Thursday, July 08, 2010

Squall Dodging Team

After some squalls passed by yesterday morning, Maui Doug, Mad Dog and I met at Kahana, shortly after noon, hoping for clearing weather. When Mad Dog arrived he said he and Jeannine had seen a big squall coming at us from around the corner. He grumbled about how he hated squall dodging. I scoffed at this and said, dude, we're not squall dodging today, it's gonna be perfect! I showed him the radar on my phone, which didn't seem to show anything big coming our way. He said, okay, fine, let's hike!

But sure enough, after we got up to launch, we could see a monster rain shower bearing straight at us. We launched anyway, hoping to either outrun it or fly around it - but at the last minute it wasn't looking good for either of those options, and I was lucky to sneak in a toplanding next to Maui Doug, while Chris missed his chance to topland and went for a beach bombout in the drizzle.

Maui Doug and I shared a cold frosty portion of my ballast while waiting out the rain, which turned out to be pretty light, although there was a decent gust front beforehand. I relaunched and scratched my way up, while Maui Doug launched and reluctantly joined Mad Dog on the beach for the hike back up.

Eventually we all managed to bench our way above the ridge, and we were watching for a good window to head downrange between numerous squalls just offshore. Cloudbase had dropped to about two grand, but there were plenty of big blue areas in between the clouds.

I dove downrange first, followed closely by Mad Dog. We caught some decent thermals on the Punaluu ridge, along with a drizzle from the squalls offshore that were drawing closer. Doug joined us at the Punaluu ridge a bit later, but he came in pretty low, and opted to head out to a beach close to my house soon afterwards.

Mad Dog and I had been watching a couple of massive rain systems offshore growing bigger and getting closer, and we wasted no time heading to Hauula Beach Park, getting down about five minutes before the arrival of a gale force gust front and the rain that was close behind it. We hid in the bathrooms and waited for Jeannine to arrive with the cooler.

Poor Mad Dog! I guess I was wrong about the squall dodging today - sorry, dude. But thanks for coming out and sharing such an exciting flight with me and Doug! And thanks to Jeannine for picking us up and for the refreshments!


Anonymous said...

By the hair of your chinny chin chin....



MauiDoug said...

Congrats Alex and Joey on your T3's! The radar image didn't look nearly as scary as the monster squall in person. I'll take Mad Dogs observations and flying intuition over my cell phone any day!