Sunday, February 01, 2015

Super Fun Saturday

I knew there was supposed to be something super about this weekend, and I was hopeful that it would be the flying. The forecast was super optimistic about a brief return of trade winds, but Saturday didn't start off very super at all. Super southerly flow and sea breezes confounded our best efforts to get an early start. But all's well that ends well. Thanks to Drew and Steve for figuring out that Dillingham was really working, despite the early offshore flow.

I passed Jeff and Harvey at Kahana this morning as I headed out to seek my fortune. That place was a glassy lake and the clouds were going the wrong way. So much for that rosy trade wind forecast! I called Thom, and he was not up for a big mission, but he said he'd monitor Makapuu.

I headed out west to see if that southerly sea breeze would support an interesting mission over there. Nanakuli looked kind of promising, but I was nursing secret hopes for the End of the World. I stopped to check out Makua. The flow was onshore, good direction and strength, but the clouds overhead showed a horrible mix of directions. I continued to Yokohama only to find the air flowing down the mountain from the north. Right about then, Thom started texting about Makapuu turning on. And then Drew and Steve started texting me about the Knob at Dillingham. I guess those trade winds were finally starting to trickle in, if a bit northerly. Drew said the clouds actually switched directions and it all started working.

I drove back around from the west side, thinking I'd have to decide which of those options was more promising. Then Steve texted me a picture of Drew in the meadow with a shit eating grin. I was just at the Kunia Road exit at that moment, and I crossed many busy lanes to get to it! I burned over there in record time and dashed up the hill. As advertised, it was sheer perfection. After an easy pull up in nice steady airflow on the east side of the Knob, I quickly benched up to join the guys who were still tearing it up at the meadow. I continued on to check out the point, which was working great, and then headed out to Kealia and beyond, with my wingmen right behind. I found nice easy lift way out past the drop zone, a nice mix of ridge lift and thermals, and I was wondering how far I could go.

Then Brian texted me: I see you! Come land at the accuracy pit at the drop zone! I replied, is that really okay? He responded, sure, there are no loads at the moment. I said I'd work on getting high enough and then give it a try. I've always wanted to land there but never thought it was a good idea. But if Brian said it was okay, I was super stoked to try.

I benched up for a while and then shot straight out toward the drop zone. Halfway there I texted again: is it still okay? No answer. I saw a jump plane take off. Uh oh. I arrived nice and high, over a grand. I texted again: Hello? Then Ashley texted: Jumpers in 5 minutes. Oh crap! Better burn it down now! I spiraled down and almost nailed the pit, close enough I guess, like in horseshoes, and I was just in time to watch Brian and the other tandem guys jump out of the plane, drop, deploy and swoop in to join me. What a blast.

Thanks to Drew and Steve for the retrieve! And for coming up with such a brilliant plan for the flying day. I was not patient enough to wait for the wind to switch, so I ended up driving all over creation, but obviously waiting it out was the wiser call. Colorado Kevin waited a bit too long and hiked up at the end of the day, but he felt it was too cross up there and ended up hiking down. Never a bad decision.

Speaking of waiting it out: Thom ended up joining forces with a handful of other guys at Makapuu and they eventually got some decent flow there, enough for a nice lighthouse flight. Seems like good Dillingham days often match up with lighthouse days at Makapuu.

Here's hoping for another super day tomorrow!

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