Cave Country Dive Shop is a labor of love amongst friends with an unquenchable thirst for all things diving. We want to share our passion with you, whether you are just beginning, or you are a seasoned technical diver.
If you too have a passion (or think you might have an interest in developing said passion) for all things diving, join us in our state of the art showroom, with our large comfortable air conditioned lounge area were you'll find plenty of space on our plush couch to share a tale or two while we fill your tanks.
Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to assist you with anything you may need. Whether you're new to diving in general, need further training, new dive equipment, service for your current gear, tanks filled, or just want to chew the fat about the best diving in the area, Cave Country is the place to go!
Hope to see you soon!
Our staff is great! Each member of our staff is a trained cave diver (most of us are also rebreather divers.) New to diving? No worries! Our staff is friendly, and excited to get you started learning to dive. At Cave Country all our customers are important whether you are completely new to diving, or a 'well traveled' tec or cave diver.
Meet our staff:
Store Manager: Kristi Bernot
Kristi is a highly trained diver and scuba instructor holding many certifications for technical and cave diving as well as being a certified closed circuit rebreather diver. She has a passion for education and is always interested in learning something new. She firmly believes that even the most experienced can still find benefit in learning something new or perfecting something learned.
Both an underwater adventurer and a talented artist she uses her skills and sharp eye to capture the beauty and emotions behind what it’s like to explore sites underground and underwater that few people ever see. (some of her shots are in our photo section). She believes it’s important to share the images of these places and the life they attract in order to educate the general public of the importance of these places while preserving a piece of living history through her lens. Her photo work and her words have been featured in numerous national and local publications.
She greets all of our customers with a friendly smile and positive attitude. To get in touch with Kristi shoot an email to : email@example.com.
Staff Member: Greg Brown
Staff Member: Jerry Murphy
Owner: Jon Bernot
Jonathan 'Jon' Bernot is our primary instructor here at Cave Country. He is both an active instructor and explorer. He owns, dives, and trains divers on a number of rebreathers while also being well versed in both backmount and sidemount. More than just a cave and rebreather instructor though, Jon is often found out diving for fun on his own or with buddies. In 2016, Jon Bernot and his main exploration partner and fellow Karst Underwater Research diver Charlie Roberson broke a world record for distance from air in the Falmouth System starting from Cathedral Sink. The current end of line is just shy of 27,000 feet. This project is ongoing and can be followed on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CathedralExplorationTeam/
In 2015, Jon and Kenny Summers broke into a new section of what was previously thought to be a walled out cave. Ginnie Springs is one of the most well traveled caves in Florida, however, Jon proceeded to add over 6,000 feet to this new section. While this exploration is not done, it has taken a back seat to larger projects like Falmouth and Lineater. You can see some video of the Ginnie exploration below:
Owner: Gene Page
Sixth generation Floridian Gene Page grew up mostly in the Tampa Bay area with one grandfather being the publisher of the local (Bradenton) newspaper and the other an artist and maritime historian (on Anna Maria Island).
It was this unique background that got Gene started on his life-long interests in water, (particularly being under it), history, travel and photography.
Gene started learning about photography in the dark room at the Bradenton Herald while being exposed to numerous houseboat trips and Jacques Cousteau shows on television at his maternal grandparent's house on Anna Maria Island.
This led Gene to being allowed to use scuba at age 11, (after reading a book about scuba diving and answering enough questions correctly), while on a family camping trip on the Weeki Wachee River. Gene had his first photo published in a newspaper a year later.
Gene's parents divorced, and after his mother remarried, the family traveled overseas living in Germany, Italy and Taiwan, in addition to California prior to going to Taiwan. After all of this, Gene decided to join the air force between high school and college and was stationed in Turkey and Germany.
Coming back to the states after the service, Gene was anxious to start college and he could now attend with his brother, who is four years younger. So, while working part-time at The Bradenton Herald and The St. Petersburg Times as a freelance/intern photographer, Gene went to St. Petersburg Junior College for two years and then transferred to the University of Florida to get an undergraduate degree in photojournalism. While at UF, Gene also interned at the Palm Beach bureau of The Miami Herald and he got to start his underwater photography with such assignments as the Spanish wreck off the public beach in Jupiter as well as the submarine races off Singer Island. Gene also fortunately met his future wife Kim in a fine arts photo class at UF.
After three years at UF and working at the student paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, Gene went to New York for graduate school at Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus. While there Gene did some work for the newspaper Newsday. After graduating from LIU and now married, Gene and Kim moved upstate to Cortland, New York to work with The Syracuse Newspapers in and around Syracuse. They lived there for three years and it was during this time that Gene decided he wanted to shoot publicity still photographs on film and television productions. (Gene also had a long time interest in film making and used an old 8mm movie camera starting in 4th grade to make student films with family and friends. Years later Gene would visit various film sets as a photojournalist in addition to visiting film and television studios while living in California while in high school.)
After taking the first motion picture still photography course offered at the Maine Photographic Workshops, Gene started working on low budget independent films on his days off from the newspaper, driving back and forth from Cortland to the New York City metro area. After two years of this, and moving to Manhattan, Gene finally got into the union, which opened the door for more production work and on bigger budget films.
Gene and Kim had their first child, Gene V, and they decided to move back to their native Florida and selected historic Micanopy. Gene continued with his movie and television work while also teaching as an adjunct at UF.
Having always been interested in diving but never having gone through the classes to get certified, Gene started taking various courses to become a better wreck diver and then of course fell in love with cave diving.
Gene, Kim, Gene V and daughter Carter live in the woods of Micanopy enjoying family life and travel as Gene goes on assignment for various productions.
Owner: Tom McMillan
Captain Tom McMillan started diving in 1966 straight out of High School. After becoming a PADI Divemaster logging 1000 dives in 1994, he became a certified Cave Diver in 2000. With the help of Jim Wyatt he became an IANTD Instructor in 2007. Tom teaches open water through intro to cave, including nitrox and advanced nitrox and is the shop’s “Compressor Monkey,” doing the necessary maintenance on the three compressors. Captain Tom is a resident of Charleston, South Carolina and operates a charter carrying divers for fossil hunting on the Cooper River.