Decades ago, travelling cheap through Baja with a college dive club, we ended up with a dozen cylinders full of "bad gas."
We'd dived all day on the Cabo Pulmo Reefs and taken a stack of empty cylinders to a tiny dive shop about 90 minutes away. While they were filling, we left the pocketa-pocketa symphony behind us as we crossed the dirt road to a taqueria. Fish tacos and beer made the afternoon ease away until we could reload our filled cylinders and head back to camp.
The next morning, shortly after we back-rolled off the zodiac into the warm water, divers started surfacing and spitting out their regs in disgust. The compressed "air" had a nasty taste and a worse smell. Many of us felt queasy and head-achey. Who knows what it was... other than yucky.
We didn't appreciate how lucky we were that it tasted and smelled bad.
It could have been carbon monoxide and no one would have noticed it until the symptoms hit us.
We were lucky.
We were stupid.
We hadn't tasted or smelled the gas at the fill station.
We hadn't pre-breathed it at the surface before splashing, checking for unusual tastes or smells.
Looking at the Analox portable CO monitor at DEMA 2010 in Las Vegas, those are the memories that came back to me.
If I were going to travel a lot and breathe compressed gas from many places, I'd take one of these.
The website states they're only available to order online, but I don't know if that's current news.
I saw many being purchased at the booth. DEMA is as much a travel show as it is a gear show, and this new convenient instrument was getting lots of attention. It sounds like several other CO sensors have been available for divers, but this one's getting attention through it's portability and classic Analox ease of use.
For more info, click HERE.