About Rivers and Oceans

We started in 1987 in Grand Canyon and today we offer more than 60 unique adventures worldwide from expedition cruises in Antarctica, to river rafting in Zambia. We’re a service-oriented team with decades of travel experience and a network of over 40 different outfitters around the world who are experts at creating exceptional experiences for adventurers.

We know that the decision to go on an adventure is the easy part; wading through websites and brochures can be overwhelming and time consuming. Think of us as a friend you can call who already knows the terrain. We’ve got the connections, we take the time to listen so we can offer an adventure that best fits you, and there is no fee for our service, ensuring the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.

We believe that outdoor adventures connect us to something greater and that’s why we’re here to make it easy for you to venture out.

Our Team

Our Core Values

Share our passion, our knowledge, our stories, our abundance. Create a healthy, playful, supportive environment in which to grow. Inspire ourselves and others to answer the call of adventure. Trailblaze, try something new, be bold, have the courage to make mistakes.  Express openly, honestly, considerately, simply. Go with purpose, do what needs to be done, keep it light. Lead, engage, empower.  Embrace this moment, challenges, opportunities, change. Respect ourselves, each other, our clients, our outfitters, our environment. Care, be a friend, encourage, make a difference.

Meet the Rivers and Oceans Team!

Michelle Pappas – Adventure Booking Specialist

Water has always been a way to connect with family and friends for Michelle. Her childhood in Arkansas was spent water skiing, swimming, canoeing, and boating with her family. Later, she met her husband, Sam, on a river rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. Her most memorable adventure was a month long stay in Belize learning how to scuba dive and snorkel, leaving her with a deep connection to the ocean and the friends she met along the way.

Why I love my work – I love helping make people’s travel dreams come true! I offer knowledgeable advice and direction, so that the client can get the most out of their adventure. I ensure they are paired with a trip and outfitter that best suits their unique requests and desires.

What travel has taught me – You must have patience and a sense of adventure to enjoy the ride of travel!

How I am a friend to the environment - I want to respect what nature has to offer and believe even the smallest efforts can make a huge difference – I recycle, pick up trash whenever I see it and always leave no trace when hiking or camping.

Jeremy Sjodin - Custom Adventure Booking Specialist

Growing up in Southern California, Jeremy spent summers camping along the beaches in San Diego County for weeks at a time and going on weekend trips to the Southwest with his family.

In 2015, he decided to take a break from his job as a Civil Engineer to attempt a thru-hike of the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Since then, he’s accumulated over 9,000 miles of hiking - walking from Mexico to Canada, from Georgia to Maine, through the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe, and across the entire state of Arizona (south to north).  Time spent sleeping under the stars and living out of a backpack has taught Jeremy to slow down and appreciate the little things. 

Why I love my work - I get to help people create and undergo a life-changing experience in nature.  I am lucky to be able to have a career centered around outdoor adventure with colleagues full of positivity and enthusiasm.  

What travel has taught me - The majority of perceived limitations are self-imposed. I’ve learned to shed expectations, focus on being present, and open myself up to whatever opportunities the adventure provides.

How I am a friend to the environment - I am conscientious of waste and try to minimize my impact on the environment.  I promote Leave No Trace Principles during wilderness ventures.  While hiking the Arizona Trail in 2017, my partner and I picked up, carried, and disposed of 98 lbs of trash along the trail. 

Clint Diveley - Adventure Booking Specialist

What is raised in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas! After graduating from college and working at a five-star Las Vegas Resort, Clint caught the travel bug and left Las Vegas for the Pacific Northwest (thanks to the help of his trusty 2001 VW Jetta) where his love for the outdoors and nature grew. His next adventure took him to the tiny colonial town of Poapayán in Colombia where he lived for a year teaching English at a local public high school. Since then, Clint’s travels have taken him from the glamour of Dubai to the beauty of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador and have taught him that although it is a small world, it is vital to explore, share, and care for it.

Why I love my work- I love helping our clients get out of their comfort zones and have exciting experiences in nature. It is rewarding to be part of a journey that started with a single click or phone call and ends with rafting down the Grand Canyon and camping under the stars.

What travel has taught me- Travel has taught me that we are all part of something greater than ourselves. To understand humanity is to understand the cultural context in which it operates in. Imagine how different the world would be if we all took a second to step in each other’s shoes once in a while.

How am I a friend to the environment? By being conscious of food and trash waste in my everyday life. I make an effort to rethink waste, reuse when possible, and encourage others to do the same.

Christina Summers - Adventure Booking Specialist

Christina has always felt connected to water. During her childhood she lived next to Lake Huron (one of the Great Lakes), then the Gulf of Mexico, and finally the northern California coast. While Christina moved regularly as a child a constant was visiting her aunt and uncle in Grand Canyon National Park for holidays. This felt so much like home that when she graduated from Florida State she moved to the Grand Canyon, getting a job in the park. Christina spent her free time exploring the canyon: hiking before or after work and her weekends taking longer journeys into the backcountry. Living in Grand Canyon National Park turned her into an avid backpacker dramatically altering her relationship with the Earth. She now finds reward helping protect it and sharing its magic.

Why I Love my Work: I am passionate about learning from the natural world. Every moment spent in nature can transform perspective and put a focus on the bigger picture: health, the Earth, and others. My job allows me to assist others in experiencing nature and the corresponding wonderful, enlightening moments! I love that people spending time in the wilderness leads to greater stewardship of our planet. 

What Travel has Taught me: There is an opportunity to learn from everyone you meet and any situation. Respect is a key ingredient to integrating in new environments. 

