I’ve gotten behind in writing this blog. The weather was not cooperating and there have been other activities which have kept us from the beaches. The last day we flew was Memorial Day. Fort Macon State Park had finally opened so there was the weekly community kite fly on the holiday weekend. And it was a busy weekend. The park was crowded which made the kite fly somewhat of a challenge. More fishermen, more sun bathers and more people walking along the shore. This gave us a greater audience to view the kites but it also cut down on the space to fly.
Because of the holiday, we chose to only fly red-white-blue kites. And we only carried a couple as our kite cart is still in need of repair. We put up the handmade Painless Parafoil and our new Killip foil.
For the first time in a long time, I brought out a dual line stunt kite. The red-white-blue Window NG. I had forgotten that noise that this kite can make as it circles in the sky. It drew a lot of looks and comments. Especially with the twenty-five foot tube tail following behind.
I particularly enjoyed flying the Painless Parafoil as it is one of the first kites I had built. Although few people who see it recognize the stylized eagle I appliquéd on the bottom panel. The creator of the Painless Parafoil, Stretch Tucker, was supposed to give a workshop this summer in Pennsylvania but, in light of current events, he is unable come. However, I have his plans for the Flowform 16 and will be starting that kite soon. And, if I’m lucky, I will still be able to attend the workshop and finish the construction there.
The weather is not looking good for a community kite fly this weekend. So, for now, I will have to clean up the kite room and begin planning for the Flowform.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.