When heading out on our introductory dives with the Blackbird Caye Resort crew, I kept walking past tanks with yellow and green Nitrox stickers emblazoned all over them. My only thought: isn’t that what Vin Diesel uses in his Fast & Furious cars?
No, it’s not. And I looked like an idiot when I asked that very question. Nitrox is used by divers who want to extend their No Decompression Limit times when diving at extended depths by limiting the amount of Nitrogen absorbed by the body. If all this sounds Greek to you, don’t worry. It didn’t make much sense to me until I took my Nitrox diving course with PADI Instructor Dom Evans.
Ordinary air tanks are filled with 21% oxygen, while Nitrox tanks are filled with up to 40% oxygen (we dove with tanks at 32%). This allowed us to dive deeper and longer without having to go through extended and tiresome decompression stops near the surface.
Putting this into practical perspective, it meant that we were able to swim with spotted eagle rays, reef sharks, giant moray eels and turtles for longer periods than we would have had we been exclusively breathing air. So if you have an opportunity to take a Nitrox diving course, you should take it. Photo Finish: photo credit to my friend and legendary underwater videographer, Alex Ruiz. www.lupitaproductions.