How am I a friend to the environment: I am a conscientious consumer researching products to weed out those that are not ethical or environmentally friendly. I support companies that produce sustainable products with recyclable or compostable packaging. If we all take these steps together we can create the change needed to have a healthier planet. I also am a firm believer and participant in the Leave No Trace standards. 

Debra Blackhat - Office Coordinator & Accounts Manager

Debra spent her first 9 years of life in Ponce, Puerto Rico, which forged a deep connection to the sea. Whenever she visits, she spends from sun up till sun down jet skiing, yacht cruising, snorkeling, collecting seashells, fishing, and swimming. When she moved to Oregon she got to experience river rafting on the Clackamas River and other outdoor programs in the natural forest environment, expanding her love of water adventure. The natural world has impacted her life and she believes we all gain a lot of respect and admiration for nature when we experience adventure firsthand.

Why I love my work – I get to be part of the process in making dreams come true by assisting people with their grand adventure. 

What travel has taught me - The earth and our different cultures are important. Experiencing different adventures keeps us all connected and aware of our surroundings. 

How I am a friend to the environment - I find recycling to be a vital part in my life and I practice it wherever I go.  I take my reusable water container and use my reusable bags for shopping. My husband and I try to carpool as often as possible, so we can reduce pollution as well as save a little extra money.  We only have one earth and I try to treat it with as much respect as I can.

Aaron Cavagnolo – COO

Over the past 25+ years Aaron has spent over 2000 nights on 150 different rivers, while floating more than 30,000 miles by raft, kayak and packraft. During this time, he has led rafting trips on many of the world's remote and prestigious rivers including the Grand Canyon, Cherry Creek, Middle Fork Salmon, Futaleufu, Illinois and Selway. 

While Aaron's dedication to running rivers is impressive, he's stayed in the adventure travel industry because of the reward he finds in facilitating outdoor experiences for others. On a river trip he gets to see the best side of people when they are removed from many of their day-to-day stresses. His favorite trips are charter and custom trips specialized around a group's needs.

Luckily, Aaron finds nearly the same joy working in the Rivers and Oceans office as he does guiding. His comprehensive knowledge of rafting trips worldwide and experience working for many different outfitters means that he can quickly figure out what people want in a trip and then make that trip happen. 

When Aaron isn't on a river or talking about rivers he is surfing and trying to keep up on family adventures with his daughter and wife.

Why I love my work – I'm always learning and finding new challenges while helping people connect to our natural world. At the same time I have the comradery of a fantastic group of coworkers. Robby encourages us to work towards a more sustainable, inclusive business that thinks about creating benefit for all our stakeholders including wildlife and the environment.

What travel has taught me – Humans across our planet have much in common. Relationships with friends and family are my most precious commodity. I cherish the opportunities and ability to be present in a moment.

How I am a friend to the environment – Trained as an engineer, I focus on being efficient by making things last and minimizing waste. I've done some lobbying in Washington D.C. for rivers and wilderness. Through that process I've learned our voices carry weight and now regularly write and call my Senators and representatives regarding river conservation and wilderness protection.

Robby Pitagora – Owner

Operating customized trips with some of the best crews in the industry for over 35 years has made Robby an expert on river adventures. Having rafted over 50 rivers from the Alsek in Alaska to the Zambezi in Zambia, his favorite river is close to home: Grand Canyon’s Colorado River. Robby believes that every trip can be an opportunity to inspire people and build a direct connection with nature.

Why I love my work – Coming in each day and seeing all my motivated, happy colleagues. They all take such joy in helping people find adventures. What I offer is a great attitude and decades of experience in the adventure travel industry.

What travel has taught me – Every step can be an adventure. Meeting new people, going to new places and learning about different cultures is rich and rewarding. The more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know. It is humbling, eye-opening and exciting all at the same time.

How I am a friend to the environment – When I shop, I consider the resources it took to make the product or service I am buying and who I am buying it from. Are they helping to create sustainable economic situations that help people and our natural environment? We vote everyday with our wallets and how we spend our money. We can make a huge difference for this planet if we make good decisions on how we spend our resources.


Just as a river shapes a canyon, the love of Tim and Pam Whitney has shaped Rivers & Oceans. Tim and Pam met in 1984 in Marble Canyon, Arizona as adventure travel was just beginning to take off. Pam was a manager for a Grand Canyon rafting company and Tim met her when he applied for a job as a boatman. Tim loved to tell the story of how he got the job…and the girl!

In the 80s’, the number of outfitters offering rafting trips in Grand Canyon was growing and information on booking river trips was hard to come by. Tim and Pam saw a need for a travel company that could help people in their search to find their best water adventure. They started Rivers & Oceans together in 1987 with the vision of booking adventure trips from the Colorado River to the Sea of Cortez.

World travelers themselves, Tim and Pam have explored rivers from Arizona to Papua New Guinea to Zimbabwe and have dove in all the oceans of the world from Borneo to Baja. Over the years they have seen the adventure travel industry grow and have transformed Rivers & Oceans into the single best source for information and reservations for river trips in the American West and select water adventure travel worldwide.

In 2012 Tim passed away leaving a lasting impression in the hearts of those who knew him. A few years later Pam retired leaving Robby Pitagora, a dear friend and fellow river guide, at the helm of Rivers & Oceans. Today, Rivers & Oceans continues to grow from the steady stream that started it 30 years ago, powered by the love of people, water, adventure, nature, and the love of Tim and Pam Whitney.

The Waterblog