Word and Image

Electric Ray

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It’s a decent image. But the point here is that the image represents a story. After time spent in the old city I detour to the Red Sea again. I dove at Christmas. And though I am an accomplished amateur diver there is much to learn. I was given the opportunity to dive with a nitrox mix in my tank. This was a 38% mix of oxygen. It allows you to stay down at depth for longer than with room air 21%. I have two dive computers. The second one was not set for nitrox and it was bleeping unhappily for a couple days afterward. Fortunately my spiffy new dive computer was accurate and kept me safe. It’s a Suunto – made in Finland – and widely in use around here. It has a computer cable to hook up and download the dive memory to your computer. It doesn’t work on a Macintosh. (Just a bit of public rebuke for Suunto who has thus far been clueless on how to solve this problem. Hint: I’m still waiting for an answer and am pissed.). Meanwhile I’m more than nervous about a nitrox dive. It’s a new experience. You don’t mess around underwater. Safety! I was warned my bottom was 85 feet. Do not go below 85 feet! You won’t explode but the enriched oxygen is not good for safety below your bottom limit. And…. this electric ray was at 89 feet! I drifted down and shot a few images and then was scolded and sent higher. Nothing happened; the sky did not fall. And I got a shot. In medicine we use high concentrations of oxygen to treat medical problems. But I am not familiar with underwater concentrations and how they affect physiology. Some late night reading…

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