The small town of Stevens Point may seem an unlikely place for a dive shop to call home however, Bob and Carrie Butt, owners of Divepoint Scuba think otherwise.
“You know we’ve got a lot of lakes, a lot of places to dive in Wisconsin, actually more lakes than Minnesota, Minnesota’s the land of 10,000 lakes and actually Wisconsin has more,” Butt said.
Despite limited visibility, Wisconsin’s freshwater lakes are home to many unexpected surprises like freshwater sponges and jellyfish.
“The first time I ever saw a sturgeon in a river in Wisconsin, I thought it was a tree and then as it swam past me I realized it had a big tail” Butt said. “I couldn’t see clearly from head to tail, I could only see part of it at a time.”
The shop originated in 1981 when Bob’s older brother, Pete Butt started Central Wisconsin’s very first Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) dive center located within Hunters Corner Sporting Goods in downtown Stevens Point.
When Hunters Corner closed its doors in 1984, Bob Butt opened a Divepoint Scuba in Plover. The shop has relocated several times. The current owners, Bob and Carrie Butt took over the business from Pete Butt.
From there, Divepoint Scuba has evolved, supplying outdoor adventurers with scuba, snorkeling, kayaking, swimwear, backpacking, camping and rock climbing equipment. It has even expanded, with a new location in the Wausau area.
Customers of Divepoint range from recreational scuba divers, commercial divers, researchers and even fishermen.
Bob said he recently certified a graduate student doing a research project on clams in the state of Wisconsin. In the past, they have even certified students going into shark research.
Commercial divers perform jobs that require diving equipiment. These types of jobs include examining and repairing bridges and dams to ensure their safe construction and maintenance from beneath the surface of the water.
Bob and Carrie Butt also get many requests to recover cars, snowmobiles and rings.
In the colder months, Divepoint makes regular group outings to some of the best diving destinations in the Midwestern United States and around the world. In November, they’re taking a group out to Bonaire.
“I’m missing it, I’m craving it. I want to go diving. I want to be under the water with the sun shining and looking at the fish and hear nothing but my breathing,” Butt said.
“I find that at the end of the day, if it’s been a busy stressful day, I would just love to be in the Caribbean and just put my gear on and go dive and get away from everything.”
Olivia De Valk