LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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First came the telephone call from Hawaii, crackling through the Pacific air, every other word garbled by sunspots or whatever it is that makes such a transmission crackle. It was the message that the office always gets on story assignments of this sort, just the thing to assure everyone in New York that all was going about as expected. First, something about "send more money," and then, "everything is just fine out here. Well...uhh, Joe broke his ankle today doing aikido on the beach." And "Jay fell into the bottomless pool with all his cameras around his neck." And "Oh, yes, Kay got caught in the rocks here and broke her shinbone or something like that, and we have her leg in a cast up to her knee. Is it all right if we photograph her from the knees up?"

Perfectly routine. This is the sort of mild peril that always seems to be involved in producing our annual January report on fun-in-the-sun travel and the latest swimsuitery. This time the search for a stimulating new location took us to Hawaii—a special sort of vanishing, hideaway Hawaii that not too many people know about. And broken ankles, plastered shinbones and submerged cameras notwithstanding, the team came back with the story, as you will see in the zestful package starting on page 30.

For Senior Editor Bob Ottum (now recovering from a cracked rib) presiding over such details was a new experience and somewhat intimidating, especially since our once-a-year swim-wear cover always outstrips all others in controversy, irate mail and I-thought-you-were-a-sport-magazine cancellations. Recently named SI travel editor, Ottum scouted several locations in Hawaii before picking the final spots and testing all the adventure possibilities. Well, all but one. He could not bring himself to dive off a jagged, 28-foot cliff into what is described as the bottomless Waioka pool on the island of Maui. "It was bad enough looking over the edge," he says. "Dive? I wouldn't even jump." The leap was left to our athletic model—and an authentic heroine—Ann Peterson, who won a bronze medal in platform diving at the 1968 Olympics.

Meanwhile swimmer and model Kay Hughes turned out not to have a broken leg, as feared, but severely torn ligaments. And while we did photograph her from the knees up, the picture selected of her was taken before her accident. Photographer Jay Maisel and his many cameras survived the bottomless pool, of course, and the ankle of Guide Joe Daniels is healing nicely, thank you. The happy result of this dour-sounding activity is a new look at winter travel, vacation and sport possibilities in a fascinating location. We hope it warms you in midwinter.

One last note of journalistic tribulation. Editor Ottum is recovering from a cracked rib, as mentioned earlier. But he did not maltreat himself in Hawaii, not deep-sea fishing, nor caving, nor surfing, nor jumping off rocks into pools. He was safely home from his assignment and playing touch football with his children, when...