Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just couldn't help it

On the way back from Logan's orchestra rehearsal in town, we stopped at Kahana to find Matt folding up to run back up the hill. Conditions looked really light but sweet, with super high clouds. He said Yama-san and company were all on launch, and Reaper, Bonnie and students were on their way. I went home to get some work done, but I just couldn't bear the thought of all that sweet flying happening without me.

I drove back out and ran up the hill to find the Japanese pilots skied out and making attempts at crossing the bay. It was more east than the previous days and much harder to go that way. On launch I found Jorge and his wife Kit (not that Jorge, the elder Jorge - Pete's student from way back.) They had hiked up to check out the old Kahana scene. He said he's been doing some flying in Mexico. I also saw Alaska Jack take a flight attendant for a quick tandem flight to the beach. It was incredibly light up there.

As I was about to launch into those super light conditions, Jorge appeared in the skies above Kaaawa on his way from Makapuu! Jorge the younger, that is. He pulled into the airspace above Puu Piei and said he'd wait for me, so we could go somewhere. Wow! I tried a couple times to get up, but couldn't quite hook anything, and toplanded both times. Finally I got something and followed some guy in an Aspen up and out of there. Turns out it was Yama-san. We circled our way back and above Puu Piei.

By that time, Jorge was long gone across the bay. I could see him low over Kaaawa, but I think it must have been too light or too east, because he soon came back and landed at the Kahana LZ. Yama-san also tried to cross and ended up at the LZ.

So now I was alone in the thermals at 2,400 above Puu Piei, with Pete and his students on launch cursing the light conditions. I headed downrange to see how far I could go. I found myself sinking like crazy on the way across Punaluu Valley, and noticed that only halfway across I was already way below the dirt spot. But right in the middle of the valley I caught a sweet thermal and circled my way up and out of there just like Scrappy showed me the other day. Nice! I got myself above the ridge, but couldn't make it work very well there, so I headed across to the next one.

Again, I found a nice thermal in the middle of the valley, and circled my way up in it, but there was not much working on the actual ridge. What a strange day. I got high enough to consider making it to Pounders, and headed out, turning a few times in some interesting air currents but not really getting anything serious. I made it to Pounders with just enough height, and landed on an unusually crowded beach there, to the delight of the beachgoers. Unfortunately, none of them were headed to Kahana anytime soon. And Reaper and his students were all parawaiting on launch. So I went to the bus stop.

But lucky for me, JD and LeeAnn just happened to be coming from the North Shore and I caught a ride with them back to Kahana. Thanks, guys! At the LZ I met my next door neighbors, who where there with a tent set up for long day at the beach and a prime view of the landings. We saw Duck and Bonnie come in for perfect landings, but after that I had to run home.

I heard lots of folks flew at Makapuu, and in addition to Jorge blazing downrange to Kahana, they had Jim and Mad Dog cruising back to Greenwalls, Quentin playing above the parapark, visitors Stu and Bets soaring high over the lighthouse, and Maui Doug orbiting in his new alien spaceship. From Jim's pictures I also see that Big Island pilot Gary was out there, as well as BC Bill.

As Mad Dog would say, just another crappy day in Paradise.

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