Sunday, December 08, 2013

Monkey Merry Go Round

What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? A bunch of monkeys flying in a circle, going up and down and round and round, for hours! Today just looked liked it would have something much more to offer. By 1pm there was still not a cloud in the sky over the Koolaus. Out toward Kahana there were some big billowing cumulus clouds. But there was no wind, no wind at all.

Being the addict I am [editor's note: and too lazy to drive and hike Nanakuli], I went to Makapuu anyway. I heard that Maui Doug was up with a tandem but that was it. Driving past the LZ, I caught Harvey folding up after his sledder. A group was gathering at the lookout, and Frank was on Cactus hoping and praying for just a tad more wind. I was determined to hike up and wait, but then I felt a puff up the road from Sandy's, and Frank stated that he was getting flow from the back side. That pretty much dampened our hopes. Jetflap had flown earlier and has his own story of dampened hopes.

Colorado Gary was itching for his final flight before his trip back home to -10 degrees. He couldn't complain, since he had a great run of multiple flights during his stay. Just when we were about to call it off, Joey was getting all amped up by the Manics sign. "I feel flow here, really I do!" Frank confirmed it and was going to try and pull up.

Finally, bags were being thrown on backs and the pilgrimage to Cactus was on its way. The tourists looked puzzled. "What are these monkeys up to?" Well soon they would get their answer. Maui Doug had landed his tandem and the skies were bare, but now Frank was up, scratching but going up.

Joey was next, then Mad Dog. It was light, and we not only had to wait to launch, but wait till the area was clear of the scratching gliders. Ever so slowly: a launch, a scratch and then another launch. Jorge on a tandem, then Maui Doug (again), Sawzall, Ike, then I lost the order, but more kept launching and scratching.

Mad Dog and I had our hopes up to take a big left. The only lifty spots were 3-Poles and Antennas. Scratching up to 1,500 feet was a chore, but we both figured there just had to be something brewing in Waimanalo. Mad Dog went first as I was still scratching to get above the ridge. I finally did and headed north. I wasn't getting squat but for some reason I pushed anyway. I looked down, way down, and there was Mad Dog coming back to the scratching post. What did I do, seeing one of the best thermal monkeys crawling back low? Of course I kept going and suffered the same fate. Out loud, (thanks Swan), I yelled to myself, "You idiot!"

Now, groveling up from this low point was not the ride I was looking for. There were no fast passes today: beep by beep, I rejoined the monkey go round. e were close enough to grab hands, and we were traveling so slow that conversations were air to air rather than over the radio. Then you would see someone grab a thermal and get a whole 30 feet more than everyone else, or maybe it seemed that high cause we were dropping at the same time. The only jitters our wings got were wakes from passing gliders, especially the tandems.

At long last I finally had to get off the ride and pushed out to go land. Joey scratched and landed a little while before. I have to admit I am glad I flew, pretty much always am.

When I looked up from the LZ it appeared it had gotten a little better as the circling monkeys appeared to be a bit higher. Ike top landed and Joey had hiked back up, these two and Maui Doug got two flights. Ike stated that he had finally hit 2,000 feet, but he stayed in the playground.

Roll call in the air as best I can remember: Jetflap, Maui Doug, Harvey, Frank, Mad Doug, Joey, Ike, Jorge, Sawzall Rich, Sidehill, Reaper, Berndt, Skyler, Scrappy, Colorado Gary and Goto. On the LZ: Ginny, Mike 5-0, Jeanine La Peste, Divot & Leanne, Kris (Scrappy's much better half), Tim, Roland, Solar Jeff, Allison. Hangie Walter entertained us with his RC glider, he is good with that thing. Our four legged crew Kui & Lupo.

Later we heard tales of the west being won by AllanC. He'd better give us a writeup, or at least a track log! 2,900 feet and a trip back into the valley, solo too. He kinda reminds us of another crazy expatriate monkey, who I heard will be visiting soon.

Woody led a charge with a few of the Fab Five at Kaaawa, where they have started flying Fireflies off a new launch, Scrambler, and anding nicely at Swanzy Beach Park. Hopefully we will get a little writeup on that one. I think JJ Jameson is already pestering Woody for that one. Oh, if anyone got a picture today, please send it over and I will be glad to replace the weak color I had to use.

The Obama Flying Ban countdown is on: 12 days left. It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear and Go!!!


allanc said...

@Thom - here is my track log from Nanakuli -

Thom said...

Thanks AllanC. You are definitely a Doug Hoffman Prodigy. We are so glad to see you back and look forward to your exploits.

Thanks Alex for changing the picture on this story. That barrel of monkeys was killing me.