trimix diving on a budget

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trimix diving on budged from a freedivers perspective

Submitted: December 19, 2015

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Submitted: December 19, 2015



I like exploring our oceans and I’m fascinated by its depth.  Most diving communities would consider it safe to dive to 40 meter on air. Air consists out of 21% Oxygen (O2) and 78% Nitrogen (N2),  both those gasses have limiting factors.  Oxygen toxicity can cause seizures. Nitrogen Narcosis makes you drunk stupid and happy (Euphoric).  And besides that your body absorbs the N2 and on your way up you have to ascend super slowly to avoid bubble formation in your blood. (Don’t shake the Cola bottle before you open it!)

So how can we get deeper without risking our lives?  The answer is Trimix: By adding Helium (He) to our breathing gas we can lower both the O2 and N2 percentage. We call this Trimix because now there are 3 gasses involved.

Now Helium is costly, while a normal air filling in the Philippines can cost you anywhere between 2 and 4 US dollar.  Helium at the moment gets sold for 6 US cent per liter, a trimix filling can cost you easily 100 dollar using  a normal twin set and Helium prices are only going up.

The last few months I’ve spend a lot of time thinking how  to reduce the costs of Trimix diving and how to be conservative when breathing this expensive gas without compromising safety.

Now freedivers know how to be conservative.  They relax before their dive to reduce their heart rate, than they take one deep breath and dive down.  An average free diver  can easily spend 2, 3 or 4 minutes under the surface without breathing. This is possible because they don’t make any excessive movements.  They are aware of all the muscles they use and they will only use them if they really have to. Other than that they just chill and relax reducing the amount of cellular O2 metabolism to the minimum.

Now with this similar mind set I’ve done a few Trimix dives to 70 meter  using 2 small size scuba tanks doing the following.

  • 5 minutes of relaxation on the surface to bring the heart rate under  60 beats per minute.
  • Taking a deep breath and holding it as long as comfortable (1 or 2 minutes) during descend.
  •  Keeping arms and legs still during decend.  A diver with good buoyancy (balance) control can go up and down without needing to move his arms or legs.
  • Breathing  very slowly, about 1 to 4 breathe per minute.
  • Keeping  lungs very full to optimize the amount of oxygen available for the aveoli.
  • When exhaling  blowing out completely to expel  a maximum amount of CO2.
  • Then breath in complete  to reduce the percentage of dead air (air that does not come in contact with aveoli)
  • While  moving around at 70 meter keeping the  breathing rhythm low.
  • During ascend and deco stops increase breathing rate to assist off gassing.
  • No need for a wetsuit if you don’t feel cold. Wetsuits restrict movements and increase O2 use. 

© Copyright 2018 Jeroen Elout. All rights reserved.

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