Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Frosty Windows and Frigid Bay Crossings

First, I am very disappointed to have to write the first story of 2014. You all think you have it bad when JJ Jameson chirps demanding his coffee reads? Well, I have to live with him, and it ain't easy. My hopes are that others will start tapping the keys and reeling out daily accounts. We got a reprieve on Sunday with our 'Banisher' exiting on Saturday night, but he left his bag of wind, and a cold bag it was. This bag tormented many, but each day it gave a few pilots that taste of airtime that we all crave.

Sunday I snuck a flight in with Sylvain and Frank at Makapuu. I got vacuumed off Crazy launch and tried to enjoy the strong wind flight. The worst thing was, I could hear Jorge, Veso and Alex at Kualoa doing a photo session in the boaty air to the north.

Unfortunately with my poor initial decision, I arrived at Kahana in time to hike up, get denied and hike down. Sunday was a bust for many pilots as some even redecorated launch. Steve actually did a perfect top landing just beforehand, and even during this incident he landed okay, with just the wing being treed.

Others launched and had to land in the field below Rhino: Joey, a visitor and Berndt. Berndt hiked up for another go. The rest that attempted flight made it to the beach. Woody, Stalker, Berndt, and even Reaper with Annette sledded a tandem to the beach. I think only, One-Eye, that I caught packing up before my futile attempt,  Jorge, Veso, Duck, Alex and Kevin had bay crossing flights.  Jon Goldberg on his new Carrera  got a soaring flight and a few others made attempts but to no avail. Johnimo, Skyler and I hiked down.

Monday there were some flights but I was detained by that word that has been restricted from these logs. So others can fill that void.

Tuesday was a good day for me. After a little job in Mokuleia I got a text from Alex that conditions were "looking almost flyable." He
was right. So finally, on the 7th day, I got my true first 2014 flight. It was an easy crossing in the frigid north flow. Playing on the Kaaawa ridge with the Prez was just what I needed to get my head back into the clouds, not literally of course. It was cold and north as we played with what we've dubbed 'Slinky Thermals'. These are the ones that you turn in and lose way more ground than you gain in elevation. I got caught a few times back further than desired, resulting in a negative height gain as I pushed back to the front. Kualoa was a bust, with nothing working, as the wind was getting split by the ridge. With no yield I limped back to Kaaawa with Alex abnormally below me on arrival. Tried to get a picture of the top of his wing, but with no luck.

Steve joined us, electronic-less, and followed us over to Punaluu. There, it started to ramp up and clock back to the northeast. Alex made a dash and headed back to Kahana and then across the bay for one last glimpse of the valley. Steve and I were happy to make it back to Kahana where we met up with Gaza, who was breaking his 2014 ice over the rhino horn.

We all landed, while Drew, George and Steve (again) were up on launch for the last flights of the day in conditions that had turned too north. George on a large wing made it to the beach where he kited longer than he flew. Steve and Drew entertained us with sled rides on their FireFlies. There was another round of speed winging but I had already departed.

I know people on the mainland are reading this cold story and have absolutely no pity. Sorry, but we are just tropical flying monkeys: if it drops to 60 we are cold, and if it gets lower than that we are freezing.

It's Time to Fly, bundle up, Get Your Gear and Go!!!!


Alex said...

Sunday's well attended event at Kahana, with over 25 pilots, kicked off three days of epic strong north high cloud base conditions, with some very cold and beautiful views to be seen along the chronic track and elsewhere.

The next day, Maui Doug scored his second ever chronic at Kahana, in strong cold conditions, flying with his new gun, a Trango XC2, and topping out at a very chilly 3,900 feet. Lots of other folks flew earlier, including Brian on his Little Cloud tandem. And meanwhile Jorge and Veso traipsed along Green Walls to the Pali in tiny acro wings, for a Maunawili acro session at four grand. Can't wait to see the pictures and video from that one!

Then yesterday's chronic with Thom and Steve (for his first time) topped things off. I didn't hear what kind of flying happened at Makapuu but I'm sure someone must have flown there as well. Great to see the fireflies out at the end of the day.

Today it looks like we can take a break, since the wind is howling pretty strong, or maybe the fireflies will get some, before the wind lightens up for tomorrow.

Waianae Jim said...
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