Nitrox Tank

Although not all of our guests are divers, the vast majority of people who visit us at Siladen Resort & Spa are serious divers who want to experience the high levels of marine biodiversity and amazing photographic opportunities that the deep walls found throughout Bunaken Marine Park and the sandy slopes of North Sulawesi has to offer.

Many of the divers who visit are keen to get in the water at any opportunity, often completing three, or even four dives a day. When new guests arrive at the resort, we ask all the divers to fill in a form regarding their diving experience, equipment needs, and preferences. One of the questions on the forms ask if the diver would like to use Nitrox or air – a question that would regularly be forwarded to us for our recommendation.

What is Nitrox?

Also known as Enriched Air, Nitrox is a gas blend that contains higher levels of oxygen than regular air. This could be anyway from 22% to 99%, however for recreational diving, nitrox blends are generally from 28% to 40%, with the most common being 32%.

Why do I need Nitrox?

Our dive time is limited by one of two things.

Firstly, our air consumption. The slower we breathe, the longer the gas in our cylinder will last, so the longer our dive will be. There are many reasons why you may breathe faster or slower, and it is very difficult to change your breathing patterns. For guests who always have to call their dives early because of their air consumption, don’t worry, we have larger cylinders available free of charge so you can stay down as long as your buddies.

Secondly, and more importantly, we are limited by the amount of nitrogen our bodies absorb while we are underwater. We can only absorb so much, and going over that limit means we risk decompression sickness. By using Nitrox, we reduce the amount of nitrogen our body is exposed to, and therefore we can dive for longer.

While you may not notice any difference if completing only one or two dives, if you plan on making many dives over a long period of time using air, you will soon find that the amount of nitrogen your body is absorbing is seriously restricting how long you are allowed to spend at depth, so for that reason, we always recommend nitrox to anyone who plans on making three dives or more a day.

As we age, our bodies tend to store more fat than they used to. Unfortunately, nitrogen also binds to fat far more easily than it does to muscle or bone, so the older and less in shape you are, the more likely you are to get decompression sickness. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a serious think when selecting whether to use air or nitrox for your dives. Anyone who has previously had decompression sickness is far more likely to develop it again, so for anyone who has had DCS before, we highly recommend you use it for every dive, even shallow ones.

Is Nitrox Suitable for Every Dive? 

The down side of having added oxygen in your gas mix is that you are restricted on depth. Even though oxygen is essential for us to live, if breathed at too high pressure, it becomes toxic and can can cause serious underwater issues such as blacking out and convulsions.

Because of this, you need to pay extra special attention to your depth when using nitrox. If you prefer to dive a little deeper, our compressor operators can make lower oxygen mixes (such as 28%, that allows you to a maximum depth of 40 metres). Should you wish for a special mix, we need to know the night before, as the cylinder must be completely drained and filled separately to the rest. 

How can I Dive with Nitrox? 

Due to the added complications of diving with Nitrox, you must be certified to do so. If you think you would like to dive with nitrox and are not yet certified, we can arrange a course for you at any time.

Luckily, the program is short, and can be done in as little as one afternoon. During the course, you will learn about the hazards of using nitrox, the benefits, and most importantly, how to accurately analyse your gas so you know how deep you will be diving and how to set your dive computer.

If you would like to enrol in an enriched air nitrox program, just let anyone from the dive centre office know and we can discuss your options. If you would prefer, you can complete the theory section of the course at home via PADI e-learning, which means upon arrival, all you need to do is learn how to analyse your gas mix.