Saturday, June 16, 2018

Electric airship haiku

Cobalt Lake

The haiga I’ve selected to illustrate this haiku is a computer-stylized version of a watercolour painting I did on the last day of a heli-painting expedition in the Bugaboos – the best plein air painting day ever!

On the bus from Banff on our way to the heliport in the Columbia Valley for the start of the expedition, the drop-off procedure to be followed had been explained to us.  At first, I thought they were joking but no, this is how it’s done… When you set down on some windswept, not particularly level ridge, the helicopter doesn’t actually stop, and they don’t want anyone near the ends of the rotor. So, as soon as you’re out, you crouch down no more than two meters from the runners, covering your head and holding all your stuff down until the helicopter is gone and the propwash gravel and the racket give way to silence. Then you straighten up as smoothly as possible, brush yourself off, and try not to think about assuming that crouched position again (with your eyes closed) while the helicopter lands beside you when it comes to pick you up.

Originally built for heli-skiing, then high-elevation heli-hiking, the whole lodging and transport system in the Bugaboos is conscientiously designed and operated to minimize the carbon footprint.  But I couldn’t help thinking that, if such things existed, electric airships would be even better environmentally.  And you wouldn’t have to worry about the rotor or the flying gravel…