The Dynasoarers

Hang gliding & Paragliding on the Surf Coast

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Coombsy's Big Day Out

By Geoff Coombs

On Monday 17th Feb 03, I was checking the wind strength and direction on the internet as I often do when it looks a good southerly. Anyway the strength and direction was ok, south 15-20kts. So I decided to go down around 3pm. It had been consistently flyable at Fairhaven for the last couple of weeks and this didn't look any different than other days. When down there it didn't really look that fantastic, 9/10ths cloud cover and cool, but the wind was a nice strength and direction, just a hint of west in it. Problem was there was not a soul around. Bit unusual but I guess it had been flyable so often over the last few weeks here that the locals had had enough. I really should have waited for others to turn up but I had flown here so often and the launch is so easy that I decided to fly anyway.

Launch was easy and the lift strong (cool dense air). After crossing over to Eastern View (ridge west of Fairhaven launch, bit of a gap to cross), I started to climb strongly (400-500ft per min) and it just kept going. I started pushing out to sea, still climbing well to 2500ft. This made crossing over to what we call Big Hill very easy (this is normally difficult and puts you onto the hills you can follow to Lorne but normally only when the wind is more around to the east). The wind was strong so I decided to turn on the GPS just to see what the wind strength was (in hindsight I'm certainly glad I did!). It was too far off to the west to attempt to get to Lorne so after stooging around for a while I flew back to Eastern view. Again I struck very strong lift under the clouds and just kept pushing out to sea and circling back. Pretty soon I was over 3200ft (highest I'd ever been here!) and 2 1/2 kms back! The heart rate was climbing about as fast as I was! For a brief time I thought about flying over the back but I would have had to still cross over 10kms of forested hills (probably would have made it easily but my balls aren't that big!). Besides nobody was around and if I'd landed in the trees I'd never be found again! A glide to Urquhart Bluff was possible cross wind so off I went, enjoying the unusual view of Aireys Inlet from the back side.

After arriving at Urquhart Bluff with 1500' and climbing again to 1800' I thought it was possible to make Pt Roadnight lookout and then Anglesea. Besides I could always land on the beach between Roadnight and Urquhart, so off I went again thinking that I might even be able to get on to the cliffs at Eumarella. After arriving at Pt Roadnight with 900ft I headed off to Anglesea river mouth and a possible crossing to the Eumarella cliffs but hit heaps of sink along the way (its only a short hop) and arrived with 400ft at the river mouth. I did make a half hearted attempt to get onto the cliffs but my adrenaline stocks were running low and I was happy to land at the river mouth. Besides, I'd done something no one had ever done before and had the track log from the GPS to prove it! So I was pretty happy about it. Plenty of people had talked about flying back that way before but I must admit I didn't think it was possible. Just goes to show you have to be at the right place at the right time!