Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Good Company

Sunday’s super light easterly conditions and high cloud base only tempted a small hard core group of us to Kahana. Getting up and going somewhere from Kahana in those conditions is always a challenge, but any challenge is more fun with good company. I hiked up with Scrappy, Duck, Gaza and Hendrick, with high hopes of heading east. Far east.

I scratched up first and soon thermaled my way up to three grand over Puu Piei. Wow! Now I was going places. I blazed across the bay, but the air over Kaaawa was sinky and offshore, and I just couldn’t get a purchase anywhere. I sank to Swanzys with my hopes dashed.

But only for a moment. Kris showed up out of nowhere and said she’d give me a ride back. I was back in the game! Meanwhile Hendrick, Scrappy and Duck had thrown in the towel and landed, sick and tired of scratching and struggling. Dang it. Only Gaza was left in the air. But he’s very good company. And thankfully he waited for me to hike back up and relaunch.

So now the plan was to try going the other direction. We got high over Puu Piei and headed to Punaluu. Gaza struggled to get high there and finally headed over to the condo beach to land, where Duck met him with refreshments. Now without any company, I got high in the back and considered heading east via boogaland. But I couldn’t get much higher than 2,500 feet, and from that height it looked like a really, really, long scary crossing. Maybe another day, if I can get a higher start, and I can convince someone else to go first.

I heard Jorge over the radio asking about conditions out my way, saying he was going to try a downrange flight from Makapuu. Pete was at the sand bar egging him on. But not long after that I heard Jorge say he was turning around because of the lowering cloud base. Too bad! I was looking forward to his company.

I headed back to Kahana, where I found Drew buzzing over north launch, miraculously scratching his way up in ever lighter conditions. I clawed my way back up high and headed across the bay for one last attempt. This time I made it! But by now the clouds were quite a bit lower than before, so the notion of heading farther east than Kualoa was off the table.

But it was a beautiful time of day to be floating around in light conditions over Kualoa and Kaaawa. A few Iwa birds flew very close to me and I was happy for the company.

While I was up there, Thom texted me that he had just enjoyed a flight around Makapuu in the Bellanca with James. And he texted that James was now headed my way! I did my best to stay up in the last few bug farts over Kaaawa, while Duck and Gaza and Drew were finishing all the refreshments on the beach. Finally James buzzed into view from the north shore side in the island’s most beautiful red airplane. I snapped photos as he zoomed past me three times, and then he retreated back the way he’d come. Finally I landed at Kahana to enjoy the last beverage that the guys had kindly saved for me.

What good company indeed!

1 comment:

Thom said...

Wow, you just might make JJJ speachless. Two stories today meant an extra cup of coffee....so much for speechless.

I enjoyed giving up a day of flying on what appeared to be an epic down range day, to fly with James in the amazing Bellanca. It's quite an experience and James is one heck of a pilot and his history of Hawaiian Airlines first inter-island plane was truly a delightful education.

We were both shocked to round the corner at MPU and only see Sandy June,aka SportySpice and Maui Doug on a tandem. ITS Sunday where the heck was every one!!!!!

Sure is great to have a wing man, just you IP7 twins need to throw a drag shute.