|View down coast from Alto Hospicio thermal flying area
Wake, eat, fly, eat, sleep, wake, kite, fly, kite, eat, sleep, repeat for 10 days. Not a bad vacation for a paraglider pilot; a bit grueling for some of us out-of-shape older working stiffs, but gratifyng nonetheless.
|Our base camp at Palo Buque,
with a view of "Big Hill" (with green on it this year)
and a little view down coast
|View of part of Playa Brava from our hotel room
Todd, Luis, and Marcos, our tour leaders, each contributed to various aspects of the training: groundschool covering safety, flying concepts, physics of angle of attack and what happens and how to respond when AoA goes awry; each also wowed and inspired us with their able flying; Todd readily demonstrating the kiting skills we should aspire to, Luis finding thermals and turning to heights with ease and guiding the successful pupils to XC goals, and Marcos a little of both.
|Coming in to land at Huayquique Beach, plenty of space!
The first evening we arrived we had nice evening light ridge lift mellow thermal conditions. It was a nice treat after the 34 hours of airline travel and layovers to have a brain-dead-simple extended sledder in the late afternoon light.
|Approaching our hotel at Playa Brava from Alto Hospicio
|Kiting up the hill at Palo Buque
|Geronimo launching Palo Buque little hill
|*some* of the dunes behind Black Mountain
One morning we took a trip to Black Mountain -- a taller steep ocean-facing mountain site reached by a fun four-wheel drive mining road over and around large sand dunes like something out of a movie. The launch was eerily above the inversion layer, and warmer than the air down below. We waited for the inversion to lift and cycles to start coming up. Finally, we were able to launch, float down through the bumpy inversion, down to lunch in the quaint fishing village below. The thermals on this day were not quite what we'd hoped for, but the views and fresh seafood made up for it.
Of course, we went to many great restaurants throughout the trip that ran the gamut from the fishing huts in the small village of Los Verdes to artsy pizza to a fusion Peruvian-Sushi place. Many pisco sours and complimentary shots added to the festivities.
Both John and I learned many new things on this trip. Even as I watch my GoPro videos now, I'm coaching myself -- "Turn darn it! Keep that radius smoother! tighter!" Easy to say now as while watching the video I can't feel what then seemed like the thermals slipping away from me in different directions. It was a good last hurrah for my dear old wing.