Looking Northwest from Mission Bay Park

Looking Northwest
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.
I have been extremely fortunate in connecting with members of the San Diego Kite Club (I’m a member too). This is now the second time I’ve gone down to fly with them: the first time was their New Year’s Day Kite Festival.

This event, held on Saturday, May 12, 2007 was their monthly fly. Unfortunately, I got stuck in traffic on my way down (it’s about 75 miles from home) – the freeway was a veritable parking lot all the way from Oceanside to Rancho Santa Fe. Why? Who knows? It was just a mess. As a result, I arrived later than I had planned but that didn’t matter – it was a beautiful day (although the winds could have been a bit stronger). I managed to get my remote controlled KAP (kite aerial photography) up for a it’s first “real” voyage. The first time occurred many weeks ago at the Huntington Beach Kite Party – unfortunately, the winds were so poor that day that by the time I had launched my rig, the camera batteries were nearly spent and I only obtained a few photos. Today; however, was different – I managed to get about 200 pictures. While I have not posted the vast majority of them (they were boring), I did learn several things:

  1. I need to keep the camera pointed more parallel to the ground – I got a LOT of pictures pointing down.
  2. The KAP feather that I bought from Jones’ Airfoils works REALLY well – I was rather amazed at how few of my shots were blurred when compared with previous KAP outings.

As I’ve noted previously, the day was terrific and I was glad I made the trip.

The Quackers

The Quackers
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.

After the week from Hell, I was overjoyed to learn that the San Diego Kite Club was having their monthly fly today (Saturday) and decided that I just had to go. In honor of the event, I finished my flock of ducks (Yes, I really did make them myself – heck, I even used a sewing machine) and brought them to the event! Actually, I’ve got one more duckling to make (the ugly one, of course), but that won’t be too difficult. In addition to the flock, I also brought the bol I had made as my second project.

Anyway, the drive to San Diego was rather miserable today – Interstate 5 was a parking lot from Oceanside to Rancho Santa Fe. Why traffic was so bad, I really don’t know but it wasn’t too fun sitting there. Once I got through that mess, it was clear sailing (no pun intended) to Mission Bay. When I arrived, the sky was filled with all kinds of cool kites – lots of deltas, a few gazillion Revs (I brought mine but didn’t fly it), various types of things that would spin in the wind, and even the arch pictured in this photo. Of course, seeing all of the kites made the drive worth it.

I immediately connected with Dave (the person I have to blame for my kite addiction) and his wife, Iris. We spent the afternoon flying, watching all of the various kites, and chatting. Both Dave and Iris are fascinating to speak with as they can fill me in on all sorts of kite related information. There was one delta, in particular, that had a very long tube tail. Every time the kite would move in a circle, the tail would mimic the kite so that the tail almost appeared as if it were a corkscrew – very cool!

Another group of eleven people practiced flying their Rev 1.5’s – it would have been fun to join them but then again, there are only so many hours in a day – and only so many kites that one can fly at once!

I ended the afternoon by finally getting my remote-controlled KAP (kite aerial photography) rig launched. The winds weren’t too strong and I had to get a bigger kite up as a lifter. Even so, the flight was a success. Of course, that doesn’t mean I got any good photos – the fact that my rig went up was all I was after. I’ll post photos from that later.

After spending the afternoon at Mission Bay, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Dave and Iris where we chatted about all sorts of things (especially kites). Looking forward to the next time!

Be sure to double click on the photo for this post to see other pictures that were taken today.

Yet another windless day

I’m beginning to wonder if there is such a thing as wind – we haven’t had any that’s sufficiently strong enough to lift a KAP rig in ages. As there is not much I can do without it, I added a weather


conditions section to this blog (located on the right side) about a week ago – it is automatically updated about once every hour. As can be seen from the latest weather conditions (as noted in this screen capture.

As you can tell, There is no wind – well, almost. The interesting thing is that the winds are so light that even the weather bureau can’t figure out what direction they’re allegedly coming from. Ugh!

Since I’ve added this information to my blog, I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen any data provided for gusts – if there is no wind, there certainly can’t be any gusts. Keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will change – and soon!

Okay, this is getting serious. . .

I’m so hooked on this new hobby that I think it would be best in order for me to learn how to make my own kites (which, obviously, is also very cost effective – and I can certainly benefit from that). I just learned about “Kite Making Retreats” (can you imagine that such things actually exist?) on a KAP forum. It appears as if a lot of the folks who enjoy KAPing also make their own kites – again for the obvious financial reasons, as well as the gratification that comes from using something that you have created yourself.

As usual, I was too late for all but one of the kite making retreats being offered this year (all of them in other states) except for one – the 2007 Junction Kite Makers Retreat. After learning of this event, being held at the end of May (over the Memorial Day weekend), I checked the cost and found it to be extremely reasonable. Sooo. . . I’ve now taken the plunge (I REALLY need some hard stress relief time) and have signed up. Of course, I’ll be a complete newbie but that shouldn’t matter.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this new form of stress relief, kite flying, is that it is relatively inexpensive and also is kind of a “purposeless” activity – after all, what point is there in putting a piece of fabric up in the air? Other than the shear enjoyment of kite flying, and watching as kites soar across the sky, there is no real purpose. That; however, is exactly what makes it so great. Sure, it’s tough (sometimes very tough) to get the real world buzz (which is more often a full-blown roar) out of one’s head, but flying a kite can sometimes dull the steady, incessant noise of life’s major problems. Another interesting element is that flying kites leads to meeting other people who have smiles on their faces which, of course, can be contagious. If for no other reason than that, flying is very gratifying. 

Junction, Texas, here I come! (BTW, I had no idea where Junction, TX is – it appears as if it’s in a rather isolated location with lots of quiet – sounds good to me.)

My New Rig with a KAP Feather

Rig with KAP Feather
Originally uploaded by Bassoon Man.

Well, it seems like it’s been weeks and weeks since we’ve had a bit of decent wind to fly (at least on the days that I’m able to get out and try). Today was supposed to have been extremely windy but it couldn’t have been any calmer. I even tried a large number of locations in search of some moving air but there simply wasn’t any to be found. 🙁

As can be seen in this photo, I’ve now added a “KAP Feather” to my rig which is supposed to stabilize the camera while its aloft thereby drastically increasing the number of potentially useable pictures. Of course, I haven’t been able to try it out due to the lack of wind. It’s almost unbelievable as to how calm things have been – certainly not something I would expect to happen so often during our so-called “winter.” Heck, we’ve hardly had any rain too.

At the moment, I can finally hear some wind outside but it’s late, very late (just after midnight). I can only hope that it’ll continue to blow for the rest of the day. Keeping my fingers crossed. . .