#14 and a couple of aborted attempts - blowing in Botany

Kiting 2005 #14 (Sat 9 July): It's mid-winter in Sydney and a tad chilly. Sydneysiders are in denial though - and no houses or apartments have central heating. So I sit writing this close to the electric oil heater, with it pathetically trying to heat the living room.

Its a real shame I have to work. It's definitely getting in the way of my hobbies. And my marathon training is conflicting with my kitesurfing, as is my cycling. And this weekend so was my drinking. And ProtoCole's impending baby birth has screwed his Saturday mornings with antenatal baby classes filled with emotional videos.

But around all that stuff I've managed to get down to Botany Bay three times over the last two weekends. Lets go back to the first...here I quote from Fat Chicken's other blog...

"...we did a great bike ride on Saturday. The forecast was rain but we decided we'd touch base at 5:45am. I looked outside and annoyingly the rain had stopped so there was no excuse to snuggle back up in bed. Having gone to bed at 1:30am I wasn't feeling that inspired. But I was driver and organiser so I could hardly drop out. Picked up J and Z on the way up to Kurungai National Park (1hr north of Sydney). Was starting to get light as we got there.

Fortunately the first few kms are down hill - from the entrance of the park heading in the direction of West Head. I came round gradually as the sun rose and a beautiful, stunning morning was upon us. The ride was short (50kms) but its reasonably tough because of the hills. The first highlight is the views from West Head over to Palm Beach - just beautiful, especially on a still early morning with the sun rising and not a soul or car around.

The second highlight is the breakfast at Akuna Bay Marina. The cafe's apparently just changed hands and they did us an awesome chicken/avocado etc open sandwich. Just enough fill to contemplate the never-ending ascent past the turn off to Cottage Point and back to the van.

I was dreaming of a snooze in the sun on the drive back, but got a call from "On the Cusp" who was off to Kurnell for a bit of kite-in-gale-action. So I obediently made my way down there...but that's for another blog..."

So here we are down in Kurnell and the day's hours of light are slipping away. OnTheCusp was out on the water and KeanKayla pointed out his flouro-yellow 12m snaking around downwind from us. And was it windy. Bloody hell. Really windy. Norwesterly, so perfect for Kronulla.

I watched OTC for a bit, while collecting my nerves. My legs were stiff, I was tired and it was VERY windy. My excuses were primed. But, NOOO, I must go out. It's never bloody windy and this was well over 20 - there were ten kiters out there having loads of fun doing exactly what I want to do. So I got the stuff out and starting pumping up my 12 Boxer.

I kept an eye on Cuspy and just as I'd finished pumping I noticed he was trying to land the kite. I legged it down the beach to help him (he'd drifted a few groins downwind) but a friendly windsurfer had helped him out.

But it was good Cuspy had landed as I now had him to help me launch. I'd been uncomfortable with the idea of doing it on my own. Having been out with ProtoCole most times since my heady early days of madness I've forgotten what it's like to set up alone and ask some random punter for a launch. So Cuspy's landing was what I needed. He was keen for a break and was more than willing to keep an eye on me as I went out. Phew.

So off I went. Bloody windy so I depowered the backlines before launch. Got out there, bodydragged away from shore and into the middle of the experts jumping around and the odd windsurfer zipping by.

Its funny how kiters cluster together dispute the obvious dangers. I can understand the comfort from being near others - the chance for a launch, and a landing, and friendly faces if you get in trouble. But I do worry about tangled lines and craziness - especially as the show-offs jump over the shoreline when others are launching - not all of whom (myself included) are 100% in control!
Anyway out I went. Bloody hell it was windy. The depowering meant that turning was muted. I had very little control. Overpowered I think they call it. I was being gently lofted as the gusts wafted over the Bay. It was easy to stand. Even on the small board I'd borrowed from Kitepower to trial. But not easy for me to control. I was shitting my pants out there. I messed around for a bit then made my way back into shore. I was just totally uncomfortable in that wind.

So it was over to Cuspy for him to show us some magic.

There was another chick out there as well as KK. Without tricks but she looked good. I'd be happy to be at her level right now. Very happy.

We took more boards home with us as we were planning an early one Sunday. The wind was promising us all sorts of fun. And did it blow. It was a classic winter kite day. Again seeking solace in thermos-tea. We even bothered to check out Boat Harbour, which was great to see - huge surf crashing around. The van got a bit of 4x4 action and covered in salt water and sand from the wind. ProtoCole and his enlargening wife joined us. Which was a shame as it doesn't enamour the better-halves when they get dragged around in shitty weather without even seeing any decent action.

So on to the weekend just gone. I'll be brief. I went cycling again. Proto and the Belly were at antenatalisms in the am so I cycled with J round Bellevue Hill and down to La Perouse. And then squeezed a couple of hours in the office in.

Then I got the call. Proto'd had enough of birthing vids and the wind was PERFECT. It was a hasty last-minute-one again and I was already preparing myself for disappointment. Which was prophetic. Raced down there. I forgot my 12m so we got out Proto's 14m - - that's the 14m lead balloon that we've had so little fun with in the past. But we were proven wrong ... after some adjustments the baby flew well. Proto did some good turns. It was my go .... as the clock ticked toward 5:30 .... the wind dropped. Oh well. Heydiho - it was good to see Proto out there and I reckon a victory just to get the 14 outta the bag and flying nicely.