Nitrogen forms some 79% of the air that we breath and under pressure, it becomes narcotic. In simple terms, you enter a state of euphoria, feelings of intense excitement and happiness. It’s like being drunk while under the influence of alcohol.
While scuba diving at depth, this is called nitrogen narcosis and is completely different to decompression sickness, an illness where nitrogen bubbles come out of solution too fast as part of the ascent and off-gassing process. Both nitrogen narcosis and decompression sickness are dangerous but in different ways. The big issue for divers under the influence of nitrogen narcosis is how effectively they can react in an emergency situation.
Imagine you’ve arrived home after an evening on the town. You bring out your key and try to unlock your front door. You’re in fits of giggles as you try once, twice and thrice to no avail. Now imagine that at 40 or 50 metres below the water surface and there’s a catastrophic failure on your breathing apparatus. Thrice is not quick enough!
A ‘dry dive’ session in a hyperbaric chamber will allow divers to experience the effects of nitrogen narcosis in a safe and controlled manner. The doctors will take the pressure within the chamber down to the equivalent of 50 metres and bring you back to the ‘surface’ in a controlled environment while you breath normal air and 100% oxygen to simulate a decompression dive. This simulation dive will last about 45 minutes to demonstrate the effects of nitrogen narcosis on a diver and how it can negatively effect judgement. You will hear your vocal range change as your vocal cords react different under pressure and also cognitive tests where I will guarantee 3+3 will equal 2!
This experience is not reserved to divers as the doctors explain the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment in the medical world including muscle injuries in sport, carbon monoxide poisoning, infections causing tissue death, cancer and many other ailments including and of course, decompression sickness.
Priced at £40.00 (as at January 2020), you pay cash on the day and divers who may wish to log their ‘dive’ should bring bring their logbook and dive computer, no other equipment is needed. Cameras maybe taken, but must be in a waterproof case and able to stand pressures of 6 ATM, the equivalent of 50 metres beneath the surface. And before you ask, your iPhone is not allowed!
This is the only place where you will get a euphoric high like being drunk, but with no hangover, speak like Orville and take a maths lesson where 3+3 will equal 2. I promise!