Monday, April 14, 2014

April Showers

Seventeen eager pilots flocked to Makapuu on Friday to enjoy a long day of light trades and sea breezes on the east side. After a promising early morning appearance, the downrange sky quickly overdeveloped into a dark and drizzly soup, but five of us still managed to enjoy some sprinkly round trips to various points between Greenwalls and Lanikai. And we welcomed 5-0 back to the air after a very long and difficult hiatus.

Don ventured downrange first, followed by Thom and me. Those two flew down Greenwalls together while I benched up at Puu O Kona, but they soon came back to join me because it was drizzling back there. I took an outside line to tag Olomana in a light drizzle and got some nice thermic lift on the near corner, enough to blaze back directly to Puu O Kona, and then follow Thom and Don back to Makapuu.

I passed Thom on my way to the lighthouse, as he was benching up at hang launch for another lap. He didn't say that's what he was doing, but I'd like to think I know him pretty well. Dude! Are we really going back into the drizzle for a few measly XC league points? Well, okay, twist my arm! Double Chronic to Olomana coming up!

I tagged the lighthouse as I watched him disappear downrange again. I followed and arrived at Puu O Kona as he headed out toward Olomana. After a while he faded off his approach and wafted back to Greenwalls, while I took a more outside line and committed to pulling in at the three pointed peaks. It was not drizzling too badly, but there was an ominous thick dark line growing in front of me.

By this time Thom was complaining of rain at Puu O Kona and retreating to Makapuu. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, Olomana was not working well. I found myself at ridge height, bouncing around looking for a thermal and waving to the hikers up there. Finally I found enough to escape and dash directly behind to Greenwalls, arriving there feeling low, and also feeling some drizzle begin to fall back there. I got myself high enough to punch out into drier air and curve around Puu O Kona to return to Makapuu.

Meanwhile Doug and Dave made their way to Puu O Kona, and Thom ducked back for one last soaking. Dave embraced the drizzle in his own unique way, flying a cloud street from Puu O Kona directly to Lanikai, enjoying a misty lift line all the way there. He was so high when he arrived that he figured he'd continue downrange, and aimed for the Pali, but he soon got low and opted to pull in at Olomana to bench up. He found it just as challenging as I had, and he was stuck there for quite a while looking for lift there before finally getting up and coming back to join us at Makapuu.

As we ended our cross country trips, we all headed out over Rabbit island and enjoyed some very unusual lift lines that took us high up and well past the islet, and then we floated down to land and enjoy a long debriefing. Thanks to 5-0 and Dave for the excellent beverages. Thanks to Thom for egging me on to extend my flight! I ended up scoring my second highest cross country score of the year. And Thom scored his highest of the year. Hopefully Dave will get a computer sometime really soon now and upload his track so we can learn from the lines he flew as well!

Roll Call: Goto, Kenny, Mike Benson, Allegra, 5-0, Ike, Thom, me, Fireman, Cmdr John, Enleau, Bunok, Sebastian, Doug, Joey, Frank, Roland. And possibly others! Also I heard some guys flew Dillingham: Brian in his mini wing, and possibly also Drew and Steve.


Thom said...

Thanks for the lunch read. i think we are going to have to invent some 'wing wipers' at least for you and Dave. That was weird drizzly day. I am done with these strong spring, sprinkley days.

We need some thermal riding before we do go to the dust devil playground of Chelan.

Allegra said...

Seventeen! For the record, I snuck in a quick one from Juice :)

Alex said...

Of course you did! I remember now. Sorry for leaving you out - I've changed the count and roll call to include you. Anyone else I forgot?