Survival tips for the Darwin build-up | Michael Gorey

Survival tips for the Darwin build-up

The build-up to the wet season is everyone's least enjoyable time of year. The "build-up" stretches from September to December, sometimes longer if it's a poor dry season or late wet season.

It's typified by high humidity with little relief from cooler temperatures, wind or rain. At the moment, Darwin is experiencing days of 25 degrees minimum and 34 maximum, with 80-90 per cent humidity.

There has been some respite, courtesy fresh breezes and unusual September rain. The mornings have been calm and more humid than the afternoons. It will get worse in October and November before the rains come more consistently.

How to survive?

1) Wear light, loose-fitting clothes: There's nothing worse than being sweaty in a shirt that clings to your skin. Shoes that fit comfortably in a temperate climate will feel too small here as your feet swell. Sandals, crocs and thongs are essential casual wear. You know you're adjusting when you think open footwear can look rather stylish on a middle-aged man.crocs

2) Exercise indoors or before sunrise: The humidity really saps you. I ran 7km in Victoria when it was eight degrees last week and barely raised a sweat. Here I'm perspiring before I start running. If there's a breeze in the morning or evening, that can really help.

3) Cool off under a fan: On really bad days you sweat after getting out of the shower. Dry off under a fan before getting dressed and use a hand towel.

4) Drink lots of fluid: And not beer or wine, although many people do that as well.

5) Escape to somewhere cool: Darwin has lovely beaches, but if the crocodiles don't get you the jellyfish will. Even if it's over 30 degrees down south you can cool off at a beach. Plan a weekend away every few months to reinvigorate. If you can't get away, take a dip in a pool.

It sounds oppressive and for several months it is. Like anything and everything, people adapt and make the best of it.

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