Sunday, May 28, 2006

A nice sunday out..

This is a picture I took today of Rod Stead flying over Mt Tamborine up at 4,000ft. It was a little tricky to get up from launch but once you got up it was great flying amonst these huge clouds. A few of the boys started to fly out towards Toowoomba but quickly reached a storm front and were forced to run back to land before the lightning and rain. I flew for only 40 mins before top landing just behind launch to retrieve my car. The weather has been quite good hear considering we are nearly in the middle of winter. I have not actually flown to many days since I have been home but just enough to cure the obsession...
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Training Hill Fun

Well after a long journey home form Japan it was straight into teaching. leeroy has been doing a gret job here getting students and on this course we have 3 girls and two guys. All are doing pretty well especially joel who is already off the top of tamborine. Joel is a kitesurfer so he has picked it up really fast and he now has us down kitesurfing with him. We have been having a blast getting smashed around and dragged along the beach all in good fun though. Leeroy just bought all the gear last night so we are loooking to go kitesurfing again this afternoon. This a picture of Joel doing a text book landing at our training hills.
Saturday, May 06, 2006

Japan Nationals final

I decided to put the camera on my glider for the last day of the comp cause it was so clear. This shot is taken just above launch with the first turnpoint being and the end of the mountains to the left of my keel. The last day of the comp brought us some reasonable weather, so they decided on making a long task for the last day. It was decided on a 101kms task I think the largest task ever set there in this area, It in my opinion was a little of a overcall given that today was not as good as previous days. The window opened and a lot of pilots took off but there was a strong inversion about 500 feet above launch. The top pilots all just relaxed and watch the gaggle from launch struggling. about 1 hr before the last start we all decided that we had better get in the air and get into position. I took off and screamed up in 800 up all the way to 6,000 ft and headed out into the valley for the start gate. I slowly lost height waiting around for the start but did the start anyway as I thought the task was going to be impossible. I got low on my first glide and nearly landed watching the other top pilots who started higher clear the ridge and get up. I was not happy so I just decided to stay in the air and grovel untill I decided to have a go. I had climbed like 1,000ft and had drifted almost back to the start so I though this time I will go to the mountains and sure enough I hit a boomer and got back up high just intime to take the last start now 30 mins behind the rest of them. I left hit another good climb and glided into the first turnpoint then decided to go straight line to the 2nd the same way I went on day 2. thi stime it worked for me and as I approached the 2nd turnpoint I was on top of the gaggle with a 30 minute advantage. I left for the 3rd turnpoint and glided all the way there hitting nothing but sink, so I rounded the turnpoint and headed for the 4th some 30kms away. Diamond san and I got a little low before finding some weak lift and drifting in it untill the others about 30 of them joined us. He pushed on low and i just hung back and watched as he got lower and lower. He pulls out a low save and soon he is back on top of me as we cross over town still heading for the 4th turn point. I went a slightly different way as we had to cross over a mountain with very little landings around it, I went in deep and was rewarded with a good climb all the way to base the first cloud I had seen since I left launch. Itagaki and I were now in front as we round the 4th I decided to head straight back to the mountains instead of going straight line to the last turn point. The others went straight line down the valley and got a lot better glide and left me behind. This next part was going to be difficult heading into a headwind trying to follow a ridge with very little landings. Diamond was just behind me and lower as we approach the no landing area, he aborts commiting to going over the ridge as it seems like a long glide out but I keep going hoping to get some lift a long the way. I can see the others now landing at the base of the mountain in front of me. I hit a little bit of lift but I was drifting more than I was gaining so I pulled the vg on and tucked my arms in and pointed my toes in hopes that I would make it out to where the others had landed. I hit some good air and managed to make it to a sunny spur which hosted a 200 up. I drifted in this for a while then I hit the leighside and it kicked and I got back up high above the others who had just landed below me. I was now the last one in the air and I still had a 15kms headwind glide to the last turn point which was going to be nearly impossible to get back up once I left the mountain. I had a nice long smoothe glide and did not hit a beep I thought that if I could get the turn point and make it back to goal I still might have a chance at winning the comp. Well 10 minutes later I was standing on the ground 1 km from the last turn point. Now I had to try and find a phone and get someone to come and get me in my far from perfect Japanese. As soon as I got out of my harness a car pulls up and a guy jumps out and starts speaking Japanese to me,ummmm I told him that I dont really speak japanese but I could tell he was interested in what i was doing there. So I kindly asked him for the use of his phone so that I could make a call, he was more than willing and soon there would be someone on their way to get me.The guy left and then returned 5 minutes later with clod drinks and snacks for me while I was waiting for retrieve. I eventually packed my glider up and was laying there waiting for my retrieve when the same man pull sup again this time with his wife in the car, she had wanted to come down and meet this strange boy that had flown into their field. He made another call for me to see how far away the retrieve was and they were just around the corner aso he gave them directions. It was so nice being so well looked after having quite a few unhappy landowners whilst flying in the Florida comps. I won the day flying 15kms futher than anyone else receiving 900 points not enough spread for me to move up to far. I will end up 9th overall with only 200 points separating me from first.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
This is a Cherry Blossum tree up close on the river about 5 minutes walk from my hotel.
Monday, May 01, 2006

