Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lucky Dogs

Four pilots flew Kahana today, and against all odds, in the lightest of conditions, we made it work out there. Three of us went downrange, one to Pounders and two to Hauula.

The day started out nuking and very east, but it gradually got lighter, while remaining pretty east. Larry called me from the Kahana boat ramp and said he saw swirly dark patches on the water - that's a good sign that it's too east. I told him the wind was supposed to clock around and ease off, and it would end up light SE by Saturday, so there was no point in waiting around. I wish Larry had a cell phone so I could have called him! It began to look flyable not long after that, and I met Scot, Thom and NJ Alex out there to take a look. It was a bit east, but it seemed worth the hike.

We hiked up only to find that the wind was seriously dying off. It was incredibly light on launch. I took one quick flight trying to lasso some thermals with my new wing, but I couldn't quite wrassle them down, so I toplanded. I took another try and landed at mid launch, launched again and landed at upper launch. Scot waited for a funny little squall, took off in the tiny gust front, and then sank back down to launch right afterwards. It wasn't looking good. There just wasn't much wind at all. Jim called Thom, and he said it wasn't worth coming out.

Finally some texture started to appear on the water, and it was just enough for us all to launch and get up. Scot and I worked our way up into the back and got to about 2,100, before heading out to the front and veering off to Punaluu. NJ Alex was really struggling to get high in the light conditions, being a bit overloaded on his acro wing. Thom was taking his sweet time to work his way up and follow us.

When Scot and I got to the next ridge, there was nothing happening there, and we found ourselves digging in to work the lightest of lift. We finally made 1,500 there, and sped off to the next ridge, where we found some decent ridge lift that made it easier to stay up. At that point I knew we were going to be okay. I remembered Jorge saying you could make it to Pounders with 1,200 from this peak - and I had 1,400. So off I went, hoping he was right. Scot made the conservative decision to head for Hauula Beach Park, always a good call. Thom followed him down there a bit later.

Dorothy called just after I landed at Pounders (having arrived with a couple hundred extra feet - thanks Jorge!). I had to admit where I was, and that I'd probably be late for our dinner date. She said she was happy for me, and not to worry about dinner, as long as I could get there in time for Logan's school musical. NJ Alex came out to pick us up, and we headed back to Kahana to enjoy some of Scot's nice cold beverages, before I had to run off. Thanks, guys!

I heard Joey flew at Lanikai, while Jim opted to take a pass because it was pretty strong over there. Amazing that it could be nuking at Lanikai but barely blowing at Kahana. And later I heard that Scrappy enjoyed some very dimly lit conditions at Makapuu in a speed wing. If anyone has any good stories or pictures, please post them here.

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