Diving with NITROX

Diving with NITROX Enriched Air - Dive deeper, longer

Diving with NITROX

Every certified diver knows there are limits to the time you can spend underwater. Air supply is the most obvious one. There is also a second limit you have to take into consideration when planning your dives – Nitrogen absorption.

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It’s very important for all divers to understand the deeper you go, the faster your body absorbs nitrogen. As student divers learn during the PADI Open Water diver course this is due to the increased density of gas at depth. This is also why we plan our dives using dive tables, and more specifically in 2015 dive computers.

After a certain amount of time (depth dependent), the body will absorb too much nitrogen, and a direct ascent to the surface will no longer be an option.

As recreational divers we always dive within ‘no decompression’ limits. What this means is, at any time during the dive, we can directly ascend to the surface. There is no need make staged decompression stops on our way up.

We must take this into consideration and ensure we don’t exceed our limits – if we do exceed the NDL’s we put ourselves at risk of DCS.

Enrich Your Life

As an Open Water diver; this was an annoying phenomenon for me. I had (and still do) good air consumption. I would surface after Deep dives with enough air to dive at least another 20 minutes. Noticing this and having heard me commenting on the subject with my dive buddy, my Instructor who had recently certified me as a PADI Advanced Open Water introduced me to “Enriched Air Nitrox“.

Sounds pretty badass, eh?

People often misunderstand the concept of Nitrox when introduced to it for the first time. A general misconception is “Oh, so I have more air in my tank so my dives will be longer!”

The amount of air in your tank doesn’t change. What changes are the percentages of nitrogen and oxygen in that “air”. It is this that makes it a “Enriched Air” mix.

People often misunderstand the concept of Nitrox when introduced to it for the first time. A general misconception is “Oh, so I have more air in my tank so my dives will be longer!”

The amount of air in your tank doesn’t change. What changes are the percentages of nitrogen and oxygen in that “air”. It is this that makes it a “Enriched Air” mix.

crystaldive.com-koh-tao-diving-with-nitrox-tanksNormal Air – Oxygen (21%) / Nitrogen (79%)

Nitrox 32 – Oxygen (32%) / Nitrogen (68%)

Nitrox 36 – Oxygen (36%) / Nitrogen (64%)

Increase Your Bottom Time

So what is the primary benefit of using Enriched air during your dives? As you can see on the chart, during your dives you’ll be exposed to less Nitrogen. This results in longer NDL’s compared to dives planned and conducted on normal Air.

When I finished teaching a PADI Open Water Course last week, one of my students, Dominic wished to continue his scuba diving education and signed up for the PADI Advanced Open Water course. Dominic had amazingly good air consumption on the Open water training dives. Highlighting this, and having made me aware he was interested in completed more PADI courses I talked him through the benefits of using Nitrox.

Understanding the benefits, he opted to add the PADI Enriched Air Specialty course to the PADI Advanced Open water diver course he had already signed up for. Selecting a ‘combo deal‘, Dominic supersized the PADI Advanced Open Water course with the PADI Nitrox course, earning two PADI certifications and making some savings along the way.

Dominic then convinced his girlfriend, Maike, to sign up for the Advanced / Nitrox combo too. Dominic and Maike had clearly been bitten by the diving bug. They admitted to me they where addicted and wanted to learn as much as possible during their stay on Koh Tao.

At One (or three) With Nature!

Amazing! No other divers, just us. At this point we were able to see the wreck in all its glory. All resident marine life came out to play. We were on our own, just the three of us, surrounded by nature. It was really enjoyable roaming around the wreck with just my students, and no other divers on site.

The visibility during this dive was probably the best I’ve seen on this wreck. During our safety stop we could still see the whole ship. From the front cannon all the way to the back cannon. That is when the camera’s came out to take some shots from this extraordinary sight.

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Having already completed the Underwater NavigationPeak Performance Buoyancy & Night Adventure dives the previous day we returned to land, and I certified Dominic and Maike as PADI Advanced Open water divers AND PADI Enriched Air divers.

Author: Michiel Collin (PADI MSDT #338035)

Crystal Dive Koh Tao

7/1 Moo 2
Tambon Ko Tao
Koh Tao
Surat Thani
84360
Thailand

Phone+66(0)77456106
E-mail: [email protected]

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