In the very early morning I get picked up by my driver, who takes me to the airport of Eldoret. A very relaxed small airport scenery awaits me. The short 540.com flight to Nairobi lasts about three quarters of an hour and a lot of potential paragliding spots present themselves to me from this view from about 4.000m over ground. In Nairobi I change plane for the Turkish Airline. We are leaving Kenya straight to the north and fly along Lake Turkana and westerly of Ethiopia, then along the Nil to the Mediterranian Sea and on to Istanbul. In Istanbul I change plane again to one with destination Munich. At this airport I get picked up by car - next flights will take place in the alps.
Freitag, 25. März 2016
Today is the last day of my stay at the Kerio View Hotel in Iten, the real paraglider´s paradise. Most of the pilots, I know, are back to europe in the meantime. I am one of the few, that are still there. On my last day I usually do not fly any more, because of avoiding to bomb out somewhere and get into stress. I like to pack my gear and luggage completely relaxed. But this time it is a bit different : my departure will be in the early morning of tomorrow and those homeopathical 100k-flights are so nice and easy to be flown and so I start to an optimized and easy back and forth one, like I have developed in the former days. After the flight I spend my time with landing beer on the terrace, saying goodbye to everyone, cleaning and packing, giving stuff away, that I would not bring back to europe.
Edi and Roberta is leaving today. And it should be the best day of the week, if someone believes in the forecast. This reminds me a lot to the departure of the group of austrian pilots and also the main group of the italian pilots. I promise to myself to do my best to keep our flag high on the Kerio ridge. I decide to try the very classical one and start to the south. At Tambach falls another XCglider comes against me. He must have been started in Nyaru. I do not know the pilot, but from the xconest I later learn, it is Hunter Marrian. I fly to the classical turnpoint at km43S and turn around. As was the flight to the southern turnpoint a rather hard work against a east-south-easterly current, as nice is flying back to the north. As I arrive over the highest point of the northern front ridge extension, there is not much cumulus and still a more southerly influenced current and the falling-to-its-northern-end ridge is not in condensate at all. This reminds me to a similar situation on my second flight this year, when I flew out and did not make it back. So I turn around some kms before the classical turnpoint out there. When I fly back and are turning in the next thermal, some kms away, I realize, that the current has now changed into a more northerly influenced one, but now, I will not fly back anymore. I decide to bring this flight home a bit shorter as it could be. If I would have been some minutes later, if I would have just risked it, … Even cumuli are building now of the end of the ridge extension … The flight back to Iten is a very nice one, similar to the flights in the alps after a frontal system has passed through and fresh air is all around.
Around 4am the open window of my room gets slammed by strong and gusty winds. I am alert and plan to skip breakfast and be at take-off by sunrise. To me it looks, if the day will be one with strong winds and maybe not flyable at noon time. As soon as the sun comes over the horizon I am in the air. I fly down to the Tambach falls and do not attempt to pass Tambach corner, but turn around to the north. At km20N I turn again as trying to overcome the corner at km23N does not seem to make sense and I hurry back to Tambach falls once more. It is the typical kind of strong wind flying, but not too bad and I decide to pass Tambach corner now, which is a rough lee ride, but possible and I fly down to km18S. Birger has started in the meantime and he passes the Tambach corner further out, getting deep but recovering nicely. At km18S I turn back towards the launch, as 100kms+ are flown with such a swimming pool flight and longing for a big distance does not make sense today. During the flight I also get company of two russian pilots, but no one of them, nor Birger take a lot of bigger risks than flying in these core parts of the ridge. Breakfast is a wonderful thing, if 100k are already in the pocket and I spend the rest of the day relaxing on the ground and also settling my account with the hotel as I will soon leave this paraglider´s paradise for the austrian winter.
The forecast tells about strong winds out of northeast, but in the morning it is rather nice than windy. So we start into the south. At the end of the classical ridge is pretty much in condensate and we have to pass ridge clouds on the valley side. When we arrive back in Iten, the predicted wind is fact and flying against the headwind gets a tough job, especially around the corners. I quit as soon as my turn points show a bigger distance than 50 kms in-between and fly back to take-off. Edi keeps on trying, but quits zoon after - at the corner at km23N. I try a second flight in the afternoon for recreational purpose, but the northerly winds does not slow down and the smooth air, which is usually there in the late afternoon does not show up and after three attempts to top land on take-off I quit and fly back to land on the flat hill behind the hotel. The first time in this month, but top landing on take-off just seems to dangerous with the strong northerly winds.