5010 Fort Rd
Greenwood, FL 32443
Contact us at email@example.com or by calling or texting 850-272-7484
OUR DIVING HISTORY
We began diving in 2003 and quickly fell in love with the sport. It became apparent after that first breath off a regulator in the pool that this was going to be a passion. We bought all of our gear before we even headed to the Sea of Cortez for our checkout dives! After returning from our checkout dive weekend, we knew we couldn’t wait for another trip to Mexico to dive again. We started diving the lakes of Arizona and ended up logging over 100 dives our first year as divers. Our passion for diving had taken us over so much that we decided we wanted to help pass it along to others. In 2004 we became Divemasters, but it wasn’t quite enough for us, so the following year we began our Instructor Development Course.
We became Open Water Scuba Instructors through the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) in September 2005 with over 200 dives each. Since then we have been actively teaching throughout Arizona, Florida, Mexico, New Jersey, and Southern California. We both earned our PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer ratings less than a year after becoming independent instructors (a feat in itself) and taught several specialty courses.
We moved from Tucson, Arizona to where we currently live just outside of Marianna, Florida to be closer to our main passion in diving – cave diving. After a year of living in North Florida and just diving the caves, Rob began working toward earning his cave instructor ratings. While he had the desire earlier on, he didn’t feel he could do as good a job teaching divers how to cave dive if it wasn’t something he was able to do almost daily. And after moving to North Florida he came to the realization that there is a difference in diving the caves when you live among them and diving them when you only get to visit them a few times a year.
You may be able to find us diving in one of the many fresh water springs of the Florida panhandle several times a week. We also travel to all over the Florida panhandle and north Florida to dive.
Rob Neto taught almost every overhead and technical course available through several agencies before retiring in 2016 to enjoy diving and cave diving exploration on a full-time basis.
Rob has also written and published the first almost comprehensive guide to Sidemount Diving book. The second edition to this book was released in 2020. It is now available in 3 languages and current projects are underway to have it translated into more languages. You can purchase signed copies from directly at www.sidemountbook.com as well as through Amazon and Kindle.
We love to scuba dive, whether it’s a 3 hour long decompression cave dive or a 30 minute shallow lake dive. We have made scuba diving their life. In fact, the move to Florida was to be closer to our favorite type of diving: cave diving. We have dived in various locations across the US and the Caribbean. Locations include several Florida cave systems, the Florida Keys, Ft. Lauderdale, northern Florida Atlantic coast; the caves of the Riviera Maya, Mexico; the caves of France, Greece, Italy, Norway, and Portugal; Outerbanks, NC; NJ coast, Round Valley, NJ, Dutch Springs, PA; Clear Springs Scuba Park, TX; Valhalla Missile Silo, Abilene, TX; several Arizona lakes; Lake Mead, NV; San Diego shore diving and wrecks; San Carlos, MX; Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Roatan.
We just wanted to provide you with a little additional information about the process of becoming a cave diving and technical diving instructor. It can be an easy process or not so easy process. We chose to take the not so easy process of earning our cave diving and technical diving instructor ratings. Rob interned with almost a dozen cave and technical diving instructors and attended 5 different instructor institutes and IECs to earn his ratings. He devoted about 2 months over a three year period to attend the internships and institutes. He also did and does the dives. When he received his instructor cards, they were definitely earned. Rob continued to maintain the highest standards in his teaching until he retired. He does not subscribe to or respond to what some refer to as the good old boys club of North Florida. He dives and taught and surrounds himself with people he knows and trusts and that hold similar high values.
Many other cave diving and technical diving instructors go through similar processes, but some do not. There are instructors that have received their cave and technical diver cards and within a few weeks also received a cave diving and/or technical diving instructor rating. There are divers who have some experience, but received their instructor ratings simply because of who they know. And there are instructors that only visit North Florida when they have students. Make sure when you choose an instructor, you choose one that not only does the dives, but has also learned how to teach these courses and keep you, as a student, safe. You deserve that much.
We chose the name Chipola Divers after the Chipola River which runs from north to south starting in the northern part of Jackson County, down into Calhoun County, and finally into Gulf County where it empties into the Apalachicola River. The Chipola River is 89 miles long and contains at least 63 fresh water springs (all in Jackson and Calhoun counties) that provide its water supply, 17 of which are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd magnitude springs. The Chipola River is the largest of all riversheds in the Florida panhandle. With all of the springs feeding this river, one would think the water would be clear, however, because it runs through heavily wooded marsh areas and farmland, the water is very tannic except during periods of drought when the river level is very low.
The word Chipola is believed to come from the Choctaw language and means “sweet water”. The number of springs that feed into the river tends to support this claim.
The majority of caves we dive all drain into the Chipola River. These caves include Jackson Blue, Twin Caves, Hole in the Wall Cave, Shangri-La, Gator Hole, Hidey Hole, Bozell Spring, Maddachalk, Maunds, and many, many more. Because of this we felt the name Chipola Divers was an appropriate choice.
Below is a map showing the Chipola River’s path through Marianna, including the Merritt’s Mill Pond and Spring Creek run into the river.