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You think of scuba shops being near the ocean, but there are opportunities for underwater investigation around here, says British-born Rich Astley, who just open Chico’s newest dive shop, Scuba Hut at The Esplanade and East Avenue, not far from Hula’s Barbecue.

Chico’s also centrally located to inland diving in local rivers or Lake Tahoe or Whiskeytown, but the ocean really isn’t that far away, he notes.

Astley and his wife, Debbie Nowling created the business. She’s a graduate of Chico State University and the couple wanted a safe place to raise their children. They met and lived on the island of Utila in Honduras, where they linked with a resort and the diving industry as instructors. They’ve been back in Chico about a year.

Stocked at Scuba Hut is equipment for rent or purchase for diving, snorkeling and other water sports. There are also diving lessons as well as CPR lessons. Astley believes that safety education never hurts.

The company also helps with dive trips back to Utila or anywhere in the U.S. or world. With access to a Chico pool, they can provide lessons here and then link students up with dive shops at their holiday destination. Astley is hoping to create a dive club as well. Details about the business are on its website,

Astley got into diving during a school-days trip to Australia, then continued on in England, which likely doesn’t have the most desirable diving conditions.

2725 State Highway 32
Suite F
Chico, CA 95973


Tue, Thur, Fri
12pm to 5pm

Other days and times available by appointment

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