Friday, August 26, 2011

The Magical Mystery Tour

When I woke up today, I knew it was gonna be amazing … the sun was shining through my window, and the wind sensors were screaming perfection. Little did I know that I was about to take an epic journey on a magical mystery tour … and I did just that!

I got out to Kahana early. I had the day off, so I wanted to get a jump start. My plan was to fly myself silly, since I wouldn't be out the rest of the weekend. By about 10:30, I was in the air, soaring through the buttery smooth NE trades that translated into bay crossing. I was soon joined by Alex and visiting pilot Steve from California.

One of the things that I love about Kahana so much is that it really does require a little bit of skill to get up on days like today. Sometimes the trades don't really provide much ridge lift, so we are working every bit of the thermals that we can, to climb up to a sufficient altitude. Thermal soaring: what a trip; not what I learned when I was a new pilot, but I have definitely become accustomed to them.

So there I was, tanking up for about 45 minutes while I waited on Alex and Steve to join me. Up, Up and away! We were able to gain about 1,800' and off we went, first Alex, followed by Steve, and I wasn't too far behind. Visitor Steve didn't really know the area, so his plan was to follow Alex, and he absolutely did so to a tee.

Once across, the Lion was working perfectly … easy lift, and we were able to climb up to cloudbase effortlessly, so we headed on down to Kualoa Ranch. After a little bit of sightseein' and showing Steve the ropes we darted back to Kahana.

Earlier that morning, Alex and I had actually discussed goin' both ways. The day was made for flyin' and the conditions were optimal, so once we got back to Kahana, we tanked up to about 1,800' and away we went, to Punalu'u. Same routine: first Alex, followed by Steve, and I wasn't too far behind. It was a nice smooth glide to the Punaluu ridge, and there we found easy lift and the thermals were flowin' in the right direction. UP!

There we were able to climb up to cloudbase, and Alex led the way, crossing the valley back to Kahana. Surprisingly, the three of us made it. I came in to Kahana so low I actually thought I was gonna have to bail out and land in the pasture, but I was able to squeak around to the rhino horn at about 550' and found the lift. It was smooth and sweet, just the way I left it.

Once again, I saw Alex skied out. He was crossing the bay for the second time, double dippin' … I had to get my second fix as well, so I tanked back up to about 1,900' and shot across to join him. This time we had some more company. Maui Doug, Thom and Kevin followed. This was Kevin's first bay crossing, so he followed the lead and directions of Maui Doug and Thom, and before we knew it, we were all soaring Kualoa together.

At this point, I had been up for quite a while, and was needing my thirst quenched by some frosty beverages, so I opted to head back to the LZ. The rest of the gang made a bee line for the Waiahole kite spot. Way to go Kevin -- great job today!!!

What an amazing day of flying! The magical mystery tour was one of my best XC days ever, and will be one of my most memorable. I'm so stoked that I got to share this opportunity with some of the greatest friends anyone could ask for … the Hawaiian Flying Monkeys! :)


Thom said...

Thanks for the read........Joey.

I am not sure but you haven't posted a story or haven't in quite sometime.

I guess I only have to make an order on the Chatter box and I get results.

You also forgot to mention that you were up....what 5 hours. That is some serious Sky-alis abuse.

Watching you coming back from Punaluu was a strip I thought you were going to dance with the cows. Great job.

Kevin was pretty happy too when he landed at MDoug's Kite Spot.

Alex and Maui Doug did a little trip up the Pyramid. I think Mr. Pres may have told MDoug that he went 'half way up' Pyramid and came back. Maui being a benevolent subject decided to go all the way up to the peak.....but that is another story.

Alex was coming back to pick Kevin and I up and was called off when Duck showed up at MDoug's Kite Spot. Thanks again Duck for the ride.

I think Kevin was pretty happy with his flight

DaveZ said...

NIce read, man I am so jealous!
I thought if you stayed up more than 4 hours you were supposed to call a doctor? Cheers!

Thom said...

Great pictures I think I am going to lower my flight deck weight and leave my camera at home and use my phone too.