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It was the day of our weekly kite fly with the kite club.  And it was the day we slept late.  Every other day this past week we’ve up bright and early.  But not the day we need to be.  So, once again we are late to the kite beach.  No wonder we are known as the “Second Shift”.  We come later and stay later.  What made this day more interesting was a) the lack of wind, b) the new kite brought to the field and c) the civil war reenactment going on at the fort.  We were lucky to get a parking space close to the beach end.  Otherwise, it would have been a long, long trek with kite bags.

When we arrived, the other kite fliers were reduced to flying fighter kites.  The lower the wind the better for kite battles with fighter kites.  Most are made from bamboo and tissue paper or mylar wrapping paper.  Although there are some made with ripstop nylon and thin graphite spars.  Those last kind are usually made for looks and not battles.  With our crew, fighter kites can be very entertaining.  No one is serious about fighting.  They’re just happy to keep them in the air.  There were two casualties that had to go to the kite hospital that afternoon.  And the flier who caused the casualties is still claiming it wasn’t his fault.

Flo-tail Delta by Premier

We were in no hurry to try to put anything up in such a low wind.  However, the owner of the kite shop just received a new kite which I had seen online and thought immediately that my husband would like it.  It was a fifteen foot delta with long flowing tails.  Now my husband has several large deltas and the thought had crossed my mind that he didn’t really need another one.  Not to mention that these just barely fit in my car.  But the colors of this one are so beautiful and the tails so flowing,  I could easily let this one into the house along with the rest.  But would it go up in such light wind?  Amazingly, it did.  We put on extremely light line and it went up.  It was glorious.  The look on my husband’s face let me know it would be his.  And on a day with proper wind and some added altitude, it would put on a show all by itself.

Buka-Dako-Esche by Premier

As for me, the wind began coming up a bit and we decided to tryout the bridle modification on my new-ish “lizard” kite.  The Buka-Dako-Esche.  Last time it was a dive bomber that was a hazard to all around it.  This time it went right up and hung in the sky.  The modification was a success.  One last little tweak and it will fly like a champ every time.  I also got up my gecko totem.  It is a companion kite to the “lizard”.  Both decorated in the same style with the same colors.  They looked pretty good together.

The Australian Themed Set

Now, about those guns.  We fly at Fort Macon State Park.  Fort Macon was built before the civil war and was occupied by Confederate troops.  It was taken over in 1862 by Union forces who held it until the end of the Civil War.  Several times a year, there is a re-enactment of events in the history of the fort.  Today, the Union forces attacked the Confederates that were in the fort.  There was a lot of musket fire from both sides.  And some cannon fire from the fort.  It was pretty exciting and a lot of people came to see it.  The re-enactors did a magnificent job.  At other times, re-enactors come to show visitors how daily life was in the fort.  Fort Macon is really an amazing place and I enjoy visiting it again and again.

So, after a stop at the kite shop and a stop for a mid-afternoon lunch, it was time to go home.  And then it was a quiet evening in the backyard, watching the fireflies and sipping wine slushies.  Nothing finer on a summer evening.  Oh, and spring, too.

Fair Winds All.

In the past couple of posts I have mentioned Kite Aerial Photography (KAP).  We have a member in our kite club who enjoys KAP and has a reliable kite and the rig to hang a camera from it.  His is a very nice rig which, through the use of servos and a radio-controlled airplane controller, can aim the camera to some degree.  The camera is a not a fancy SLR with interchangeable lenses but an inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera.  One that could fit in your pocket with no problem at all.  Although there is the desire to upgrade to a larger camera with more megapixels and a larger rig to hang it from.  The only two limiting factors, or so I’m told, are the batteries and the space on the memory card.  He will shoot until one or the other gives up.  The makes for a lot of photos and a lot of deletions at the end of the day.  The beauty of digital photography is that editing is easy.  So here are some examples of Kite Aerial Photography.  These photos were taken during the Mile Of Hope kite fly and sand castle building.  I think they are pretty amazing.

