Ocean our entire lives. We see the majesty of a big pool of water and unabashedly geek out over the under-appreciated world hidden just below it's surface. A few months ago, we saw one of these charts in a local bookstore and were absolutely blown away. Naturally, Robbie wrote the manufacturer over in Northern Michigan to tell them how impressed he was with their craftsmanship (he has a thing for woodworking too). Turns out, they're also a husband and wife team, and they were looking to expand online. Next thing you know, we're putting the final polish on our store and flipping the switch! We didn't design the charts (that's done professionally in Michigan), and we don't make them (they're crafted in a small, family-owned shop overseas), but we're the humble shopkeepers who're pleased-as-punch to be able to bring these charts to you.

I love anything that reveals this world of ours in new ways, giving a hint at all the mysteries and magic going on all around us. Gorgeous handmade, lasercut, Baltic birch topographical maps of lakes combine that love with my affection for wood and prettiness..

Below The Boat has an impressive selection of maps, though I'm sure many of you will have other favorite lakes that you'd like to see done. I was thrilled to see my beloved San Francisco Bay and my sweet home Lake Michigan revealed in all their topographical glory. Below The Boat puts it best: "It lifts the surface of the water back like a veil, exposing the often-overlooked, under-explored, awe-inspiring world that lies below. To those familiar with the floor of the ocean or the bed of a lake, it's a beautiful reminder of the deep channels, sharp drop-offs, and mountainous landscapes that are hidden from normal view. To the uninitiated, it's wonderfully eye-opening; as though the world suddenly has taken on a fourth dimension."

Which leads to my question of the day: what kind of map would you most like to see beautifully made? Perhaps a map of ocean currents, or of weather patterns over the U.S.? A map of whale migration patterns? Types of soil, for you gardeners? I'm sure you'll come up with much better ideas than I possibly could.

(Image: Below The Boat via Design Taxi)