Paragliding often involves as much (or more) waiting as it does flying. We really want to fly the mountains here, but the winds haven't cooperated, yet. At least the training hill is consistent and we've been out there every morning, flying until conditions get too strong around noon, then kiting (good practice in the stronger conditions).
After lunch we've been heading to Bates, a coastal soaring site. (Near Rincon point break, if you're a surfer.) The first two days we were lucky and conditions were flyable (the right strength and direction of wind). The first day I flew about 30 minutes and the next day about 45 and both days we could have stayed up longer. We were nervous about flying this relatively small site with a bunch of other paragliders in the air, but it didn't turn out to be too bad, at least when conditions are good. It's a lot of fun and good practice turning. But it's a bit like running on a track instead of a trail.
Yesterday we headed to Bates early hoping for another good afternoon. But the wind didn't show up, so we did 3 hours of "parawaiting" instead. A short spell of wind arrived, but the few people that launched got rocketed up, tossed around, and then abandoned by the wind to sink out. Needless to say, we stayed on the ground!
At least the waiting gave me a chance to take some photographs. I'd planned to take pictures of people flying, but settled for turkey vultures. They aren't the most attractive on the ground, but in the air they are amazing fliers.
I also took some photos of the waves breaking below us, with sea green shining through the backlit waves.
Today, after finding the wind too light, we decided to do our waiting in the coffee shop instead of in the hot sun. We'll go back and check it before heading home, but it didn't look promising.
On the positive side, you'd be hard pressed to find a more pleasant place to wait. At home, in Saskatoon, winter is arriving, here in Santa Barbara the bougainvillea and hibiscus are blooming and the days are sunny and warm. There are plenty of good restaurants, local wine, and coffee shops. The rental place where we're staying is a block from the beach and we've been out running along the waterfront the last few mornings during the beautiful sunrise over the ocean.
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