Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Ike to Maunawili

Today was another one of those unpredictable days. The range looked gorgeous but the sensors were spitting out North winds. Ike stopped by my house and twisted my arm into flying Makapuu. Alex was yearning for the Knob but I wasn't biting on that one after being vexed there the day before. We talked him into a Makapuu flight. I was the first to launch and flew out over the lighthouse to start the mission. This was the last shot I got of Ike before he went down range. He was charging.

Alex got up and joined me at the lighthouse. We looked out and Ike was skying out at Iron Woods. Alex and I were on the chase but never caught him. He flew straight from Iron Woods to Pu'u O Kona. Jorge would have been proud. No turns, just a flatland soar all the way. Alex and I tried the same but had to pull in to the ridge just before Pu'u O Kona to bench up.

While we were doing this, Ike meandered down Green Walls. The cloud base had fallen and started to carpet the skies. The cloud suck wasn't too bad, but base was around 2400' with occasional corridors up to 2600'. I caught up with Ike at Lanipo. We both tried several times to bench up and cross over the finger that drops from Lanipo Peak to Olomana. The transition kept sucking us down, and crossing over looked like a one way trip. I finally gave up and headed back toward Alex to try an Olomana run.

While Alex and I had futile attempts to push out to Olomana, stubborn ole Ike just kept hacking at Lanipo until she let her guard down and let him cross. He was gone from sight. Finally I caught a glimpse of him: he was half way to the Pali, or so it looked. He said the west side of Lanipo was working with this northerly flow. So I had to go back and try again.

But the spot we were using to bench up was no longer working as well, and I couldn't get up to what I needed to cross Lanipo. Ike was now getting low too in the back of Maunawili. He tried to come back towards Lanipo but was getting lower and decided to head to Luana Hills Golf Course. Ike caught a few bumps and skipped the golf course to land at Maunawili Park. It's a tight spot, he said, and if the wind were any stronger he would have turned to the longer runways of the golf course.

I headed back to Makapuu so I could go on retrieve. On our way to the LZ, Alex and I buzzed Rabbit Island. It is so freaking green its spooky. We got all the way to the back side. Of course Alex went further out to sea, and possibly got much better pictures of the back side. Maybe we will see them in a story some day, but for now you're stuck with my haphazard renditions of a log.

We landed and got a call from Ike: he was on the Bus. The ole guy self-retrieves too! Then he sprang for dinner to give me the lowdown on the flight.

It was a good ridge soaring day at Makapuu, although Alex will never agree when thermals were to be had at the Dill. We heard later that Drew and Brian got up from the Knob, while Allegra and Justin got sled rides, and Marc got his first taste of having to hike down from the Knob. Seriously glad I didn't go there again. Fireman Dave got a little para-park action later in the afternoon at Makapuu, but no downrange trip due to low clouds, apparently too low for Dave so I am guessing it had to be lower than 600', ha ha.

So It's Time to Fly, I Guess, Get Your Gear, Take a Chance on Where and then Go!!!!

Roll Call: Makapuu-Alex, Ike, Sidehill & FiremanDave.  Dill-Drew, NSBrian, Alegra, Justin & Marc

1 comment:

Alex said...

Great story, Thom, thanks for sharing. You are definitely warming up to this new reporting job, even without anyone nagging you constantly. Or maybe you have some internal voice harping away, I don't know! Of course it was fun flying with you and Don, even with the ridge soaring conditions and the low clouds. It was great to see Don charging like that on such a crappy looking day. Sometimes he gets a wild hair! And I guess we have to take what we can get these days. But I have to take issue with your opening line: this day was not unpredictable. The blipmap was crystal clear. It accurately predicted light northerly flow everywhere, and there is an obvious place to fly superb thermic XC flights in those conditions. (If you have the necessary launch skills.) I just couldn't find any partners in crime so that's why I found myself with a couple of hoodlums at Makapuu. Always more fun to fly with a crew. And I'm happy to hear a crew finally materialized for the late shift at the knob, even though it had got pretty light by that time. I'm very impressed to hear Justin hiked up there! Not our toughest hike but pretty close. Great job Justin!