Learning to Fly

Nearly every day for the 3 weeks that we were on Maui, Tom and I rose early and headed over to Polipoli Spring State Recreation Park to paraglide with the Proflyght Paragliding School of Maui. Sometimes we would spend time kiting before driving the steep, curvy road all the way up to the launch site. Here’s two short videos of footage from my first, tandem, flight — you mostly get to see my legs and Tom’s superb flying skills (his wing is black, white, red and blue).


Here are excerpts from my journal:

Sunday, Nov. 17: T’s gratitude – improving forward launch. R’s gratitudes began paragliding pilot training.

Monday, Nov. 18: R’s 2nd pilot lesson! T’s gratitude: getting two amazing flights in from Ferns (flew in clouds a bit). R’s Gratitude’s: how supportive Tom’s being about my slow progress paragliding.

Tuesday, Nov. 19: R’s 3rd pilot lesson – got in 4 official flights.

Wednesday, Nov. 20: 5 more flights added to my repertoire, learned how to sit back in harness seat. Took p1 rest.

Thursday, Nov. 21: Paragliding, Laci & John’s tandem flight, Luau with Laci & John . Tom and I aren’t the type to do a Luau but our friends were really excited about it and it was relatively  cheap, ($100/person), so we gave it a try. While it felt like it was created with the tourist in mind, it was neat to see once.


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Friday, Nov. 22: Spent the morning paragliding, big thrill as I completed my first flight from Echoes, the top of the training hill, which is 4,500 ft. above sea level and 1,000 ft. to the landing zone. Soon afterwards, Heather, a fellow paraglider, lost control of her wing, crashed into the hill and broke her femur directly in front of us. Her partner ran to her my instructor, Dexter, called 911. I bought health insurance.

Saturday, Nov. 23: Took a day off from paragliding, spent it going from the pool to the hot tub and sunning at Grand Champions resort villa.

Sunday, Nov. 24: Made 1 flight from Echoes and another from RC, a lower training launch. T and I spent the afternoon with another couch surfer, Reiko, from a small town in Japan, at little beach. There, we stripped down to match the common attire and enjoyed a fire dancing infused drum circle.

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Drum circles and naked #poi.

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Monday, Nov. 25: We spent the morning paragliding and I made 3 flights from RC. After paragliding, I felt particularly dizzy and went to the doctor. Turns out, I had an infection in my mouth that had spread to my inner ear, leading to some internal calibration issues. This marked the beginning of the end of my self-piloting paragliding days.

Sunday, Dec. 1: T spent the morning paragliding and the afternoon bodysurfing in the ocean. My nose ring fell out and the hole left began healing immediately. We weren’t able to get the ring back in it so I ended up getting it re-pierced by guy with gentle hands and a British accent. We had egg nog and enjoyed our last night camping at Polipoli. It was a frigid night and we slept in one sleeping bag to stave off the cold.

Monday, Dec. 2: We packed up our tent gear then went to the flight park. Tom enjoyed a morning of paragliding. Afterwards, we volunteered at Leilani animal sanctuary where I spent most of my time pulling weeds as Tom made the acquaintance of a baby goat. That evening, we stayed with new friends, Garrett & Crystal. We felt right at home in a pod in their backyard, which was an outdoor shed converted into a polished, cozy and delightful bedroom with a private lanai overlooking the ocean. It was luxury.