Monday, October 29, 2012

King Me

This rare captured view of the top of the wing flown by the King of Kahana did not come without a price: I had to fly for 3 hours 52 minutes, through 2 wet squalls, across the bay to Kualoa, and all with only a half a granola bar and some water. Okay, so maybe it was not that bad of a day!

I had missed Saturday's flying by arriving too late and having a short curfew. I did not get much sympathy, because apparently everyone is under the belief that I fly every day any way. This of course is not true, but pretty close.

Sunday was earmarked for Kahana to be the spot. I picked up Ike and we headed to Kahana with info that Alex was already in the air. Wasting no time, we hiked East launch. We met Torrey Bob and Donna on low East and that is where Ike stopped. Gaza and I kept going to high launch to avoid lines and ensure a flight.

Launched just before noon, got up and waited for Ike. Bob and Donna decided to do some launch maintenance and had to get plucked from a tree with help from Gaza, Ike and Lake. I tried to Bay Cross 3 times, knowing that Alex and Jason were already over there, but failed.

Jim swung east, and went to Punaluu, to end up at Haaula. I was benching back up after failed attempt number 3, and saw Ike prepping to launch. The winds had gotten ligther and he top landed on low. Instead of hiking up higher he launched from low again, and got a ride to the beach. Several others did as well.

Gaza and I shared some thermals but he scored a fatty, got high and crossed the bay. I kept trying to get higher, and finally I had enough to join him. It started to drizzle, and then it got a little heavier. The glasses came off, and I headed out over the bay, covering my flight deck and praying my glider would not hit the saturation point.

The drizzle cleared and I opened my deck. I had 1,200 feet still, and was a stone's throw away from Crouching Lion. I made it over there as Gaza was leaving, electing to go land before the next squall. By the time I got up on the Kaaawa side, Kahana Bay was getting wet, but I wasn't, so I stayed over there, alone.

I watched the Kahana hillside peppered with wings getting balled up to hide under the Lake Shelters. Reaper had to sidehill his tandem with Annette due to a soaked wing. I was staying dry but getting hungry. I found a granola bar in my flight deck while stowing my glasses. I got 2 bites and then it slipped from my hand. Rats!

Finally it was appearing drier at Kahana. I don't mind landing in sand (unlike one of our pilots who now treats it like poison oak), but I don't like landing in wet sand. I started to head in when below me I could see another rare sighting. Black Betty and Stalker were at the Lion. So I turned back. I couldn't let him fly alone over on this side.

He did not make it, and after a few more passes over Bobo's, the smell was getting to me, and I headed to land. Again, I was confronted with a glider making it over. Ah, but this was Alien Alex, who never has a failed attempt. Ok, I decided to spend a few more minutes up there with the King, and then I looked lower, and there was Jason, who came across with Alex for their second trips for the day.

Alex said he was going for Kualoa, but there were some squalls offshore, and I wasn't sure about following. Alex said, we will just go for a quick tag and then run back. Easy for him to say in that time machine. Jason and I followed to just tag Kualoa and bail back to Kahana.

On our way back, we found Stalker. He had made it on his second try! The pending squalls appeared to be losing strength, so again I hung out for a while. Finally I headed back, as others were launching and hiking. I was done and needed to land. I had drunk all my water!

Thanks to Yolie and her family for filling me with a sandwich and some pasta salad.

The roll call of the day will definitely have some holes, so if you read this and know another name, especially the visitors, chirp in, so we can keep an accurate log. Alex, Jason, Woody, Ike, Sidehill, One-Eye, Reaper and Annette, Stalker, Gaza, Lake, Duck, Bonnie, Larry Mac, Sharky, Roland, Harvey, RK Jeff, and possibly more. Visitors: Torrey Bob and Donna, Jesse, Grandpa Reaper (Turbo Bob, Reaper's mentor from the very old days), Crispy and Kent from SD, Kevin from Colorado, Jason's friend Matt from Alaska, Sylvain and Aurelia. We also had a visit from Christine who warned us that she might start flying again. I know I missed some names so please chirp them in so I can complete the log.

It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear, including flight deck food, and Go!!!

JJ Jameson


Alex said...

Great story Thom, thanks for posting! I love that picture of Black Betty over Swanzys. Nice to see you and Jeff over there, it's been a while!

Alex said...

Also your line about Gaza crossing the bay might be the funniest line I ever read in a story up here.

Anonymous said...

I figured 'fatty' would have more than one meaning especially with a call sign like 'Gaza'

Hopefully others will chirp to get the log update.