Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Worth the wait

Today was definitely one of my most rewarding Nanakuli flights to date. It all started out when Scot posted on the Chatter Box about heading out there with Maui Aaron. My morning was occupied, so I opted to try and join everyone out there in the afternoon.

I arrived at around 1:45 p.m. Scot, Aaron, Yaro, Alex, and Suicide Pete were just hiking up. It turns out they arrived later than the original "plan". By time I hiked up to low launch Alex, Jaro, and Pete were already all laid out there, but the wind seemed a tad to light. After a long rest stop I opted to hike up to mid launch, Aaron and Scot headed for higher ground too. Scot was able to get off in a light cycle from mid launch, while Alex and Suicide Pete didn't have much luck out of low launch.

Maui Aaron decided to go even higher, and I decided to stay at mid launch for a while. Czech Peter made his arrival and headed straight up to high launch. Jaro eventually gave up on low launch and made a short stop at mid to help me straighten out my leading edge. I waited for a long time for some semblance of a breeze to develop. I got in and out of my harness at least three times, debating whether to hike higher or just do some launch clearing. Each time I'd unhook, a tiny wisp of wind would come up to entice me to strap back in.

Finally, after what seemed like at least an hour, the wind goddess decided I was a worthy devotee, and she stirred up enough wind for me to get off. I struggled for some time - getting just above, then just below mid launch height. And then it happened - I hooked a nice thermal (yes even though the sky was completely OD) and from that point on my flight became magic. I kept getting those comforting vario beeps and climbed up above the peak. It was very satisfying once I made it up, it took some serious work.

Alex was urging me to go XC to Waikele to retreive his car, but I was simply having a great time right where I was. I didn't stay up exceptionally long, since I had taken off my flight suit in one of my "out of harness" moments so I was actually cold up near cloudbase. Jeff and Alex prodded me to fly out and land at the beach, which I happily did once Jeff said he'd come down there and get me.

I hope to see more days like this one at Nanakuli - although a clearer sky would have been nice.


JeffMc said...

Yeah Jim - you made it look good up there! When it grayed over and looked like it was about to RAIN, I thought it was shut down for sure. But somehow, Scot, CZ Peter, you and Jaro pulled it off. Awesome!

It was so borderline, that Jaro had started hiking DOWN when he saw CZ Peter getting up. He turned around and went up to high launch, and had a good flight.

Suicide said...


I was on Low thinking, "Man, I should hike-up. But, it is so OD. So. I thought, "Maybe I will just grab a little puff to take me to the cars." Just like Alex, I figured, A sledder's better than hiking down.

Of course, you showed that a more patience a lot less laziness would have given me the opportunity for a great flight. You made it look good.

Well done

Alex said...

Jim, thanks for sharing the story. I was worried that you might have to hike down under that darkening sky, but you hung in there and snuck in a sweet flight under those dark clouds. Keep up the great work!

Brazilian Ray said...

od??? sounds more like cloud suck than thermals...