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Me neither -- turns out it is a large group of hippos -- like more than 20. Also called a pod, herd or dale -- but bloat sounds more size appropriate.
Was on a 20ft pontoon boat on the Chobe River -- just my guide and myself -- and the wind was blowing pretty hard. That meant that as we approached the edge of a bloat and cut the engines, we would prety quickly get blown into and through the bloat (damn I love that word). Anyway, reason these bloats would be hanging out in the spots they were hanging out in was they were eating the underwater grasses that would grow near the shore. So anyway, we have been blown through the bloat -- D3X & 600mm sitting on beanbag as low to the water as could get -- and eventually end up against the shore. Try starting the outboard to move away, but immediately the underwater grass wraps up in the prop and the engine stalls. Try poling out to clearer water -- but the wind is blowing too hard. So guide holds the pontoon boat from blowing any further into shore using a pole and I go about pulling the grass out of the propeller. Not just regular grass -- but razor grass. Really cuts into the hands trying to pull it out of the prop. And then there is the strange brown goo, kind of chunky, that's mixed in with the grass - finally figure out what that is -- trust me, a hippo bloat makes lots and lots of that stuff. So get the prop cleared and start the engine again and move maybe another fifty feet before the prop is jammed solid and I have to repeat the fun and games with the grass and the goo. Eventually get out and everything is good. Funny thing is, the photography was so good and the up close contact with the hippos so much fun, we did the same thing over and over again for the next several days.
Hope you enjoy the shot, Andrew
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