Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Sunday at Kahana

Kahana was nice and north most of the day yesterday, and I went out there after the kids' music lessons, just after noon, with high hopes for a bay crossing adventure. I joined Jim, Ginny, Berndt, Maui Doug, JD and Thom just in time for the end of the early shift.

After a little while amusing myself with some wingovers and top landings, a decent sized squall shut us down. Maui Doug ran for Punaluu, where Reaper, Mad Dog and Bonnie were working on a roof. I tried to use the squall to help me cross the bay, but I just got wet. I came in for a toplanding on the north ridge in a light offshore flow that had set up in the wake of the squall. Berndt hit the beach.

Ray, Nick, and Bonnie joined us for the second shift, and Thom, Maui Doug and Berndt hiked back up for their second session. I tried to cross the bay a couple more times, but it seemed like it just wasn't quite buoyant enough to get over there, or maybe it just wasn't quite north enough. Nick entertained us with some really sweet looking SATs in his Atis.

At the end of the day, Ray got up nice and high at the end of the day, and headed out for the last bay crossing effort. I was close behind. He made it over nicely, but I limped in right at the height of the Crouching Lion, much lower than I ever want to be over there. Berndt also tried to follow but didn't quite have enough height, so he wisely turned back with enough to get back up at Kahana.

Ray and I slowly worked our way up above the Crouching Lion in what felt like a more easterly flow than we expected. Ray found a good line and made it around the corner and up over Kaaawa. But I couldn't make it. I hit some sink, and had to retreat back over the Crouching Lion to slowly work my way up again. I did this three times, each time wondering if I was even high enough to bail out and make the beach LZ. I must have spent a good half hour just hanging out over the condos trying to punch around the corner.

Finally I found a decent lifting line and was able to join Ray above Kaaawa, and he led me on a chilly trip to Kualoa and back at cloudbase, which was just over two grand. It was late, and there was no sun to keep us warm up there - it had sunk well below the mountains and clouds by the time we even started this adventure.

It was a lot of work but I really wanted to make it happen, and I'm glad I stuck it out and kept trying. It felt kind of like a task day at the Rat Race where pilots are extremely (stubbornly) focused on making a challenging goal. By the time I landed I was pretty worn out just from the concentration.

Thanks to Thom for the refreshments.

I heard Makapuu was going off all day too, complete with hang gliding, paragliding, speed flying and tandem acrobatics. Any pictures or stories from you guys?

1 comment:

MauiDoug said...

Here's the link to Nick's SAT over Kahana Bay.