Fair Winds All.

After more than a week, we finally got to the beach and flew some kites.  We had missed some wonderful days because the landscapers also decided the days were wonderful and came to clean up the yard.  Yes, we paid someone to clean up the yard and set it to rights.  There was years of neglect and my husband and I would have been working all summer and probably both have ended up in jail for attempted murder if we had tried to do it ourselves.  So we stayed at home and supervised the work and now have a respectable yard in a neighborhood of respectable yards.  Must keep up the status quo.

So, where was I?  Yes, the beach and a kite flying day.  I awoke to sound of rain on the sky lights and thunder over the ocean.  Not a good start.  We were rained out on Mother’s Day.  Not two Sundays in a row.  Now we can go flying any day we wish but Sundays are the weekly club fly when we meet with friends and enjoy the skies together.  Missing a Sunday means we won’t get to see some friends for another week.  That can lead to more talking and less flying when we do meet.

But I digress.  A check of the weather shows that there will be a two-hour window of sunshine just about the time the club is supposed to fly.  So we load up the car and off we go.  Low and behold, we are not the only ones.  There is an out-of-town friend and our intrepid leader from the kite shop there to fly.  Now things are looking up.  There has been no rain for at least two hours.  It is still cloudy but the winds are as predicted and the clouds are starting to move away.  At last a chance to fly those new kites that have just been sitting at home for the past couple of weeks.

Twin Tail Dragon by Into The Wind

First up is my new Twin Tail dragon by Into The Wind.  This was a Mother’s Day present.  I had admired this kite when we put it up in the Civic Center for the Home and Garden show this past March.  The winds were about ten to twelve miles per hour.  Perfect for just about any kite.  The dragon went up without hesitation and looked great.

Next up was my Joel Scholz Butterfly.  This one was a vintage kite with wooden dowels and a tubing connector.  Construction methods that were long ago replaced with carbon and fiberglass rods and plastic connectors.  It was made by Premier just after Joel Scholz gave them the rights to make it.  When quality still mattered and kites were made in America, not China.  It was a guaranteed flyer.  And fly it did.  Just popped right up and hung in the sky.

Joel Scholz Butterfly by Premier

My third kite was one that the kite shop owner put up.  It was a trial for a small parafoil that he is thinking of carrying at the shop.  I fell in love with it.  It is only about 2.5 sq. ft.  Small enough that I wouldn’t try to make something like it myself.  Yet it was so cute and flew so well I just had to have it.  So this one went from the beach to my bag.  No stop in the store.

Prism Stowaway Parafoil

Because of the rain earlier, I decided not to bring any stunt kites with me.  Instead I spent time visiting with other fliers.  Especially with our resident KAP flier.  It is real interesting watching him take aerial photos and talking about KAP.  For those who haven’t read my earlier post, KAP stand for Kite Aerial Photography.  It is fascinating.  Part of me wants to try it and part of me knows I’ve got to many irons in the fire already.

Meanwhile my husband is visiting and helping others and has put up two kites of his own.  Yes, we have his and hers kites.  They reflect our divergent interests in kiting.  For instance, I collect and fly dual line stunt kites and am dabbling with quad lines.  My husband does not fly stunt kites although he has a couple and keeps telling me he wants to try.  He had flown the Symphony 2.2 by HQ a couple of times.

Today he flew a couple of easy single line kites. One was the Prism Stowaway Delta and the other was a Turtle Easyflier by Premier.  He is a collector of turtles and has just about every kite that has a turtle on it.  And he flies most of them.  The first time we saw the Stowaway delta fly we nicknamed it the “kamikaze kite”.  It was jumping all around in the sky.  This day it went up and hung in the sky like a delta should.  In fact, I liked it so much, I have one on order.  Of course, the Easyflier is named so bacause it is easy to fly.  It is a delta-type kite with a broad tail incorporated in the design.  It is a fun kite.  A kite for kids.  Maybe that’s why my husband likes it.  I keep saying he had never really grew up.

