Monday, February 12, 2018

Lazy Sunday

This past Sunday morning I rolled over and took a peek out my window. I saw some nice light ripples from the north shimmering across the marina in Hawaii Kai, and I could also see the Three Poles in the clouds at 900 feet. Back to sleep I went. But when I woke later I could see cloudbase getting higher pretty fast. Being that I haven't been getting too much airtime and no XC airtime, I started to get hopeful. As it turned out it was shaping up to be a pretty nice day. I got to Makapuu about noon and hung with the wife on the beach for the minimal required time, watching everyone launching Manics. I hiked over to Manics and got into the air myself. Joey, Jon Goldberg, Alex and Jorge were already on their way down range.

The day looked pretty nice and there were nice thermals, but with some long pauses between cycles. That meant if you glided somewhere low and the thermal train had just left, you might have a long uncomfortable wait for the next one to arrive. Not our typical conditions and one that sent pilots exploring various options for getting themselves downrange.

Goldberg had already thrown it in and headed back to Makapuu, while Alex skipped off of Olomana and arrived at the Pali quite low. Jorge decided to try some flatland flying and headed toward Kailua Dump. Alex got a thermal and headed over to Haiku Stairs, but didn't think much of his chances going further and headed back. Jorge's flatland trip didn't work and he landed at Le Jardin.

By the way, Thom "Phoenix" "Sidehill" Therrien, is just back from his awesome Columbia trip. I think he said he was butt raped by a bunch of coked up FARC rebels, but I might have got that wrong. Anyway he was out chasing down pilots who landed out while being sick as a dog himself. Even when not flying, he is making paragliding life here better.

At 3000 feet, I came to the realization that the distance between Lanipo and the Pali is only marginally farther than the distance to Olomana and would only involve the risk of one low save instead of two to get me to the Pali. As I glided across Maunawili Valley I was surprised how little of the north headwind I encountered, not sure why. I arrived at the Pali with decent altitude, but "middled" around for quite a while waiting for some real lift to materialize. It finally did and I headed over to Likeke where I found Alex on his way back from Haiku.

I looked down to see Marc down low by the Pali Lookout. I think I said over the radio, "Is that Marc down there?", But what I was thinking was "Hey, there is Marc and I have never seen anyone climb out from down there". But I didn't want to ruin his buzz and I hoped he would prove me wrong. After soaring the Pali Golf Course for a very long time, he finally landed.

Back to the Pali we wandered, and Drew appeared. I figured Drew would be pushing it so I might head back downrange. Alex climbed high and headed back towards Makapuu, while I got up and headed back to Likeke. I looked back and no Drew. Sometimes there is a glider in the air but you can't see it, like a "Where's Waldo" game. But Drew had scooted back towards Makapuu with Alex. Alex later reported no lift on the Greenwall and eventually sunk out with Drew near Puu O Kona.

Heeding his advice, I took a thermal at Mt. Olympus nice and high, above the nearby clouds, in order to avoid a similar fate. I got high and found lots of lift to get me back to Makapuu where the crowds were gathering.

It wasn't a great Makapuu XC day, but it was the best one we have seen for a while and I am hoping for more. See you out there.

3 comments:

Alex said...

I love this story! I especially love the opening where Dave describes his process of weather analysis. Whereas I spend hours the night and morning before a flying day poring over charts and models, Dave gets a lot of mileage out of a simple kitchen window forecast!

I added my photos, using a picture of a specked out Dave over the Wilson Tunnel for the cover. And I added an animation of the six out of seven XC tracks I got from everyone. Still waiting on Jorge but I can add it later I think. By default the animation is from Dave's perspective but you can zoom out to watch the action from before he launches or click any other pilot to change to their perspective.

Super fun and challenging day. I can see my exact mistake in the animation where I didn't bother to continue in the thermal at Mt. Olympus on my return leg. Also, in case it's confusing to anyone, when Dave says Likeke, that's his personal name for the peak known to hikers as Lanihuli, the one between the Pali lookout and the Wilson Tunnel.

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Nour said...

Very informative and enjoyable as well. This video is excellent too. Thank you for taking the time to share this. I hope I get to your level of expertise soon -Nour