It’s a bit sad to be coming to the end of the trip, but I’m also looking forward to getting home. I’ve had a great time flying, exploring, and making new friends. I’ve left enough undone that I m already looking forward to coming back.
The Paragliding World Championships opening ceremony was last night and the competition was to start today. The opening ceremony included a parade, fireworks, an air show, and a concert by a well known Australian country singer. It was a good show with a small town lack of sophistication. Today was to be the first task, and the event had been highly promoted for spectators. A steady stream of cars made their way up to launch. There were several hundred spectators in addition to the 150 or so competitors, several dozen free-flyers, and myriad of competition crew and support. It was quite a carnival atmosphere. The day looked a little weak as compared to the weather we’ve had lately. There was some high overcast to the southwest that definitely looked like it had the potential to shade it out and shut it down. Several free-flyers flew while the task committee decided on a task. Eventually the task was set and the “wind dummies” were called to launch. About then a really nice line of clouds formed above the mountain and the wind started to pick up. It was getting questionable for launching, and soon it was announced that the task would be delayed. Within 15 minutes the sky was full of clouds, the wind was whipping at launch, and there was obvious overdevelopment and rain to the west. The task was cancelled. It was the right decision, but a real shame since this was the first day and the best opportunity for spectators to see the comp first hand.
By the time we got down the hill the whole sky was overcast and threatening rain. We eventually got the biggest storm I have seen here yet. It deposited about 2” of rain in less than an hour. It’s good for the farmers and for the town, but not so good for the comp. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.