Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Day Of Plenty

Saturday at Kahana turned into a day of fulfillment for a few, and plenty for all, with 20 or so pilots gracing the skies with heavenly splendor. X/C trips were made by many, and by some twice, mostly downwind to Hauula, but the wind's unexpected late evening change to 30 degrees brought a magical flight to Kualoa and back at sunset for a very lucky Mad Dog.

With a few sheep in the pasture (white caps) outside but still good penetration at altitude all day, the fun started with MC Stalker, high man on the totem pole at just over 3000' on the back peak, teasing everybody to join him X/C. Probably due to caution of the wind speed, no one followed him as he again climbed up to and above 3000' over Sacred Falls, with a majestic view down to the cascade. Still with no one taking the bait, Jeff now thought of a different twist on things and tried to cruise upwind back to Kahana. He almost made it but without any cloud suck to help him on his venture, he landed at Ching's store in Punaluu, to be retrieved by LeeAnn (big mahalos) who dropped him off at the trail head for round two.

Cloud base was still high at 2500' with plenty of sunshine and almost no clouds to hamper the climb. MC Stalker again topped out at 3000'+ while myself and the group could only get to 2900' and no further. No one touched his high man on the totem pole status for the day! Now it was round two for Stalker and the first X/C for 9 other pilots. We all turned north to cross Punaluu's green valley and hover above the Sacred Falls ridge, but we didn't venture too far back since we had a first time X/Cer with us: congrats to Sawzall on a fantastic flight. Also in the mix was Joey, Sidehill Tom, Hillbilly, and Alex, with Reaper and Bon Bon tandem chasing the tail end with a late start, along with Loren. After a short stop for altitude and to enjoy the view of Sacred Falls from the ridge behind Alex's house, we all beamed out over the ocean for the approach to Hauula Beach Park. Thanks to the fulfillment of Sawzall's first X/C and Sidehill's 90th flight came a river of beverages to enjoy on the retrieval home, provided by Sidehill and his truck as well as Bonnie driving Joey's Hummer. We almost needed a school bus to get us all back! Too much fun was had by all...

Back at the ranch (KNA), after a story or two we noticed a change in the weather as the direction went to 30 degrees and it got considerably lighter. We all jumped at a chance to cross the bay, so scrambling up to North launch, Joey, Sidehill, and Mad Dog went, with Ray giving pioneering paraglider pilot Bill Fulton a tandem from regular launch along with Jase. Luckily for Berndt he was in the air already, as it was hard to launch with the sweeping north breeze from around the corner. Up Sidehill went, with Mad Dog to follow from the upper north side. I think it was the beach for everyone else in the light north stuff.

With a squall on the horizon, Tom, Berndt and I got up to a very slow 1700' to try a bay crossing, but to no avail. We all came back to the beach for the evening festivities, except for Mad Dog who was persistent with a more out front approach on the second try and a quicker climb with more breeze also. Leaving Kahana with 1800' of altitude, I easily arrived above the Crouching Lion at 1000'. With everyone on the beach drinking refreshments, I climbed up fast and on speed bar to 2500' and a high cloud base, and drifted over Kaaawa Valley and on to Kualoa. I arrived at 2000' to find the moon staring at me bright and beckoning, and I heard the call: get back to the beach for pizza and frosty cold beverages. So back I raced to Kahana, to find LeeAnn kiting on the beach and J.D. on north launch, struggling to get into the air with the fickle north wind. Losing altitude from the front peak, I crossed the bay till low and zoomed to the trees for a quick soar, joining the party with all the monkeys on the beach till well after dark.

A plentiful day was had by all. I must mention the early crew who were there before I arrived: Jorge tandem, Cade/Becca tandem, Sharky, Nick, Jase, and Rag Doll Tom. Also our beach support crew included Alan G. and Jeannine (aka La Peste). Forgive me if I missed anyone, and I'm sure I did, as there were too many to count on our day of plenty...

Aloha Mad Dog

9 comments:

Alex said...

Mad Dog - when was that picture taken??? The beach looks perfect! Must have been before the big flood that took out all the trees and made them lean over.

Mad Dog said...

Old wing, old photo! Stopped using that Sigma IV 5 years ago. But since I put a 2 inch rip in my Aerodyne Dune wing tip I've flown it 3 times & crossed the bay 3 times!!! Maybe I should fly old blue more often...I have old pics of the Bay erosion, looks wild.

Mad dog

loren said...

Awesome day indeed! Photos from my canopy cam at the end of this set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/skivvie/sets/72157622655497461/

Alex said...

Chris, I replaced your ancient picture with a link to the video I shot with my jiggly phone.

Thom said...

Awesome video Alex, I am looking into a GoPro HD. But I will need help on music and editing.

Good fun that day it was only my 2nd time to Haula what way to get my 90th flight, almost 4 hours and an XC to boot.

Lets do that again!!!

richard said...

I want to thank you all for making my first XC a truly memorable one. Some excellent coaching in the air by many, Great write up by Mad Dog, and now to top it off a cool video by Alex that captures ME in the opening launch scene..., Awesome!!!

JeffMc said...

Just posted my video from Saturday (sorry took so long). I also embedded it as a clickable thumbnail at the bottom of this article (above). The video is on Vimeo here:

http://www.vimeo.com/7927277

...YouTube has better quality, but sometimes downloads slow on "HD" setting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhpyiiytOEg&fmt=37

Mad Dog said...

Great job on the video Mc Stalker, very clear & vivid colors! How can I get it to play smooth on my PC ? Its stop & go twitchy mostly.

JeffMc said...

Hey Mad Dog - glad you liked it. Streaming video can stutter for two reasons:

1) If it's downloading slowly, you may be watching it faster than the remainder of the video is downloading in the background - in this case, click Pause and wait a minute or two and it will continue downloading (aka "buffering"). You can see the progress of the download on the timeline progress bar - usually indicated by a solid or differentiating color. Vimeo has this problem less than YouTube, but YouTube has superior video quality that may be worth waiting for. In either case, if the problem continues, try watching the standard defintion version (lower quality), which should download faster.

2) If your download speed is adequate, but your computer or video card is older or slower, video could be choppy. In this case, your only choice is trying to view the lower quality version of the video (in Vimeo, click to make sure HD is "Off", in YouTube, make sure the "HD" button in the player is gray, not red)

Hope that helps!

-Jeff