Friday, April 29, 2011

Mountains of Mist

Every once in a great while, we'll find ourselves in the air above a ridge just as a strange and wonderful weather phenomenon takes place: a cloud bank just seems to form out of thin air below us, streaming up to envelop the ridge we're flying. Sometimes the low clouds continue to form and bathe the ridge in thick mist for hours. We soar above these clouds in blue skies, navigating around the huge white mountain of mist, almost forgetting about the terrain hidden inside.

We'll often see booming cumulus clouds in the distance, and the whole experience is akin to the surreal sensation of looking out an airplane window. We look down on the clouds below and spot the shadow of our glider, ringed by a bright rainbow circle, known as a glory or brockenspecter.

I remember a few special days over the years where this happened while I've flown at Makapuu and Kahana.

But on Tuesday, for the first time, I had the pleasure of crossing the bay with Scot and observing the mountain of mist forming over Kualoa. It was spectacular, and I remember laughing out loud when I realized what was happening. It's rare enough to cross the bay, and this wasn't an easy day to do it, but it's even more rare to see the strange cloudbank forming below us over a ridge other than Makapuu or Kahana.

We were sorry that Mad Dog and Bill hadn't made it over to join us in time to beat the new low cloudbase - after that stuff rolled in there was no way to get across. Scot and I ended up flying back to rejoin them at Kahana a bit later, and then we continued on to Pounders just for fun, riding the low clouds all the way. Thanks to Duck for the retrieve!

The thumbnail at the top of this story links to the Flickr slideshow. I also put the photos together into a video slideshow with music, linked from Vimeo below.


Anonymous said...

Wow that was worth the wait. Nice job


Thom said...

Thanks Alex,

I guess you know you did good on this one just to get Ike to stroke the keys and even sign the comment.

Thanks for the pics to my coffee read was definitely worth it this morning.

Gravity said...

The pictures are awesome. Damnit now I gotta hike up cross the bay and soar above the clouds...

JeffMc said...

Arrrrghhh!! My favorite kind of day, and of course I was home! Haven't even read the article yet, but my jaw dropped when I saw the title pic. Awesome!

MauiDoug said...

Amazing flight guys and I am blown away with the quality of both your cell phone cameras, WOW!
Awesome Photos!