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Columbia day 7
Today has dawned clear and blue. For the first time the mountain isn't clagged in early and we can see the impressive Buga 13500ft peak behind.
For the first time cereal appears as a breakfast selection, with a choice of pink or beige milk. I opt for scrambled eggs again.
The screen that I thought was a sat nav in the landy can play vids. So Carlos surprises us all watching rappers and their gyrating eejits whilst we go along. I'm bloody glad I'm not here for a fortnight. I shudder to think what could be next.
By the time we get to launch cu have started popping but perhaps not as high as we expected. As I'm clearly getting a lot of firsts this week I would have liked to crack 10000ft, but no matter. We launch in order just after 1.00 and head slightly to the north straight into our first climb to base. The wind drifts us towards the south and with it looking slightly more promising that way anyway we elect to go with it.
We got 1-2 up climbs, 4-5 up climbs, climbs with vultures, climbs in smoke and ash from the sugar cane fires. Epic climbs all and before we knew it we were 60k down the valley.
At this point we notice rain developing in the foothills so we top off at 9500 (so close argh) and go on final glide - which with the drift takes us another 15k downwind. I liked our primary choice of field better as it was bigger flatter and beside the highway (the others went to the second).
We land and pack away quick. The gust front approaches just as I get my bag on and it's obviously a bit more than just some rain. I get drenched in a biblical fashion and I find myself traipsing out of a very large field, soaked to the skin and carrying a collection of metal poles on my shoulder with lightning going off all around me. I was mighty relieved to get to the the main road I can tell you.
I sent my coordinates to our retrieve and fully expect him to pick me up as he comes down the valley on the main arterial road but he's on the foothills B road so gets the others first. So now I'm on the wrong side. No problem, Carlos simply reverses the half mile or so back up the southbound carriageway to pick me up. We sing along to the dreadful music vids all the way back where we have a beer and a bite to eat and I find myself nodding off at the dinner table.
I'm going to relive the tracklog on google when I get a chance as it was another epic day.
3.5hrs in the air and 75k. ... See MoreSee Less
Experience a canyon speed flight in 360!
Columbia day 6
Wow, Yowza and Ai carrumba
I sleep til dawn for the first time which is made all the better as I had an early night
A little later start today which gives me a chance to catch up on some emails and we're on our way by 10.30.
On the way up we met the same bull as yesterday. How do I know? I swear I saw him smile as We came around the corner. He doesn't flinch again and Carlos drives around.
We rig and the sky looks good. We don't want to shoot our bolt so wait for a bit and all launch after 1.00.
I don't really know where to go from here. We had the most amazing flight. Multiple trips to base at 9000ft headed north to buga (sp?), and came back south of launch again for a round trip of about 50k. If you don't count a 3k inland float from dizzard this was my first XC.
For those who don't know Dustin has the world HG distance record. How the hell did he take a waz in his 11 hours in the air? I tried and couldn't squeeze a drop. I couldn't relax enough in a thermal and it wasn't any easier doing 75kph the rest of the the time. Just wasn't happening.
Airspace here is controlled by the military and all flights should have a flight plan. The arrangement is that free flyers don't go west of the dual carriageway and Cali Int ATC don't have anything flying east of it. We were well within the agreement when an Airbus a320 flew below us at about 6000 close enough to hear the whistle of the wings. A new experience I don't care to repeat.
The clouds darken and a sugar cane fire triggered a spectacular cu congestus close to the LZ so I land PDQ and the others soon after. With all that in 3 hours airtime what a day. ... See MoreSee Less
Columbia day 5
The mosquitos have found where I've been hiding and told all their mates
The day has dawned, as well as itchy/scratchy, a bit overcast. With no need to hurry we meet at 10, load up and head to launch after stopping off in town to get some supplies. I bought a pair of flip flops - half a pair of 9s and half a pair of 10s.
Ever heard of the Brahman breed of cattle? They're the lop eared things that are prevalent in Africa, India - and here. Now I don't know if this one was a bit hard of thinking or supremely confident when he saw Carlos bearing down on him in a Land Rover but - fair play - he didn't flinch and Carlos loses his first game of chicken
He doesn't take to well to this result and proceeds to rattle up the hill at an alarming rate of knots until someone suggests we walk the rest of the way. It was only when the cloud of dust receded did we stop to consider how far that might actually be.
Dustins girlfriend Natalia walked with us and pointed out flowers, birds and trees which was nice to learn about and a good opportunity to get our breath back. The air is thin up here ok?
At launch there is still no need to hurry but we get ourselves ready and sit down for a snack and a chat. Things didn't start to look even promising until 1.00 and as Natalia had a meeting to go to she launched her PG with not even a sniff of lift all the way down.
It was another hour before signs began to tempt us but with the sky looking less promising it was now or never so we clipped in and Texas Jeff launched. I went not long after when he got some lift but almost as soon as I did he left and and headed towards the LZ.
I saw a small cloud of vultures circling and headed over there and got a few turns until they buggered off and I had to make a decision on landing
Carlos picked us both up and we had to gnash our teeth watching dustin and stein cruise around in low earth orbit for the next 3 hours as the sky opened up and looked as good as it has done all week. Argh. ... See MoreSee Less
If any KHPA member would like to borrow club kit please contact the current holder listed below via a club official listed on the Contacts page:
Go Pro Camera - Adie
Event Shelter - Fergi
Security in Flight DVDs - Fiona
Tandem hang glider - Daisy
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