Air contains 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen, and as every diver knows it’s the build-up of nitrogen from that air that usually limits our time under water. Today I did the second dive in my NITROX course, and breathed enriched air with 32% oxygen. The difference is really noticeable after you come up from the dive – you feel a lot less tired, refreshed almost. What a difference a few percentages of oxygen can do!
As a Divemaster you make several dives every day, and it’s good to know how to dive with NITROX since the nitrogen build-up is so much lower than with regular air. Coincidentally, Quo Vadis also just installed a new NITROX blending apparatus today, so I will definitely be testing out new air blends in the future.
After a few days incapacitated in bed with the flu (fever and headaches, and some feverish dreams about different NITROX mixes, had been studying it just before the fever hit) I was finally back in the water yesterday. Didn’t see too since it much since it has been raining the last few days and the viz wasn’t too good, but it felt good to be back in the water.
Today Johannes from Germany also started the Divemaster course, and together we assisted our instructor Albert with two Open Water students on their first and second open water dive.
I don’t know if it was the nitrogen narcosis or the sudden absence of fish eating corals that created a feeling of tranquility as I descended below 30 meters into the Cathedral at Pescador Island. Or maybe it’s because in many ways, diving is very much a sort of meditation. Communication is limited to simple hand signs and you focus on your breathing as you float through a world completely different from the one above the surface.
This was my deepest dive so far, and we also saw some interesting marine life coming back up to about 20 meters. One very rare creature, an Electric Flame Scallop that emits electrical impulses to ward off predators. The underwater world truly is amazing.
This dive concluded the Advanced Open Water Course, and I have gotten started on the Rescue Diver course.