Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nitrogen






Nitrogen, which we breathe more of here on Earth than oxygen, is normally dissolved in the body's tissues. For various reasons, it collects into bubbles when one moves from a higher to a lower pressure, as in ascending from deep under the surface of the ocean, or going high into the atmosphere. 'The Bends' is the result of these bubbles of nitrogen having varied effects on the nervous system and the brain as they try to escape the body. Both in diving and in high-altitude aviation, 'the bends' are the result of too-rapid decompression, or, too-rapid movement from the higher-pressure to the lower-pressure environment. Learning this, and working with it while graduating to mixed-gas, deeper diving, has enormously helped my appreciation for the phenomenon as it will condition the plans for my high-altitude balloon flights.

Above, photos from this weekend's dives; one shows me in silhouette, coming up out of the ocean with my main tank on my back and my reserve slung across my chest; another is a mosaic of images from video footage underwater; another shows me back on land, about to unclutter myself from nearly 200lb of gear; another shows my dive rig from various angles as Todd and I surfaced and came out of the water.

1 comment:

Julian said...

Oceans deep, a true pioneer... Looking forward to the next "steps".