Monday, July 29, 2013

Calm Before the Storm

Double dipping can be exhausting, but with a pending storm shutting us down for a while, you get what you can get. Makapuu appeared to be the place to go this Sunday morning. Reaper called and said it was looking epic. I skipped morning chores, again, and raced to Makapuu.

Five-0 was the guinea pig on Manics. He gave his first launch a go and we got wrapped up into a little tango dance, actually a tangle dance, but after that most of us decided to leave Manics for the true Makapuu Boys. He and Frank may have been the only Manics launchers at this time.

Crazy man launch queue got crowded and a few headed up to Juice. But it wasn't long before the skies were filled. Skyler was the first up and out and Reaper had Kea on a tandem. Chris, Skyler's and Kea's dad, got his first Oahu flight. He had to have been psyched to be up in the air at the same time with his two kids.

Fireman snuck out of Juice, and I helped several others off Crazy mans, and Bonkerz arrived just as I was launching. I wanted a big downrange flight, but the trip just to the ironwoods was through some agitated air with some nasty Rabbit Poop. I still proceeded, hoping to catch up to Dave, who was already on glide to Olomana. I was hitting cloud base at 1,800 feet, darn it, and peeking to the range. The clouds were crowding in and getting lower. I watched Dave drop out of sight and so I headed back to the Makapuu landing zone.

I could hear that Alex and the gang had already crossed from Kahana to Kualoa, so I was determined to land and get up over there. It was a slow glide back to the landing zone, and by the looks of things everyone was landing. I guess everyone had had their fill of Makapuu. This BLOWS! Should have gone to Kahana where at least it only SUCKS!

Bonkerz landed as I was packing up to head to Kahana. She got wind of my plan and headed that way as well, so we both got the double dip of the day.

I crossed the bay and rode the rotor at the grovel pit. I wanted to get up to see the Tala in action. Ike had flown the Tala across the bay with Alex, who said it was a fast and strong XC contender, keeping up with his Icepeak. Most likely that had nothing to with the 13 year veteran pilot dangling below it. I gave up and headed back to try again. By then Alex and Ike had been in the air over 4 hours. I gave it another whirl and made it with a big black cloud coming at me. Yup, I had to put the windshield wipers on for a bit, but thankfully the wing stayed overhead. I dried it out on a quick jaunt to Kualoa with Gaza below me offering me a retrieve, and the job then got handed off to Alex.

Alex radioed up the radar conditions: a long line of squalls bearing down from Makapuu to Kahuku. I could hear the second shift at Makapuu getting hit, and they were all trying to land yet again. I pushed bar from Kualoa all the way to Kahana with Alex on my tail feathers below, in case I needed an early bail out. I made it to Kahana and I think I was the last to land. Harvey was still on launch but must have given up when he saw the pending blackness approaching.

We packed up on the now vacant grass across the street. Woody noted that the park was the most crowded it has ever been, with no real estate to stretch a wing all weekend. We laid there and relaxed till the sprinkles started dropping. We all agreed, it was a good thing that we got sucked up at Kahana because for the next few days it's really, really gonna BLOW.

It was Time to Fly, Keep Your Gear Dry and Liver Moist, it might be awhile!

Makapuu Pilots: 5-0, Franky, Maui Doug, Jorge, OahuChris, Reaper and Kea, Skyler, Chris (Skyler's Dad), Allison, Bonkerz, Fireman Dave, Brent, Stalker, Sidehill, FireJack, Bay Area Bob and Jakob. Possibly more but that's all I can remember.

Kahana Pilots: Alex and Ike for over 4 hours, Gaza, Maui JJ and Haley, Woody, Jonathan, Sebastian, Kevin, Sidehill, Bonkerz, Harvey.


Alex said...

Thanks for the writeup, Thom! I shot across the bay early in sweet thermic conditions, after topping out around 2,700 feet, but to my dismay no one was able to join me. I flew all the way out over Mokolii before heading back to find Don groveling over the Rhino Horn in weak conditions. I joined him there, and to my horror, we were both stuck there groveling for an hour or so before conditions strengthened enough for us to climb out. By this time my bladder was not happy, but I followed him back over to Kualoa, where we considered making the jump to the south. Instead we opted to wait for you, and we came back to the Crouching Lion to watch you surfing the eddies above Rotor Village. After your long struggle there we watched you turn back, and then we followed you, but I tempted fate and a ruptured bladder by skipping Kahana to tag Sacred Falls. Finally I returned to land at the LZ and see if my bladder had survived the four and a half hours in the air. Leonardo scored me for 21 miles (which is more like 81 in Kauai miles) and 50 points, my fifth highest scoring flight this year! It was a huge relief to finally empty my poor distended vessel, and then to see you finally get across and to chase you in the car to Kualoa and back for my third round trip there this day, but now with some tasty cold beverages to refill my tank. On the right day we'll take that four and a half hours to fly from Kahana to Makapuu and back. Now that would be worth the bladder abuse.

Thom said...

You know that is why I try so hard to cross the Bay. Its the first hump for me to that elusive Kahana to Makapuu trek. I think we will get it this summer, I just hope I can keep up with you and Ike.