08 November 2017

Final day - How good is Tacima/Araruna???

A few days of no update on my blog, lots of flying, late retrieves, difficult changes of plans, little reest - but I will catch up for you now!

On one of the non-flying days, we went to the coast with Konrad to see if we could soar on the cliffs. But even there, the wind was too light, so we just hung out and enjoyed the clean water and empty, white beaches. We swam in a lagoon that just looked like paradise. The guys had some fish at the restaurant, I had some fries and a slice of tomato. One of those things was not a good idea, because I was totally wiped out on the next day and could not fly. Only two more possible days for flying, and again I was loosing another one. I started stressing.
Saturday looked like the best day of the week. I went to the Araruna/Tacima take off with David, but where were the other guys? They had lost the key for the gate to take off and were driving around, trying to find someone who had a key. After a while they gave up, and we started setting up really late. „Just take it as it is and make the best of it“ was my friends advice for me, cause he could see my eyes rolling in agony ;) Three weeks with an unexpected challenge every single day! And the flying itself was hard enough, with all the tiger country, rotor areas in the strong wind, and cactus trees everywhere…
But on this day, I didn´t chicken out when we got to the famous „last landing“ before the 25 gnarly km to get to Lagoa Nova. I got as high as I could and went together with Alipio. A relief when we made the high plateau and could finally reach some laudable areas again!
Anyway, we were topping up and went on. Some km before Apodi, Alipio got low and landed. I made it to the city of Apodi at 14.30, which was a bit late to get all the way to Quixada, another 150km, so I decided to land by the main road, to make retrieve easy and fast. 259km was a great flight anyway!
Then the disheartening message from our retrieve group - one car was going to pick up Alipio and me and take us to Quixada, where Macae was staying, and we would drive back on Sunday :((( no way! I don´t want to loose my last day to try for a big flight, and told the guys that I really really need to go back to Araruna today!
I sent my location again, and Konrad said they were only 55km away. I packed my glider in 20 minutes, and he picked me up, then Alipio, further down the way we stopped for Marcelinho and Joao. As we also had two drivers in the car, we had to go back with 7 people. I shared the front seat with Alipio, while four guys shared the space in the back, Konrad was driving. Driving fast.
We arrived in Araruna after 9pm, had a fast pizza and went to bed to get up at 5am on the next day, as usual. At breakfast at 6am, the guys told me that the plan was to check out, pack all our gear into the car, fly as far as possible, and have all cars going to Assu, where we would stay over night. One car was in Juatama already, the other one with us started in Araruna. Ok, I quickly packed my bags (stuff for four weeks of traveling, plus all the equipment and spares for the record trials) and took them to the car, where Konrad shifted the complete gear of five pilots into his car, tetris style!
The Assu idea was born because Guto and Macae had to fly out of Natal on Monday midday, and the drive from Assu was about 3 hours.
Again we only started setting up at 8am, but since I had already made up my mind to come back next year with a more professional infrastructure, I could not get stressed anymore. It was just not supposed to happen.
I took off as the first pilot, waiting for the others, climbing out together and crossing the canyon plateau at the luxurious height of 1200m, about 600m above ground. Always a relief when it worked! Flying over to the next plateau at Lagoa Nova, the next big step, was not easy. I was glad that Thalis and Marcelinho were with me, even though Thalis makes strange choices about his flying route sometimes.
Marcelinho found a strong lift, an we skyrocketed up to 1800m already.
After that, I decided to go to some good looking clouds on the other side of the plateau, while the guys preferred another way. But we met again anyway, which was great. Until Apodi we flew together, but then the guys dropped me, as I missed one good climb and had to wait for another one to pick me up. Oh well, another 3 hours of thermals, with 150 unknown km ahead of me. I will try my best!
The landscape got a bit greener at times, but still hills. Luckily a few clouds left on my way, so I could head on. About 30km before my goal, I realized that with the tailwind I could really make it on a last, big glide! When I finally arrived in Juatama, I could not believe it! almost 9 hours of flying, my longest flight ever. After all the hardship of the three weeks before this day, I really made my goal on the last possible day! What a drama story! Tired and happy I arrived and was glad that Macae helped me packing my glider while we waited for our driver to get back. I went up to the beautiful Pedras dos Ventos resort in Juatama and had a good dinner, surprised to see a lot of familiar faces. Jeff Shapiro was staying there, ready to fly a long distance on his paraglider, also Michael Gebert showed up. He and Verena were leading groups out there, and they usually stay a few months each winter. Many Swiss pg pilots, and some Americans too.
The news about my records spread fast, and everybody was celebrating with me. I was superhappy when the owner of the resort allowed me to go for a swim in one of the nice pools, and a hot shower plus a vegetarian eggplant lasagne made me feel like I arrived back in civilization, even though it was in the outback of Ceara. I had started in the state of Paraiba, went through Rio Grande do Norte and finished in Ceara. So fantastic to have gone with friends, all of us celebrated out own personal best flights! Plus I broke the open distance record by going 407,8km open and the declared goal record by going 405km.
Coming back to Natal, Alipio and Joao helped me writing, filming and editing a bit for the media, so we could take our wonderful sport to the public with a new achievement.

After that, cloud base was a bit higher again, yet the country looked like it was the moon. Where did these guys take me to fly? Very few dirt roads going through the terrain, and for sure no phone would work on the ground.

1 Kommentar:

Jean François hat gesagt…

Tout simplement extraordinaire,ça laisse rêveur. Merci