Saturday, May 31, 2008

Goodbye Baltimore, Hello Ridgely

I managed to get upto the top of the washington monument on the second day. The map exhibit at the Walters art museum was good. Here's an interesting map from 1677 by John Adams. And this looked way better full size.
I sat through the biggest storm I have ever experienced today. The rain was coming in waves across the grass at about 55 mph. It was pulling grass out of the ground . Moments later it hailed and was completely calm. Given the weather there was no flying (it was supposed to be a practise day) so we ended up doing this instead.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A day in Baltimore

I must have walked 12 miles today...
I started out at the harbor. Thats the aquarium and maritime museum.

This is the Washington monument. Strange pose but there you go...

Above the harbor is the world trade tower. You can go up it for $5 and look through the really dirty windows.

This was pretty original I think.

There was some serious sound coming from over there. Huge Sax.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial weekend

Leighann and I went for a walk around roaring camp, and were surprized to find ourselves in the middle of a civil war reenactment. There were probably a couple thousand participants (I think we were the only folks not in character). I didn't take any pictures since I felt so out of place, the confederates were lookin' at us funny.

Here is the all wheel drive train coming down bear mountain there.

Lots of coastal redwoods.

Monday I took Leighann kayaking, it was a blustery day (ooops - it was calm at the bouys ?) So we headed back into the harbor after 10 minutes of the perfect storm (on a miniature scale).

Its difficult to get a good shot of these cute little things.

New camera

As you saw from the previous post my camera broke, I replaced it with an olympus stylus 850sw ... Supposedly it is shock and water proof. We will see, but it certainly does look more robust.

Spent at least half of it fixing and cleaning my glider after flying at the marina beach races. Which I ended up on the front page of the local newspaper for !!!

The article was really well written (especially from my perspective ;)

Carmela also put together a really good video of the event. Thanks Carm =D

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tandem Tamsin

On Friday, we started with a nice Brunch prepared by Fabrice, and off we went to Mission peak for a tandem flight. Traffic was really bad, we made it to launch by about 3pm. We set up quickly and flew for about 20 minutes. Unfortunately I think I must have got some salt water in the camera as the auto focus was jammed... She was proud of her first flight.

Now Tamsin and Fabrice had to make the flight, which should have been fairly straight forward except, the traffic was aweful (a freeway was shut and police were searching cars) There is a long trun around at SFO between rental car dropoff and BA closed the desks 5 mins early. They could have still made it had they know to self print boarding passes and use the luggage drop, I didn't know that until I called BA,
but then I didn't have a way to call Tamsin or Fabrice back !! Drat they missed their flight (that had been oversold anyway).

Still, It gave us all another night together and we went over to Halfmoon bay for the rest of the night. We had a little time in the morning to see the coast up from Half moon bay to Pacifica, and have breakfast at Leighann's diner.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The perfect santa cruz kayak day.

It was to be a 100'F day today. The ocean was a flat as a pancake, and still air.

I was impressed with Tamsin and Fabrice's kayak skills - in fact I actually had a hard time keeping up later on.

We rented an extra boat for me from the wharf, and set off around seal rock, steamers lane and the surfer museum and light house. West sy-ide.

There were sealions, otters, seals, pelicans, jellyfish and one big surprize.

Yup while we were quietly watching a sea otter, a huge venting of air blasted out about 20 feet behind us as a grey whale surface. We were excited, surprized and silent all at the same time. It was pretty amazing. The whale continued to hunt right infront of us for at least an hour.

We turned around at Natural Bridges, seeing the whale again on the way back. We took many pictures and only one was actually recognisable.

A seal resting? on the beach.

Waddel Creek ride/hike

A brief stroll at Natural Bridges state park. This is where many Monarch butterflys breed in November.

Fabrice in action - he looks so cool calm and collected, I won't say what happened next.

Berry Creeks falls.

Silver Cascade, a little higher up Berry creek.

This is one of my favourite hikes on the planet.

Tamsin and Fabrice visit.

It turns out they picked a really good time to visit. I am temporarily retired, the weather was awesome, and my week schedule was open. I let them have a rest day in San Francisco before embarking the on "Ben Tours"

Tamsin wanted Fabrice to experience the Garlic Cuisine, that we had 4 and a half years ago.

A few drinks, and why not ??

Monday, May 12, 2008

Very Fast !!

Lee holding the pilots meeting.

The set up area. Some really nice gliders there

The wind came in gently on Saturday, so some of us set floaters up in the meantime. Kraig was was first on Saturday with Kenny just a few seconds behind, and Jonny right on Kenny's heals.

After racing Kraig and I took a fun flight and got some pictures.
Lee hosted a really fun BBQ.

Sundays competition hotted up a little, with the long course picked (12 miles to sand city and back.) The wind was already blowing in at 11am, and everybody was eager to race having had the experience from yesterday. Jonny's winning time was around 18 minutes meaning an average ground speed of around 40 mph and with the 25 mph crosswind, thats an average airspeed of 48mph !!
Jonny took 1st, Kraig 2nd, Kenny 3rd, these guys were all within seconds of each other. It was really spectacular to watch and especially so when in the air going the other way within 25 feet. I finished right behind Konrad from Brazil for 5th.

There was also a Kingpost class. Donny in 1st, Al in 2nd and Urs in 3rd.

As part of the festival Kites were abundant. This on was particularly captivating.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Marina Festival of the Winds

A few folks arrived early for the festival of the winds. The erroding setup area is crowded by only 8 gliders. We used to be able to set 20 gliders up here and still land up top...

Its the first time I've flown the litespeed at the beach. It was surprizingly very friendly to fly there, however breaking down was a pain and dispite putting the glider o a sleeping bag I still got sand in the control frame.

I missed the big crowd but got a picture anyway. Looking forward to the race tomorrow :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

End of an Era.

The company I have worked in for ten years, made some strategic changes this week, and as a result I am now unemployed.

Well it is summer, and there are so many things I want to do that I am losing control of the lists. I have ready for sometime off. However it feels quite strange going to the gym at 9am and having a mellow workout.

This weekend Marina is holding the "Festival of the Winds". Hang gliding is of course a part of this and the plan is to do a ridge "steeple chase" race. Jonny D, Chris S. and Kraig are coming up from LA to challenge Kenny, the reigning champ. Of course I will have a go to :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

lasting impressions

The below video really captured the feel of the event,
and are some of the folks that really make it all happen.

Here are about 56 Hot ships lined up and ready to go.