Thursday, January 15, 2015
Launch is of typical Oahu standards: beaten down grass and scrub bushes on which to prop and/or tangle your wing. And I would say it's definitely a P3 and yesterday possibly a P3 1/2. The wind was blowing 90 degrees to launch from the south. This was the most cross wind takeoff I have ever attempted and almost didn't. To top it off there were some 9 meter speed wings flying above us.
Jorge was the first to go: he launched, left the hill and headed south in both direction and in altitude. He disappeared, but made it work, as only Jorge can. Alex was the next to pull up and peel off. He had what appeared to be a better cycle, but he got low, and then, for some crazy reason, he turned and zoomed back toward launch. His glider was screaming on a downwind, downward glide. He turned again and was well below launch. Oh, bomb outs here are, well, just don't do it. Alex made it up, somehow, and joined Jorge rising towards Makua.
Flystrong was alone, the last man on launch. Yuck! He suffered the same fate as JK, but he got pinned in a headwind on his final turn, and ended up nesting with some Albatrosses. JK would eventually hike up again, to a higher launch the speed flyers showed him, and flew over to join Jorge and me for the late session. Drew came over low across Yokohama to Makua, and made it up there, but didn't stay long, heading back to land at the point because he'd parked on the other side at the end of the 4WD road.
Alex had gotten around to Ohikilolo Valley, the south side of the far Makua ridge. I guess Alex had said it was horrible over the radio, but I didn't hear it. I saw Jorge get there low, turn and run back, but I was stinking high and gunning to be with Alex. Then Alex got high enough over there to turn and run back. Hmmm. I kept going, then hit a hole, dropping, losing just about all that height. I made it back low, about 700 feet above the Yokohama side of Makua Valley. I scratched up, and actually it was getting easier by now. The glass off had started.
Beer suck and a deep chill took Alex down to his car, where he found Bill and Allegra. JK, Jorge and I boated around in the easiest air ever. I laid back to take a nap and suddenly over our radios, a song could be heard: it's the end of the world as we know it … and I feel fine. I have had a rough 2014 and 2015, and things were looking glum, but recent good news has changed it to feel'n fine. I started dancing and singing along with the radio. Hmm, was Joey here, or maybe B-Ray? The song played on and I kept dancing the worm in my pod and flapping my wing. Finally it stopped, and Alex came on: I hate when other people do that, and clog the airways - but I couldn't help it, it just seemed appropriate! I told him I thought it was awesome.
There was an unfamiliar smile upon my face. The sun was glowing on the valley below us, and there were no condos, just one little building and a handful of people, was this even Oahu? I guess maybe people should venture out of Waikiki to really see what this place can offer, but that is another story. I was happy. This was one of the most picturesque flights I've ever had. But I don't fly much. (Editor's note: ahem). Thanks for the call Jorge and Alex!
As we are developing this site, we still don't quite know what to call it. But one name is starting to stick. I'm sure the speed flyers have their own name for it, but for us, this place is the End of the World. And as everyone knows, we have the standard three letter airport-style designation for most of our flying sites, so that works out well here: EOW.
When EOW is the call, It's Time to Fly, Get Your Gear including big boy pants, really think about it, and Go!!! Get ready for the most picturesque flight you'll ever have.
On the way back to our cars, we stopped for dinner at Coquito's, a Puerto Rican restaurant. Jorge and Alex had eaten here before. This was another first for me, and it was awesome. There are great places on all corners of this island, if you can find them.
Roll Call: Jorge, Alex, JK, Sidehill, Flystrong, Drew, Allegra and a handful of speedies, including Dop and Jake.
Posted by Thom at 8:31 AM