Monday, February 02, 2015
The flow veered traitorously from northwest to southeast over the course of the day. We launched Crazies in a cross north flow and then blazed downrange. Well, I did anyway; for some reason I was raring to go. The motherland was calling me! But for some reason I had to beg Thom to come with me. At least Courtney was super excited to tag along.
The three of us gaggled up over Puu O Kona, and Thom asked over the radio: anyone else getting funky rotor balls? Not sure about the balls part, but the air was kind of funky. I chalked it up to the pretty northerly flow. Also there were some fat low and dark bottomed cloud banks headed our way. I pushed out from Green Walls to get over the flats before I got sucked up and whited out or drizzled on. And I was thinking maybe I’d curve around to Olomana. Which is what I did!
Thom and Courtney followed. Thom followed higher, and Courtney followed lower. It was barely working at Olomana, pretty light and straight in from Lanikai. Courtney sank out to the prison ball field, and Thom eventually followed her down there in a flush cycle. I hung in there, sinking a bit, until it started to work better, and then circled and climbed like my life depended on it. Eventually I got over two grand. From there I knew I could try for the Pali if I wanted, or shoot for Lanikai. But my not so secret mission was definitely to land at or near Reaper’s Super Bowl Party. Got to find out what these ‘mericans are up to.
I cruised out over Enchanted Lakes looking for Reaper's house. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. All those capitalist roofs look the same! He was on the radio directing me, and waving a shirt or something, and finally I spotted his place. Holy crap it looked small. No way was I going to land there! Plus I was still pretty high. I continued toward the coast, thinking I might make it to the beach like I did once before. But I actually made it to Lanikai, high enough to pull in and work it. It was easy because there was absolutely no headwind. This was a special first for me. And when I say special first, I mean it was my first time making it there in a way that wasn’t completely insane. But that’s another story, which has never been told and probably never will be told.
Because the wind was so light, Lanikai wasn’t working in any normal way. I checked the sensor on the way over and it was reading 34 degrees at 3 mph. No way is that soarable. But when I pulled in there, I made a few passes at ridge height, and felt some little teasing thermals between the pillboxes. I managed to turn and started climbing, to my happy astonishment. I have never felt like I wanted to head over the back of Lanikai before but this seemed like the best opportunity I would ever have, and I had already planned on landing somewhere back there anyway.
I climbed out of there and drifted over the back to hook into a strong leeside thermal baking off of the houses below. Enchanted Lake is like a nuclear reactor for thermals! I got back to two grand or more before I fell out, and then I blazed toward Olomana, hoping to hopscotch a few more thermals, and connect all the way back to Makapuu. But I arrived low at Olomana, and couldn’t claw my way back up. I thought about landing at Goto’s house. He's not so much a communist as a socialist, but we get along pretty well anyway. But instead I landed next to Thom and Courtney at the prison ball field, where Donna picked us up.
Donna drove us to Barry’s house where a Super Bowl party was in full swing. Ray and Noell were there too. From there we took Donna’s car and retrieved ourselves all the way back to Makapuu, promising to bring the car back later. After we had a chance to plant bugs and trackers all over it.
By the time we got back it had gotten more easterly, a lot more. Dave jumped ahead of six pilots in line at Manics and showed us that it was still workable there, just in time to take the last of the air with him. We all ran up to cactus and took off in flow that was so east it was a bit rotored out on top. Dave blazed downrange in that easterly flow but found it a bit too east for his liking, and he turned back, only to get flushed to the beach at Ironwoods.
The flow was super cross along the ridge line, and it wasn't working that well. It was turning more easterly by the second. I concentrated on getting high enough to bail over the back to Koko Crater, which seemed like it would have great airflow in this direction. I left with 1400, which I wasn't sure would be enough, but it turned out to be plenty, especially after getting a nice pop halfway across.
And the crater was working beautifully. Nice ridge lift mixed with some interesting fecal thermals. I tried to get my comrades Thom and Courtney to follow me over but they couldn't quite bench up high enough to get started.
After soaring and thermaling there for quite a while I finally landed at Sandys, as the sun was setting behind the crater. In a stream of enormous bubbles. Thanks to Fireman Dave for the ride back.
Party Members: Bonnie, Jorge, Doug, Thom, me, Vin, Allegra, Frank, Dave, Shawn, Andrew, Kauai Joe and Courtney. Sympathizers: Colorado Kevin, Sandy June, and Johnimo. ‘mericans: Ray, JK, Reaper, and Ginny.
Posted by Alex at 6:21 PM