Early morning Alain drives me to the airport of Iquique, the airport, where we as paragliders are nicely permitted to fly by on saturdays and sundays closer to an airport than in many other regions of the planet ( thank you IQQ-air-control ! ) My LANchile airbus takes off to Santiago and let me study the often flown coastline the last time for this year. Iberia takes me from Santiago de Chile over the andes mountains via Paraquai and Brasil and over the Atlantic to Portugal and Spain, where we land next day morning in Madrid. The following day a short european flight with another Iberia-aircraft brings me to Munich. Alpine ski flying is waiting ! - and of course another month in the paragliding paradise of the Kerio Valley in Kenya, Africa !
Mittwoch, 23. Dezember 2015
In the morning I wake up above the small town of Mamiña and visit Baños Barros Chinos first. Than I drive a little trip into the surrounding desert : all roads, that you could drive with 4WD only, just some years ago, are nowadays asphalted and many small roads to about every location, may it be as tiny as just thinkable, add to it. I go for lunch to the working man eatery in the valley and enjoy Baños Ipla one last time and drive back to Iquique, where I arrive at night.
My flying gear is packed already, but still two more days are left and as I do not find any motorcycle for rent, I try to find a rental car, which is much easier. I rent one for 24 hours from tonight 7PM until tomorrow 7PM, put my stuff into the car and drive away to Mamiña in the Altiplano to visit once more the healing thermal bathes at this town tomorrow.
Because yesterday was so nice to beef up my flight, coming from Cabo Paquica, my canopy got not just dampened, but really wet in the humid air of the evening, I had to get it dry today. And what is nicer than to fly it for drying ? I start more or less completely alone in Alto Hospicio and I do not want to fly away. I reach unusual heights over Alto Hospicio. Its like a joke, but I still stick to my plan, just to dry the glider in flight and fly out to Playa Cavancha for landing and packing the glider carefully for my flight back to europe. I would like to rent a motorcycle to ride it to the altiplano in the coming last days in Iquique, but do not succeed in trying to do so.
Sleeping on the 400m-take-off I wake up knowing, that I have to repair a lot. First I hike up to the 700m-take-off. About a week ago, when my backpack got stolen, all my needles and repair-lines were stolen with it. So I have to improvise a lot to get a line set, that would work. I use some lines, that usually hold my SPOTdevice in position, an old packing line, a line, that usualy holds my accelerator in position and when I finally want to start I realize, that also a C-line is broken. Therefore I use my camera holding line and knot in a piece of it. Probably I start a bit to late, as out of the gate I reach higher altitudes than ever in front of this take-off. But the day is not the same, than, when I flew to Camarones from here. The achievable heights are even higher, but between the peaks today there is as much sinking. While looking up to the glider I realize, the gliders fabric also shows two cuts in its upper surface. The shining trough sunlight is telling me this. Reaching Iquique I am happy, that I am here with my "favela-style-lineset" and cuts in the fabric and decide to beef the flight up locally instead of flying on over remote territory. Backwards to the south I cannot overcome Punta Ballenera, turn around in the Baja Molle bend, fly once again to lands end and again to Baja Molle and finally land on the beach at Playa Cavancha.
Yesterday soaring up did not take place, so I went up by feet. I should not have done this as take-off up does also not seem to be an option this morning. The condensate is not lifting, the winds come from different directions. As one of the rare moments occur, where the coastal road can be spotted I try to power my wing out. I am airborne, but broke several lines, cutting them on sharp rocks, two of a stabilo, one second galery braking line. The walk up to top was invested to high as the cloud base is around 800 m asl. or even lower. Lifting air is also not broadly offered today. Not moving in the harness, no use of brakes or accelerator and using every upwind possibility to gain some additional height is the way I am flying towards the north, but still I get lower and lower. I see myself often on the ground, but can escape again and again from very low places. What gets surely lost is time. No comparison to my flight, three weeks ago, when I was above the ridge, most the time. When I finally reach Tocopilla, I am already almost one hour late to my time-table for this flight. I decide to make it a sightseeing- and fun-flight - 300 kms or more are not in the cards any more, thats for sure. I plan to topland at Cabo Paquica to try another flight from there to Camarones, which would offer a new attempt of a 300km+ flight. Toplanding at Cabo Paquica I ruin one more line of the glider - this is not my day …