Thursday, December 19, 2013

Makapuu Chronic: A Tale of 75 Miles

The stars lined up perfectly on this day, with a high cloud base and very light northeast perpendicular wind teasing our majestic Koolau mountains with effortless grace and Aloha, or Hā, the breath of life. Hawaiian ghosts past came out of the woodwork to fly on this special day. And well they should, as we are very lucky if we have six of these astounding days a year. A few pilots were already downrange when I launched Manics at 11 am, so I didn't hesitate to get on with it, starting what I thought at the time would be just a normal cross country flight.

As I drifted down Green Walls at 3,000 feet of altitude, it became very apparent that the wind direction was perfect for travel in both directions effortlessly. Still I had no idea what thoughts would later cross my mind and keep me in the air for five and a half hours of splendor and beauty, surpassed by none and matched only by maybe a couple other places in the world.

It's all a blur now: all the pilots I flew with, or whose paths I crossed. I do remember catching up with James behind Olomana at the end of Green walls and flying with him til Booga Booga land, where he opted to continue on, and that's when the light came on! Bells and whistles started to ring! This is the day, I thought to myself, it's too perfect! So somewhere in the beginning of Boogaland behind Kahana I turned around to return to Makapuu.

I can't remember the number of gliders that I passed as I was heading back, but it seemed like every 10 minutes there was another one going or coming! I remember chatting with Jorge, Veso and Maui Tim as we crossed paths. Arriving back to the Pali corner the clouds were thick, dark and solid from Olomana back to the main Koolau range so I pressed out to Olomana. I came within a mile of making it there, but since I was not sure if I would dirt or make it, I turned around to the Pali. My GPS read 0.9 miles to Olomana, and 1.5 miles back to the Pali. Did I do the smart move? I made it back low, but scratched back up to save the epic flight.

Onward I pressed, now cutting across the flatlands behind Olomana but in front of the main Koolau range, til I hit the meanest darkest cloud base which sucked me up like a vacuum cleaner! Then it was rock-n-roll on full bar towards the light, way in front and above. I tried hard and barely made it to sunlight. I was very impressed with how the Niviuk Peak 3 stayed open in the turbulent lift as I was just waiting for a collapse of epic proportions!

Now back in front of Green walls and away from those ominous clouds it was a cruise back to Makapuu. I was so high when I passed over the lighthouse, I thought a little whale watching was in order, so I went a half mile or more out to sea towards Molokai before turning back. That's when the whole chronic idea came to its full potential in my mind: I'll just head back downrange AGAIN, til I'm bursting with the intention to pee, and then I'll turn back!

By now the clouds at 3pm were thinning out big time and cloud base was still at 3,000 feet, so away I forged. This time at Puu O Kona I opted for the flatland crossing to Olomana, just for grins-n-giggles. Arriving at Olomana, the prospect of getting much altitude seemed doubtful at best, but one lone cloud passed over me so I thermaled up to 2,200 feet and ran to the Pali under it. Making it there low was no problem, as I had been there just one hour before at the same low spot on the Pali corner. After that the cruise control was on, staying at altitude down to Hygienics.

By then I had to pee so bad, I thought I had better turn around and hightail it back on full bar most of the way, to avoid peeing in my shorts. I met Sidehill or JJJ or one of those monkeys at H-3, and I tried to fly with him, but my bladder was full, so I stomped on the bar and slowly left him to the clean air without me.

It's sickening to think of what could have happened if I had been able to stay in the air longer: I could have gone further before turning back, and then I could have gone downrange again for that 5th turn point! [Editor's note: no need to be sick over this! The start was the 5th turn point, so after two complete laps the score was already maxed out - any further flying would be ignored for scoring purposes.]

Moral of the story: five and a half hours and 75 miles later, I was in a daze, and I will never do that again … til the next epic day! It was a blast, and I now have plenty of airtime to hold me over while Obama and his TFR grace our homeland. After he departs I know the monkeys will swing in the thermals where they peacefully belong, navigating their low orbital surveillance of the Hawaiian skies.

Best wishes to all monkeys and visitors alike for the holidays. Fly safe, fly far!!!

Aloha, Mad Dog


Alex said...

Great story, Mad Dog, and excellent pictures too! 75 miles is quite a long flight for our tiny island. But you don't need to regret ending your flight when you did: you already had your 5 turn points. Don't forget the start counts as a turn point. So that means ONLY two repeated laps will ever be counted. You did it exactly right. I think that your distance and score will stand as a record for a long time. It takes a Mad Dog to fly a double chronic of that magnitude!

Thom said...

Thanks Mad Dog, an epic tale which will stay on top for along along time. You know that you and all who write here way before JJ's deadline are just mellowing him out.

2013 has been amazing with new trails blazed and records shattered seems hard to believe we can do much more, but we will try.

JJ Jameson has been overly pleased by all the different pens that have graced this digital diary.

2014 may be the year of the diaper or Monkeys may have to learn how to use catheters.

JJ just whispered, as long as our present staff keep scribing and our shutter bugs keep flicking, it'll be another great year.

Mad Dog, you are the man, it was awesome to share the sky with you even if it was only to watch your vapor trail stream toward Makapuu, at least I hope it was a vapor trail.