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Tropical Storm Bonnie played havoc with any kiting plans this weekend.  Not because of high winds nor lots of rain but because the rain came in irregular squalls  That made us very reluctant to take our kites out to the beach.  The weather predictions said rain all day, all weekend.  The actual weather was  warm and sunny with unexpected showers that would drench anyone and anything and then blow through, leaving more sunshine in its wake.  It was aggravating to see all that sunshine and know that as soon as you walked from the car to the beach, it would start to rain again.  So there was no kite flying on the holiday.

What was scheduled was a talk for an OLLI group (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) from Duke University at the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores, NC.  This is a group of retired individuals living around Durham, NC who do not believe that retirement means you sit at home watching television for the rest of your days.  The institute coordinates continuing education classes at the university and group trips  to visit new places and gain new experiences.  As part of this trip, the group was learning about kites and kite flying.  Don Dixon of Kites Unlimited gave the presentation and my husband helped by bringing kites to show and talk about what we like to fly.  My part of the program was to show the kites I had made.  As there were quilt makers in the group, this brought up discussions about the techniques used to make the kites.  The group was small but they all were interested and a few came to the kite shop the next day and bought kites to take home.

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The weather cleared up the day after Memorial Day.  Most of the weekend visitors had left the beach so we went out for a short afternoon fly.  I really needed some practice with a quad line kite so the only one I carried was the Shook Mesh Revolution.  The Shook Mesh is only made by Elliot Shook of Flying Smiles Kite Shop in Corolla, NC.  However, they are available from our local kite shop, Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach, NC.  It was the perfect kite for the winds that day and we had a wonderful couple of hours on a relatively empty beach.

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The Shook Mesh Revolution Kite

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Fair Winds All.

Yes, it is official, the summer season and the tourists have arrived.  We went out to Fort Macon State Park for the weekly kite club fly.  The plan was to fly only red-white-blue kites for Memorial Day.  We went especially early as we knew traffic would get crazy later.  And, boy, were we right.    The parking lot was already about half full when we got there and people kept streaming down the walkway to the beach.  A larger than normal number of fishermen were arriving, too.

As per usual, the winds were extremely light.  That seems to be the curse of the Sunday morning.  The large Premier powersled wouldn’t fly.  Though not for want of trying.  We didn’t even try the double-box delta.  What did fly was my original Joel Scholz Eagle.  It took a little work but once it was high enough, it sat in the sky.  I also tried to get up the Eagle parafoil I built several years ago.  There just wasn’t enough wind.  So most of our red-white-blue was left sitting in the sand.

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Original Joel Scholz Eagle

 

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Premier Powersled 14

Premier Powersled 14

Just on a lark, we got out the smallest powersled.  Again, it took some work but it did fly for a while.  Because of the low, gusty winds, the kite had to be attended every minute but that was no hardship.  At one point the wind dipped and the powersled dove for the sand.  Just before hitting, it flipped and climbed again.  Funny thing was the sled had turned upside down and, against all logic, was flying in that position.  Apparently the tunnels and the sail were able to contain just enough of the wind to maintain lift.

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Upside Down, Inside Out

After about two hours, we decided it was time to go home.  Traffic going into the parking lot was backed up the road.  The park rangers were acting as parking attendants, keeping traffic moving and finding open spaces for the new arrivals.  The signs were out at the swimming beach that the “Lot was Full”.  The parking lots at the primary Atlantic Beach, NC water access were also full and the traffic coming on to the beach was bumper-to-bumper.  We were leaving at the right time.

Fair Winds All.

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