Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shouldn't it be low density altitude?

I dreamt of rain last night. I'm told the rains are still a month and a half away but things are changing. Yesterday we had scattered clouds, that's pretty significant cuz I'd only seen three clouds total before that. Quite a change from the last places I've lived, where stainless steel rusts and mushrooms grow in minivans.

The clouds come from the evaporating Delta. Depending on whose stats you believe, somewhere around sixty percent of the water disappears into thin air. The rate of atmospheric absorption increases along with the rise in temperature. Mornings start above thirty degrees these days and we'll have highs in the mid-forties on a regular basis soon. For those of you unfamiliar with the measuring system used by the rest of the planet, twenties are comfortable, thirties hot, and forties require Gold Bond in your undies to maintain sanity.

My running take-offs improve with each passing day. By mid-afternoon the Jetranger protests with more than two passengers and half tanks. With rarely more than a breath of wind to use to my advantage, choosing the right gap between the trees becomes imperative. Tsogo (our heli washing, baboon chaser at Eagle Island Camp) refuels between scenics while I give the safety briefing to the next batch of guests because taking off with more than 32 gallons of fuel puts the TOT (turbine output temp) needle uncomfortably close to the red line.

Life in the Delta changes as we tilt closer to the sun. The snakes are awake and the crocodiles are feeding again. They used to laze on hot rocks, but now the crocs attack the red lechwe (members of the deer family adapted to spend most of their time in water, webbed hooves and all) that just days ago were able to graze next to the indifferent reptiles.

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