Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sightings

This has become a bit of an unhealthy obsession of mine, so I'm going to type it all out without holding it all in. I wouldn't blame anyone if they called me mad after reading all of this. And as for the all-important question: "WHY are you so bothered with this Chavie?", I have no idea mate. I wish I did.

(Copied from a Google doc I had made to keep track of my obsession, and edited to make it suitable for the blog)

Background

It was the end of our Foundation course at uni and exams were upon us. We had them in the 15th floor, the highest I had been to on the building till that point in time.

First sighting: 2x/12/2009 at around 7.30ish AM - Whole central mountain range clearly visible from 15th floor. Had phone but wasn’t bothered to capture image, since I thought this was a fairly common occurrence.

Obsession

Further sightings eluded me for almost a whole year. It was rather disappointing, but I would return day after day and the first thing I would do is look out the window. I was getting obsessed. Then, on one bright blue morning, the first day of October, I knew I might have a spotting on my hands.

Second sighting: 01/10/2010 at around 7.30ish AM - Peaks partially visible from 12th floor. Took camera even but didn’t take any photographs. Glare was too much (the sun having risen up just behind the mountains) when the window was opened. :(

Common phenomena

I observed that on both occasions heavy rain had occurred the night before. No cloud cover at all in the morning, brilliant sunlight (Not the usual bright tropical sunlight you get in this part of the world, this light is unnaturally bright and powerful.)

Why are they so rare: my little half-baked theory

Although most mornings are clear and cloudless, a constant smog (or haze, IDK) seems to hang over Colombo (and the countryside surrounding it), obstructing our view of anything beyond the Malabe hillocks. On most normal days it will be there from the morning till 5.30 when we leave. I believe this is a testament to how humid and wet our little island is.

Now this is where the whole rain-on-the-night-before comes in handy. The rain and cooling of the water vapour forces the haze clouds down to ground level, clearing the atmosphere. This would explain the ultra-clear skies and powerful sunlight. (The moment I saw that weird light on the morning of the 10th, I knew I would get lucky that day.) The trick to getting a good clear view of the mountains is to make sure you get to the Towers before the bright sunlight evaporates the water droplets from last night’s rain and recreates the haze. This is where I succeeded first time around, and failed (by perhaps 15 minutes or so) on the second.

It bothers me that sightings are so rare and only seem to occur (approximately) during the inter-monsoonal season. And that, my friends, is where it stands now. I just hope that during the 4 days on which we have morning exams in October, one would be clear, blue, and with brilliant sunlight.