The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

World Wide KAP Week 2011 – Day 2

Posted by Tom Benedict on 01/05/2011

I got a late start to the day because of a bake and plant sale I needed to bake cookies for.  But it was time well-spent.  I did some pole photography at the bake sale using my A650, which the school can use for PR, and I handed off forty snickerdoodle cookies to be sold.  (In case you don’t know what a snickerdoodle is, it was my favorite cookie as a kid, and it’s still my favorite one to make.  Mmm!)

After dropping my daughter off at home, I took off to do KAP.  This time the wind prediction was right on the money.  The wind was almost non-existent all along the Kohala Coast, but right around the time I reached the turn-off to Upolu Point it finally picked up.  The windmills were cranking!

Upolu Point Windmills

I turned left with a smile on my face. I knew exactly where I was going: Mookini Heiau!

Before describing the session, a quick note on Mookini Heiau:  To the best of my knowledge it is the oldest operating heiau in the islands.  It was built more than 1500 years ago, and as the legends go the stones came from Pololu Valley, passed hand-to-hand for 14 miles, bucket-brigade fashion.  It was originally dedicated to Ku, and was a luakini heiau, or a place of human sacrifice.  More recently, Momi Mookini Lum, the current kahuna of Mookini Heiau, re-dedicated the heiau to the children of Hawaii in 1978, and in 1994 re-dedicated it a second time to the children of the world.  Today it is a place of healing, and not human sacrifice.

Mookini Heiau is a notoriously difficult place to fly.  There is a dirt road that hugs the coast, and a narrow track that runs up to the heiau itself.  This limits where you can stand to fly a kite.  The best angle would require hopping a barbed wire fence and flying from the middle of a private field.  I haven’t gone so far as to hop the fence or ask for permission yet, so to date I haven’t flown here at the best angle.

The wind at Upolu Point is some of the fiercest on the island.  Today it was blowing 13kts on the ground and easily double that in the air.  I forgot about the higher altitude speed-up at Upolu, and put up a Flow Form 16.  I just about got my arms pulled out of their sockets!  I flew the Push N8 gear from the Flow Form, but eventually took everything down.  It just bounced around too much and was exhausting to fly.

Getting the kite back down was a struggle.  I was glad for my gloves and for my carabiners!  Once the Flow Form was rolled up and back in its bag, I pulled out my PFK Nighthawk, a gift from Pierre Lesage and Heidy Baumgartner, two fellow KAPers and all ’round great folks.  (Thanks, guys!!) The Nighthawk flew like a charm and made for a much more civil session. After flying the Push N8 gear for a second time, I put my A650 rig on and flew some more.

Mookini Heiau 2011

I’m pleased with how the heiau came out.  Each time I’ve flown here I’ve been surprised by the landscape.  The first time I flew here was in the middle of a drought, and everything was an apalling gray color.  The second time the rains had come and the landscape had turned green.  This time it was as if I’d made a sepia-toned black and white photograph.  But it really was this color!

This is a four photo panorama.  I don’t think this would’ve been possible with the Flow Form, or with any of my other kites for that matter.  This one is entirely due to the PFK Nighthawk: the best high wind KAP kite I’ve ever used.  Again, a huge mahalo to Pierre and Heidy.

To put the icing on the cake, when I returned home from this session, dumped all the cameras to my computer, and put all the batteries in their respective chargers, I got an email from Ricardo Mendonça Ferreira, a fellow KAPer and the software developer for the Push N8 project.  He had new software to try!  Both phones were still plugged into my computer, so I got the new stuff loaded right away.

To cap it all off, the kids were bummed all the cookies went to the bake sale.  So we made a second batch of snickerdoodles.  This time, just for us.  Yaaaay!

I hope everyone else is having as good a World Wide KAP Week as I am this year.  Keep flying!

– Tom

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