Thursday, July 26, 2012

Haley in Wonderland

Thanks to finally satisfactory conditions, I made an incredible transition last Monday with my first flight on Oahu. From the gentle air, grassy fields and peaceful cows of Polipoli on Maui, I burst into the startling playing field of air that is Kahana, where not even the sky seems like the limit. Soaring the highest I have ever been above solid ground, I switched back and forth between focus-shattering bewilderment and an inexplicable exhilaration and freedom that only a paraglider would understand.

In some ways, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, falling down that fateful rabbit hole that plunged the unsuspecting girl into a place seemingly sprung from some delirious artist’s painting. The sky merging with the water, and the water merging with the land, and the land merging with the sky in a great big splotch of brilliant colors. The only difference between Alice and me was that she fell downwards, and I fell, well, upwards. One other difference was that she didn’t have a Woody there to help guide her, and I did.

Now, enough said about my overall feelings. I couldn’t have set one foot in Wonderland without the weeks and weeks of kiting sessions and endless pep-talk with my dedicated instructor on the subject of flying here. And besides that, there are some things you can only learn while in the process of actually doing them. My mind was trying to make sense of all the instructions and new information. Stay to the back of the ridge! What ridge? Everywhere I look there are ridges. Now don’t lose all the lift that we just spent the last few minutes trying to gain! Man, it was an experience. Finally, I was able to gain some reasonable lift, head on over to Rhino, and up over crown. I felt like how a fledgling must feel on its first wobbly attempts at flight (the typical novice paraglider); with Mother Goose carefully watching me the way through every movement. Observing each methodical detail and graceful motion as best I could, my realization and understanding of what I was doing grew and grew. Before I knew it, almost two incredible hours had passed and it was time to land.

Now for the really tricky part. Before I attempted mine, I was able to observe two landings: one (and a terrific one, I might add) by my ever-supportive father, and then yet another by that stellar instructor of mine, with my sister, Erica, in tow as she flew tandem. Now it was my turn. This was another detail carefully worked over with Woody, and I was positive that I would finish a so-far life-changing day up with a really dialed landing. Let me get at least that solid on my first day. However, things don’t always turn out the way you want them to. Owing to that I came in a little too far out, Woody had to guide me in by standing on the beach and offering help through the radio, waving his arms as a visual. As luck would have it, I didn’t end up hanging upside down in a tree or being dragged out of the water. Everything turned out okay.

Now to finish my little summary, I’d like to thank my instructor Woody and my amazing parents for allowing me to explore an amazing new world and bring to life a long-held fantasy of fantasies. I want to thank them for giving me my wings and allowing me to fly. With my newly discovered passion, I can travel to amazing places like Kahana and see things as a fifteen-year-old that most of the world can only dream of. With their help, I can journey into Wonderland.

Haley Jernaill


Duck said...

Thanks for journal of your story here!!! We are always stoked by new flyers and their impression of our wonderful flying sites. We know how good we have it, but sometimes it is good to have a fresh perspective!

Thanks for taking the time to write and to add your voice to the monkeys're a monkey now and we will expect (and hope) that you continue your wayward journal and allow us to live vicariously through your adventures as you may live through ours...welcome! And, I hope you have fun!

Ka'a'awa Larry said...

Wonderful account of a wonderful flight.

Spelling, grammar and composition were all A+ and I nominate Haley as editor-in-chief of our website!!!

Well done!

sandy said...

Beautiful story Haley! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on your first true soaring flight at Kahana!
Welcome to our family.

And don't worry -- nearly every new pilot has benefited from a healthy dose of "radio-control" on their first many landings. I'm very glad you had Woody to guide you and you let him be your guide when needed. Best wishes for a lifetime of such wonderful flights!

Bon Bon said...

Wow, awesome write-up, Haley. Thanks for sharing your story with such detail. I only wish I was there flying with you. I wonder where I was? I MUST have been at w**k. Sorry I missed it.

But, it was fun flying with you yesterday. I made a short video flying with you and your dad and brother, I thought the Maui Cats would get a kick out of it:

Keep up the good work, you're doing great! :)

Thom said...

I read this one on my phone over the weekend and just now getting to comment.

All I can say is this was a great story. Glad to have you on the staff, I will be expecting more stories from you as you fly here.

Just to let you know I like them around 7am so I can enjoy my coffee.

I am glad we have Woody over here now. He's been fixing the few of us that let him. Now, I am not as embarrassed taking off in front of you as I was in Maui.

I guess you and your family are going to have move over here cause we are not giving Woody back. Well, when I get better than him maybe you can have him back....but don't hold your breathe...that will take a while.


JJ Jameson