Saturday, February 04, 2012

Nanakuli Magic

So Alex, what do I need to know about this place? That was Andrew's question to me as we were hiking up, for his first flight at Nanakuli. I gave him the briefest of site intros, and figured the site itself would dole out the usual instructions after that: try to get up and stay up if you can, or if you dare, for as long as you can, or as long as you dare.

Eleven of us trudged up to low launch to find conditions fairly strong from the west, on the dump side. We waited a while on low launch before Jorge decided it would be worth trying. I followed him, and then Mad Dog launched after that, and eventually everyone got off the hill.

Conditions improved and mellowed as the day wound down and the sun began to sink lower over the ocean. Many of us were able to land at the beach to enjoy some cold refreshments and watch the others come sailing in. Andrew and Bonnie were last up, milking the last sweet thermals of the day, spinning circles at the base of the beautiful puffy clouds forming above Puu Haleakala. What a great first flight for Nanakuli, Andrew! This place can surely teach you a lot, and today's flying was a great introduction.

Meanwhile, Reaper had got himself a permit to drive up the Air Force road for the Dillingham action that we hope we might get over the next two weeks. He showed up at Nanakuli with Lake and visitors Danielle and Jason from San Diego. But Pete thought it looked too strong and west to be that great, so he headed north to check out Makua. But it was too light there. So they decided to drive up the road and check out some launch options up there. They found one, about halfway up the road, although it doesn't sound like it was the most awesome spot. Pete says the guard in the shack at the bottom was asleep, and so was the one at the top. I guess that's the luck of the Reaper: Let sleeping guards lie. Pete helped Lake, Danielle and Jason launch, and he drove down to pick them up. They all soared for a while before landing at Makua Beach -- except for Jason.

Jason, also known at his home site as little focker, (not to be confused with our own little focker), skyed out and was able to cross Makua Valley, benching up there to cross the next valley in the last light of the day, and then crossing Makaha Valley, finally heading out on a death glide down the beach, landing halfway across Waianae Valley as the sun was disappearing into the ocean. That's a great first flight for your Hawaii trip!

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