You Should Get Nitrox Certified in Maldives – Here’s Why
If you’re wondering whether to get Nitrox certified in Maldives on your next scuba diving trip, we’re here to tell you to go for it! The Maldives is a particularly good location to dive with Enriched Air for the first time and this blog will explain why.
The PADI Enriched Air specialty, often referred to as the Nitrox certification, is a non-diving course which prepares you to dive with enriched air. But what does that mean, exactly?
What is Enriched Air?
Well, it will take a bit of science to explain. When we fill a normal scuba cylinder, we are filling it with compressed air. This air, (the same as the air we breathe as we go about our day to day life) is made up of 21% oxygen, approximately 78% nitrogen and 1% ‘other stuff, namely carbon dioxide, neon and hydrogen.
However, when we fill a nitrox tank, we use a highly specialized membrane to remove a certain percentage of nitrogen from the air and replace it with oxygen. This is why it’s called Enriched Air – because it is ‘enriched’ with oxygen. This is where the name ‘Nitrox’ comes from too.
It’s possible to fill a tank with a range of different percentage blends, but at Fulidhoo Dive, when we dive Nitrox, we are diving with 32% oxygen.
Why would we want to breathe less nitrogen?
As you learnt during your PADI Open Water Diver course, nitrogen is no friend to the scuba diver. Indeed, it is the buildup of excess nitrogen in our bodies that has the potential to cause Decompression Sickness (DCS) if the gas bubbles were to be released too quickly. So when we dive with a lower percentage of nitrogen, we benefit from several factors coming into play.
What are these benefits and why are they maximized in the Maldives?
Here are 9 reasons we believe everyone should get nitrox certified in Maldives!
1) The Maldives diving regulations dictate a maximum depth of 30m – this is a perfect depth for Nitrox.
It’s a common misconception that Nitrox allows divers to dive deeper than they would be able to on normal air. This is not the case. What you’ll learn during your PADI Enriched Air Specialty, is that when we increase the amount of oxygen we are breathing, other risk factors do come into play – namely the risk of oxygen toxicity below a certain depth. This means that depending on the percentage of oxygen we are breathing, we must stay above a certain depth. When diving with 32% oxygen, a maximum depth of 30m works perfectly. You’ll learn more about this during your course.
2) You can spend longer at your maximum depth, and this means more time with the sharks
While we can’t dive deeper with Nitrox, we can spend longer at our maximum depth.
In modern diving, we use dive computers to determine how long we can safely stay at certain depths to reduce the risk of DCS. When we are diving with nitrox and our computers on a nitrox setting, our dive profiles change to allow us to stay at our deepest point for longer without a compulsory decompression stop. This is because we are building up less nitrogen in our system.
In the Maldives, and especially in Vaavu Atoll, we have a lot of great channel dives. During these dives, we do often spend as much time as we can at 30 metres.
Let’s take the famous dive site Miyaru Kandu as an example. Generally, if we have incoming current, we’ll plan the dive so that we drop down to 30m, where there is ledge along the edge of the channel where we can hook and simply enjoy watching the sharks swim past. If our divers have good air consumption, we will stay there until we are running low on no-stop time, and then slowly shallow up and drift into the channel. At Fulidhoo Dive, we separate Nitrox and Air divers, so if you’re diving air, you’ll notice that you will have to shallow up sooner than the nitrox divers. So in reality, nitrox divers are getting quite a bit longer with the sharks.
3) We don’t charge for Nitrox at Fulidhoo Dive
Although some dive centres will charge a supplement of 2 or 3USD per tank if you opt to dive with Enriched Air, at Fulidhoo Dive, we don’t charge a supplement for diving with Nitrox rather than normal air. Our belief is that we want our divers to dive with Nitrox so they can have the best dive possible. And after all – why would we charge for something which gives an added layer of safety?
4) You might feel less tired
This reason is slightly contested, but a lot of divers will report feeling less tired when they are diving with Nitrox, due to the increased oxygen levels that they are breathing. Some divers think this might be a placebo effect – whether it is or isn’t, if you feel more energetic, it’s not a bad thing!
5) You can study before your arrival
The PADI Enriched Air Digital Learning is excellent, user-friendly and totally comprehensive. And the best part is, it won’t take you very long to complete – maybe just one evening. It includes lots of information, videos and a knowledge review and the exam. If you complete it before your arrival, you can have a session with one of our instructors on the day you arrive, where you’ll learn how to analyse your tank to ensure the correct oxygen percentage, and then you can dive with nitrox from your first dive! If you want to do this, just drop us an email and we’ll get you signed up.
6) You’ll notice improved profiles especially on repetitive dives
So let’s take another example of a day of diving in Fulidhoo. In the morning we go out for two dives. We start with our deepest dive, which usually means a dive to 30 meters, for those certified to do so. We then do a one hour surface interval, where we travel from the first dive site to another. Our second dive might be shallower, but sometimes it is also to 30 metres. If this is the case, and you’re diving with normal air, your no-stop time will be significantly less than if you were diving with enriched air – sometimes almost half that of nitrox divers!
7) In remote locations, it’s always a good idea to take safety precautions
Scuba diving is a very safe sport, and diving with compressed air only is also very safe – especially when adhering to your computer’s recommendations and following your guide’s instructions. However, in the Maldives our islands are quite spread out, and you can find yourself diving in fairly remote locations. As a result, if you have the option to get nitrox certified in the Maldives, it’s always highly recommended.
8) Your Nitrox certification acts like a strong passport!
In order to join certain liveaboards or dive trips, it is sometimes compulsory to be nitrox certified. So there really is no point in delaying signing up for a specialty that will allow you access to fantastic diving!
9) It counts towards your PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating
Lastly, don’t forget that this specialty can count towards your MSD rating – the highest non-professional rating in recreational diving. To achieve this rating, you’ll need to be a Rescue Diver, have a minimum of 50 logged dives, and five PADI specialties. It’s a great goal to work towards and having your Enriched Air Diver specialty brings you one step closer.
So are you convinced? If you are, drop us an email at [email protected] and sign up for your PADI Enriched Air specialty and get nitrox certified in Maldives on your next diving trip!