Turtle Easyflier by Premier

Prism Stowaway Delta

We spent close to three hours on the beach this day.  The weatherman was wrong because the sky cleared up and became a gorgeous blue.  The sun shone and the temperatures were warm but not hot.  The wind was from the south and as close to perfect for kites as one can get.  Only hunger drove us off the beach and home.  And then what does one do?  Fresh air, sunshine, and a lovely lunch can only lead to one thing.  A nap!  The hammock called and I answered.  So until the next kite fly…

Fair Winds All.

I hope all the other mothers had as good a day as I had. The only kink in the day was the rain. I had two new kites to fly and no chance to fly them. Just as we were leaving home for the weekly club fly it began to rain. Not hard but hard enough to put a damper on the fly. Yes, when we arrived everyone else had already left or had not come at all.

So, what was my Mother’s Day alternative? A special breakfast out, an afternoon full of Star Trek Season Two reruns (thanks to my daughter who gave me the DVD set) and dinner prepared by my husband. A very lazy day.

Right now the wind is down so there is no flying today. Hopefully in the next day or two we will get a chance to fly our kites.  And my two new ones will have a taste of freedom in the sky.

Fair Winds All.

Yesterday the kite club helped out at the annual Mile of Hope event. Mile of Hope is a weekend at the beach for the pediatric cancer patients and their families from three major cancer centers in the state. Yes, I did say pediatric. These are children who have cancer and whose lives revolve around cancer treatments and hospital visits. They are children who just want to have fun like any other children. And this weekend gives them time away. Time to have fun.

Saturday morning they spend time on the beach, building sand castles, swimming, and flying kites. The kite club members come to fly some our bigger kites and put color in the sky for the kids. The local kite shop provides free kites for the children to fly.

Mile of Hope Kids Kites

The winds were not cooperating for the kite club this year. Blowing eight to ten was just fine but blowing from the north was a headache. This meant the wind was coming across the island and over the dunes before it reached the beach. Can you say “turbulence”? Not to mention the fact that there were also motels and buildings blocking the wind, too. We got a couple of larger deltas up but they wouldn’t stay up very well. The winds would die unexpectedly and the kites would come down on the beach among the people. Not good. The attempt to put up a HQ flowform with several Koi wind socks as line laundry was a flop. Even the lighter wind kites, like the Wala, wouldn’t stay in the air. So, all our plans for lots of color and lots of fun line laundry was for nought. Our local KAP (kite aerial photography) flier was even having trouble with his Sutton and KAP rig. The winds were so light, his rig was acting more like a kite anchor. So no KAP shots this day.

Sutton for KAP

Was it a lost day? Not a chance. The kites that were handed out to the children flew like champs. They had a ball with their small deltas. It was kind of embarrassing. Those plastic kites flying great while our ripstop creations lay in the sand. Ah well, the kids didn’t care, they were having fun. One thing I notice every year, the children start flying the kites and the parents end up flying the kites. A universal truth.

And what did I do during all of this? I concentrated on a ground display. I put up the kite club banner and five other banners of varying sizes. Then I unleashed my troupe of crabs, three yellow crabs and two red crabs, and my husband’s green frog and pink pig, all from HQ Kites. In case you aren’t familiar with a kiting ground display, the animals are ground bouncers which are filled by the wind and move around on the ground. They are usually tethered by a long leash to a single stake so they may move around as the wind changes direction. Kids love these and so do adults. The display was topped off by a collection of wind bubbles or petals by Gomberg Kites. Teardrop shapes in varying colors on a thin stick which bob and weave and dance in the wind.

After a few hours, we packed up our kites, banners, and animals and went back to the kite shop. As usual, time was spent commiserating about what wouldn’t fly and analyzing what did. Then it was off to do other things which for us was eating lunch and taking a nap. All that fresh air and sunshine can really be draining. So until the next good flying day…

Fair Winds All.

May 2011
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