Yesterday was supposed to be a great day for flying. Unfortunately, the Wind Gods didn’t get the memo, and when we got to the bottom of Middle Brother, the conditions were as flat as a disappointing girlfriend’s chest. As a result, me and the Cloudbase crew spent the day waiting at the bottom of Middle Brother:
Waiting at the top of Middle Brother:
And waiting in the park at Laurieton:
The day wasn’t a wash, though. With our paragliding dreams in tatters, we headed back to Cloudbase HQ for an absolutely brilliant BBQ (thanks to Ricardo’s Tomatoes), a bellyful of beer, and lots of shit talk. The weather might’ve been dodgy, but the company certainly wasn’t.
But, like a sexual drought being broken by a prostitute moving in next door, the tough times simply made the good times better. The Wind Gods must’ve heard our overnight prayers, because they were certainly smiling on us today. The weather was incredible and the flying was, in a word, phenomenal.
We piled into a convoy of cars and headed out to Long Flat, where a 225m-tall mountain would serve as our launch zone. I’ve flown at Long Flat once before and loved it, so I was as excited as a kiddie with a new box of Lego as we drove up the hill.
The wind was light as we started out, and the students who are wrapping up their course with Cloudbase did awesomely to get away and have sleddies down to the landing zone far below. I was one of the last to leave the hill, which worked out well because I found myself in a monstrous thermal out in the middle of the valley. I climbed, and climbed, and climbed, until I was higher than Charlie Sheen and more than double launch height. It was an incredible flight, and really helped with my confidence after some patchy flights in recent times.
My journey to the heavens had nothing on the adventures of Mark, one of the legends who’s been flying with us the last few days. He hit the same thermal as me and took it all the way to 3800ft, or more than 1200m. I’m glad I didn’t make it quite that high, because I would’ve shat my pants, squealed, passed out, and probably ended up somewhere in Tasmania.
I had a further two flights that were plenty of fun but not quite as good with themals, and when I made it back to terra firma I was hotter than an Indian bloke’s lunch. There’s a beautiful river that runs through the valley, so I stripped off and jumped in, splashing around like some sort of demented eel.
Days like this are why were paraglide. Smashing weather, awe-inspiring views, good company and the opportunity to push ourselves to do things we never thought possible. It doesn’t get better than this!