A little bit about us
5010 Fort Rd
Greenwood, FL 32443
Contact us at email@example.com or by calling or texting 850-272-7484
Our diving history
Our teaching philosophy
Where we have been
About our name
Our Fur Kids
Because we’re divers first, instructors second. Yes, we are instructors and mentors, but that comes second to our diving. We’ve seen too many instructors who get over involved in teaching and they end up never diving without students. That’s not us! We have made a pact with ourselves that we will never do more training dives in a month than our own dives. We have also promised ourselves to always do at least twice as much time in the water doing our own dives as we do training dives. This plan will insure we never get burned out on providing the best quality dive instruction we can. We also develop long term mentoring relationships with our students. Several of our students have become our dive buddies and have gone on to help us with our exploration and survey projects in Florida and Mexico.
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 were both able to earn our PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating less than a year after becoming independent instructors (a feat in itself) and teach 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 Morrison Springs, Vortex Spring, Panama City Beach, High Springs, Luraville, and other nearby areas on a regular basis to dive and train. We average over 150 dives each year. Most of our dives last over an hour.
Rob Neto teaches almost every overhead and technical course available through the agencies just named. See our course listings for more information on the courses.
Rob has also written and published the first almost comprehensive sidemount diving book. You can purchase signed copies from our online store as well as through Amazon and Kindle.
Our teaching philosophy
We are mentors first, instructors second. We don’t only teach diving, we are out there doing the dives. We are here to answer your questions and act as a resource for you. We may not know every answer, but we will direct you to someone who can help you. We want to help you grow your dive experience and knowledge. When choosing an instructor, make sure that instructor hasn’t just paid for an instructor rating and been given the rating. Make sure that instructor has current experience diving what he/she is teaching.
We believe that scuba diving training should be more than just learning what to do in case something goes wrong. While that is a very important part of the training and we make sure when you complete your training you are competent to do that, we also make sure you do all this mid-water, not on the bottom on your knees! This goes for every course we teach, from Open Water through our Technical and Cave courses. We teach you how to scuba dive, not just how to survive under water. You won’t always be diving in an area where you can go to your knees when an issue arises. You need to be able to deal with any issues mid-water. And that’s how we teach you.
You will not earn a certification card from us unless we believe you can safely conduct a dive without professional supervision. Our goal is to produce divers that are comfortable heading out to a dive site, planning and executing a dive, and enjoying themselves without a dive operation holding their hands the entire time. If that’s what you’re looking for, then contact us!
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; 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, Jamaica, and Roatan.
Let’s go diving!
Well, get out the scuba diving gear and dust it off. Check out some of these dive sites. There’s a calendar on the web site and we’ll be posting monthly local dive outings as the weather turns warmer. These are just relaxing days where we get to meet, talk, and do some diving. No time schedule, no stress. Meet us at any of the dive sites anytime! Feel free to e-mail us if you have any questions before you go on a trip. If you’d like some company or even a guide – ask. If we’re free we’ll meet you at the water. And please e-mail us afterward to tell us what you thought. We’d love to include your comments on the site.
We just wanted to provide you, our potential students, 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 have both chosen 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 continues to maintain the highest standards in his teaching. He does not subscribe to or respond to what some refer to as the good old boys club of North Florida. He dives and teaches 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. Whether you choose us or not, we want you to know what to look for. Make sure the instructor you choose 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.
About our name
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.
Chipola Divers, LLC
5010 Fort Rd
Greenwood, FL 32443
We have a full service dive center with almost 15,000 cubic feet of 30% Nitrox banked as well as banked Trimix and oxygen. We can also provide any custom scuba fill. Call for appointment.