Vegemite Suprise

Well After a suprise earlier this year at Tocumwal in Kraig and mines vegemite, I was almost destined not to eat it again. We found 2 large very hard chunks of who knows what in our vegemite one night and were very upset that we had been betrayed after all of the love we have given this product. We returned it to Kraft and they sent out a gift basket in return for the inconvience. We especially Kraig was not convinced this would cure our problem as it was now a trust issue with the company.

Well after growing up all of my life on it I thought well it must have been a vary rare thing and I am willing to try it again. Especially since I was about to embark on a journey to America then to Japan which is where I really wanted the vegemite for as it is not the easiest country for me to eat in.

So I went out just before I left and bought a jar of vegemite and took it with me eating it most days in Florida, I began to build up some trust again. Well I am almost to the bottom of my jar of vegemite this morning and I am using the back of a plastic spoon as a knife and I hit a hard chunk of something.I thought for a minute that I was having flash backs and this could not be possible that the very next jar I bought had another foreign object in it. So I kept digging, as I was already half way through my sandwich I decided I would finish it before I dug this thing out. Ok I am finished now I build up the courage to dig it out and this thing is hard, I thought maybe it was glass or something, I finally got it out all covered in vegemite and washed it off to find out that it was a little monkey...

Umm not sure what he was doing in my vegemite but it was somewhat a relief to know possibly that it is some kind of kraft suprise. All that I can hope for now is that this little guy is worth a lot of money maybe he is the only one in like 1 billion jars, who knows I will be looking into it when I return home next week..

So there is a picture of him for all of you...

Cherry Blossums (Sakura)

These are the infamous trees which only blossum once a year here in Japan and only for a period of about 1 week. I am lucky enough that the competition was held in that same week so I could see them up close through my own eyes. Last night we had a reception with all the pilots and 5 guest speakers from the local town. They had plenty of food and drinks and even a gospel singing group that played us some lovely tunes. After the party we all went to check out one of the most popular things in town, Cherry Blossum veiwing at night. It was quite amazing they have a special walking path along these Cherry Blossums that you see in the picture that is all lit up with lights and it makes for a great place to party and have fun. There was a group of us maybe 20 people that went and I was entertained by the crazy japanese. If you think they are crazy wait untill you see t hem with a belly full of free alcohol.. Some of the things I saw last night were quite x rated so I can not publish any pictures unfortunately. One of the highlights were the bush fire men, Who dropped their pants and lit up their bush... yep thats right ouchhh you should have herd them screaming I could not believe what I was seeing. When the rain stops I will go out and try to get a better picture of the Cherry Blossum flowers..

Day 3

As I wake up this morning it is still drizzling with rain outside and I am not to excited about getting out of bed. I will be very suprised if we get to fly today, so that means thats there is only 2 days left to try and catch up on 400points ummmm.....

Day 2

The conditions today were unsure so they waited untill the last minute to decide the task. I t was decided on a 55kms closed course with 4 turnpoints then landing back at the main landing field. With my result from the previous day I had to wait for a while before I could get to takeoff and it only left me with little time for the start. I ended up having to take the 3rd start which was not to bad except I got stuck low between the first and second turnpoint for about 30 mins. I kept watching everyone just flying over the top of me but I knew patience was the key otherwise i would end up landing again. Once I got back up I did the 3rd turnpoint and got high then glided to the 4th and straight into goal finishing 11th over the line. The early guys had a good run and will be 10 minutes faster than me who ended up 8th place for the day. koji Diamond san won the day and has now moved up to 6th from 25th yesterday, Iam now in 12th and seeking to climb the ladder in the upcoming days. The flying here is a little different, it seems a little hit and miss and I think some local knowledge plays a part in it. I have flown here once before but it was to long ago to remember those little secrets that help you along the course. Being that the task length is so short it means that you can not race to hard cause if you get stuck there is no time to try and catch back up before the finish. I think I am going to have try some different strategies cause the ones I am using don't seem to be working that well.

Pictures Day 1

This my glider at launch which seems to have gotten the name Panda bear. Notice thesnow capped mountains in the background. Maseo Ando or otherwise known as Marvelous Anton was yesterdays winner and todays loser.. (Gomenasai...) This is why it is so cold around here still some snow left laying around..