Finally Some Genuine Thermaling !!

Trip Start Dec 03, 2007
Trip End Apr 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 07-08, 16 2008
While an island in the middle of the Pacific is prone to being swept by the strongest winds, it can also on rare occasions be the quietest little paradise. And for the next two days following our flight over Koko Crater, this is exactly what was on the menu.
In terms of paragliding, no wind and clear sky mean no flying for soaring sites and a happy day for thermaling sites. Thus, we all headed to the best thermaling site on O'ahu called Nanakuli. Just like Koko Crater, we must hike up to launch and this time, it's a bit more demanding. Just a little bit. Steeper and definitely much hotter, the hike to the lowest launch is about 15-20 minutes for the fit subject and 30+ minutes for the lazy one. On a light lift day or simply to maximize the chances of staying up, one can hike higher to a mid launch or even higher to the high launch. The hike to the high launch is certainly challenging but might make the difference between a 5-minute 'sleddy' and being up for hours.
While many pilots hiked up to higher grounds, I decided to save energy and hoped maximize my flight time by taking off from the low launch. That strategy proved suitable all three days I flew Nanakuli since I managed to fly my way up from low launch to cloud base; I guess my Pembertonian thermaling skills paid off.
Being new to the site, I opted for local flights while many local pilots went XC on the back ridge. For local flights, Nanakuli is very generous in landing zones ranging from wide cleared areas to school yards and baseball fields. All this with the splendid view of the coastline of course.
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