Monday, October 10, 2011


Racing from the approaching storm. I had just squeezed through a tiny gap between the clouds and the mountain in the background.

I am sitting in the open hangar of the Seychelles Military training academy. It is right at the very end of the runway and offers a great view down towards the south, the direction that most of our weather systems come from. From here I can make better assessments to predict the chance of flying. At the moment it is drizzling and towards the south it is gloomy and grey. For now the prospect of flying is slim to none – at least for the next half hour or so, which is how long it will take given favourable conditions for the system to clear up. Of course it looks more like these systems are taking their time to dissipate.

Normally by 11:30 I have already surveyed the whole island, located the sharks and informed David so that boat crews and passengers can be briefed. Today it is not going to be that easy.

The drizzle has just increased to light rain.

As if the weather is anything to go by, I have just heard on the news that SA lost to Oz in the quarter finals of the rugby world cup. A final score 11-9. It sounds like it was a close game. In a way I am glad I missed it. I am far too much of a Springbok fan to have been able to watch that game without getting worked up. No, it was much better sitting in the car waiting for the rain to clear up so we could go flying. Now what could be better than that? Yes, you are quite right – to be flying!

Later on I managed to get into the air and what an interesting flight it turned out to be. It had all the elements of excitement one could hope for – from a flying point of view: Lots of stormy weather, rain fronts, low clouds, mountains, turbulence. It gets really exciting when you have to calculate all these variables to make sure you can get through a gap between the clouds and a low valley in the mountains before it all turns pear shaped. As it turned out I could not quite get to the boat to offer air support and just to tease them even more, they spotted a whale shark but then lost it. If I had been in the air at that time it would have been a simple matter to get the research team onto the shark. Of course at that time I was sneaking through a low gap between the mountains and cloud with my tail between my legs, before it started to rain all over the show. Perhaps some other time I will bore you with the details but for now, let’s just say I am happy to be on the ground.

Wish you were here!

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