Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunset Sessions at Makapuu

Sunday dawned with a mysterious mix of eastward-tracking rain squalls and a very northerly surface flow, with a super low bank of clouds hanging over it all. The forecast had called for a day of light to moderate trades, but we weren't really seeing any signs of it. Most folks decided to take their chances at Makapuu, and by afternoon there was a sizeable crew milling around and wondering what the best option would be in the unusual conditions.

After spending some time working to repair the carpet installation at the Juice launch, Pete, visitor Forrest, and Jorge showed us all that Manics was working fine in the northerly flow. Visitors Rob and Marite launched next, then Berndt, Jeff and I followed. But pretty soon after that, conditions changed to more light and easterly, and there were some ominous clouds looming closer, so I landed after a very short flight to take stock of the changing conditions. Some unfortunate folks who had just launched Manics were flushed to the beach in the weakening conditions.

Mike and Leo also joined us for a while, launching their hang gliders from the cloud-soaked peak of the ridge and soaring with us to the lighthouse and back. It was Mike's birthday - what a nice way to celebrate. We offered him a nice birthday beverage after he landed. Happy Birthday, Mike!

It was now so light that the late shift decided to run up and give Cactus a try, and they made it look very enticing indeed. A bunch of us from the first shift ran up for second flights, along with some even later arrivals. The sun was setting and the LZ was in full shade, but at least the clouds were lifting and clearing up. It was still sunny at Sandys and there was a lone pilot kiting his wing over there. In the light easterly flow I was tempted to head over and land there, even though I couldn't seem to get very high to start. I feel like this new machine I'm flying is always just chomping at the bit to go on glide to some interesting place.

I ended up leaving with no more than 1,300 feet, which seemed pretty low, and I made a beeline straight for Sandys. But then Frank asked over the radio why I wasn't headed to the crater to try soaring there. I really didn't think there was any chance I'd arrive high enough, but I changed my heading a bit to see where I'd end up, and to my happy surprise I came in at the top of the crater lip, soaring there for a while in the last light of the day, forcing myself to work the lift provided by the odorific thermals wafting up from the sewage treatment plant. Thanks to Frank for the suggestion!

Finally I headed in for a landing next to visitor Janos who was kiting down there. What a gorgeous place to end the day's flying. Laurel bravely decided to join me, and left from about the same height I did, to fly over and land at Sandys just as the sun was sinking behind Koko Crater. Thanks to Ginny for coming over to retrieve us, with beverages!

As we were folding up, I heard that visitor Nova was putting on a serious acro show back at Makapuu, including the first infinite tumbles I think we've ever seen out there. I'm very sorry to have missed that show, but thankfully Nova has posted the video so we can all imagine what that maneuver looks like from his perspective.

Nova Dasalla - acro paragliding - Infinite Turns at Makapu'u from avonorca on Vimeo.


Thom said...

I did not fly today, I had a beverage watching Alex repair his wing when it did not look flyable. I watched Pete take a solo flight out of Manics but of course he can make anything look good. I had another beverage knowing that I had to leave to babysit. After 3 beverages and on a 4th I had been relieved from babysitting and was somehow smart enough to say 'Can't Fly'.

Moral of the story, don't start till it is too dark to fly!!!!!!!!!

Had fun driving the barrel of Monkeys to and from launches but wishing I was in the air.

swan said...

What a fun flight! Thank you Alex for leading the charge. I wanted to go really badly, but probably wouldn't have if you hadn't gone first (especially since we were only at 1300). Cheers for questionable decision making that leads to fun new adventures!

Anonymous said...

Nova... Man, your getting those dialed in with the Thriller. I am going to order up one of them 18m badboys soon. I also am ordering a tow rig from Justin and would love to have you come and tow in Hood River next summer.

Jon Malmberg