Gray day but lots of wind!

Kites and stuff
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.

Unlike yesterday, the clouds were rolling in accompanied by a lot of wind (it was blowing a steady 13-14 miles per hour). That meant that I could launch quite a few things including a Premier Parafoil 15 with a spinning basket tail, two twenty-foot tubes, a spiky ball, and a five-foot piranha. After getting all of that up in the air (I was at Doheny State Beach, adjacent to [south of] the Dana Point Harbor), I launched a Prism Stylus P.2 and flew that for, a few hours while listening to Beethoven Symphonies (6th and 7th). As it was a bit chilly, not many people were around which was just fine as I could really make the Stylus dance. I spent several hours there and only took the kites down as the sun was setting. In fact, it was dark before I was completely packed up.

I had a lot on my mind when I arrived (I’ve got a very busy and stressful week ahead) but flying helped to clear my mind of those things for awhile. As it’s raining now (we desperately need it), I’m kind of doubtful that I’ll be able to fly tomorrow.

Dopero Maiden Voyage

Dopero Maiden Voyage
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.

While my camera is still in the shop, that didn’t stop me from flying today. I decided to take my new Dopero down to the beach and launch it on its maiden voyage. While I wasn’t feeling too well, it was still great to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Interestingly, the day was unseasonably warm (near 80 degrees) and there was, literally, no wind. As a result, I sat on the beach for a couple of hours and listened to Beethoven symphonies (I listed to the Sixth and the Seventh – both of which have moments that would be great to fly a kite to).

Fortunately, a very gentle breeze (almost imperceptible) kicked in and up the kite went. Even better, at the exact moment that my kite took off, I overhead others shout out, “Look, there are dolphins out there!” They weren’t kidding – in fact, there were a LOT of dolphins out there and they swam back and forth in front of the shore for the rest of the afternoon. Last week was an extremely stressful one and, in light of the fact that I wasn’t feeling well, things couldn’t have turned out any better. In addition to the photos of the Dopero, I also managed to get quite a few pictures of the dolphins.

I’m hoping that the winds will pick up next week as I’m planning on going to the Huntington Beach Kite Party (just a few more miles down the road from the Balboa Peninsula where I was today) with my boy. It would be even better if the dolphins showed up again. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I’m planning on going back tomorrow (hopefully, I’ll feel better). I desperately need the exercise and pulling on a kite while walking on the beach is certainly helpful.

Do the wonders ever cease?

I’ve been sitting here all evening surfing the ‘net looking at kite things. While I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it yet on this blog, my camera jammed on my last KAP outing and is now in the shop for repairs (that means I can’t go KAPing this weekend, although I’m certainly going to go fly kites). Due to the sad state of my camera situation, I’ve been looking at other web sites, blogs, forums, etc. on kites. I’m still amazed at how much information there is about the history and uses of these low-tech wonders.

 One of the topics I found to be especially intriguing were kites that produce sounds – the first type I came across were the Chinese whistling kites of Nantong (be sure to view the video located on this page). These kites have whistles made from gourds attached to them and can be extremely elaborate. Since then, I’ve come across many other references for whistling or musical kites and, as to be expected, I’m fascinated with the possibilities. One site, in particular, caught my attention and that is “Kite Musical Instruments & Aeolian Musical Instruments” which has been created by a gentleman from Germany. Fortunately, he provides an English version along with the German. While his English is a bit awkward, it’s far better than my German (I had one semester of it in high school a million years ago) and it’s very useful in learning a lot about the subject. I’m particularly fascinated with his use of the kite string itself to produce sounds that may be recorded (is that cool or what?!) and provides some very simple instructions for recording them. His site also contains many examples of the sounds produced by kites – most of which have a rather eerie, haunting sound to them. Just the same, I’ve got the try capturing these sounds myself – just think of the possibilities?! I’ve already got a few ideas floating around my head and, if they work out, they might turn out to be something really unique!

Pleasant Surprise

Today, I received an e-mail from Dave, the gentleman from the kite shop in San Diego who had discovered some of my KAP photos, along with the pictures from the New Year’s Day Kite Festival that resulted in my new addiction. 🙂 Apparently, he’s also interested in KAPing and wrote in order to let me know that my boy’s photo now appears on the San Diego Kite Club web site. The photo shows Dave given my boy lessons on flying a Prism Jazz stunt kite. Upon looking at their New Year’s Day photos, I discovered that there’s another photo that shows both my boy and me sitting down (on the log located on the right side) at the end of the day waiting for the raffle – we eventually won several kites – yippee!

What a great hobby!

Seal Beach Pier

Seal Beach Pier
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.

To say I’m totally and completely addicted to KAPing is now an understatement. As is easily confirmed by looking at all the photos I’ve posted on Flickr, I’m simply enthralled with this new hobby.

In addition to the major benefit of obtaining much-needed stress relief, flying kites is simply fun. I’ve also met quite a few other kite flyers and others while engaging in this great activity. The cool thing about kites is that they are inherently joyful objects that bring smiles to everyone’s face. It’s hard to think about anything stressful or worrisome while holding on to a kite string and watching it dance in the breeze. Of course, the environment also helps – I’ve always loved the beach and adding a kite (or kites) to the scene only enhances an otherwise fantastic place to be.

Just a good is the fact that the beaches are not crowded during the Winter which adds to the enjoyment of listening to the waves, breathing the fresh air, and getting some exercise without having to deal with any crowds. Interestingly, I’ve even had people pull of the highway to say hello just because they saw that I was flying a kite!

Another interesting aspect of this great hobby is that there are people of all ages participating. Interestingly, I’m also finding a lot of folks around my own age (no, I’m not that old) who are engaged in flying kites. I hadn’t really flown many kites since I was a kid and the incredible technological wonders of the past few decades have really added greatly to the rather low-tech experience of kite flying. Not only are the materials used far different than those used when I was a kid (most kites were made from paper and came in just three basic forms – diamond kites, box kites, and the newly invented delta kites), but advancements in such things as kite string has made the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Of course, this says nothing about the emergence of digital cameras which are absolutely phenomenal to use with KAPing – it’s possible to take hundreds of photos (I generally get 200 to 300 photos each time I go KAPing) but one just needs to erase all of the bad photos without losing any money on developing them in the first place. As a result there’s no need to worry about taking too many shots. All in all, this is just too much fun!