November 9, 2011
Windy in Wilmington

You can't really tell from the photo, but the sand is blowing steadily across the beach. It stings your face and swirls in around your glasses.

It was Saturday at Wrightsville Beach. And ir was windy! But fliers from up-and-down the Eastern Shore had come to Wilmington and were determined to fly. Or at least try to.

Blowing Sand

For seven years. Mike and Judy Agner have been organizing the Cape Fear Kite Festival. It is really more of a kite party than a festival. No sound system. No marked fields or schedules. No sponsors and a minimal budget. Just a lot of friends gathering one last time for the season and filling the sky with fabric.

Saturday, the show was sparse. I put up an air banner under a 40 square foot Super Sled. And of course, under normal conditions, the kite would not have lifted the message at all. But 30 mph winds are not normal.

The lettering cast an eerie shadow across the blowing beach.

Saturday night, everyone shook off the sand and gathered at the Agners for some Carolina hospitality. There was shrimp and kielbasa, fried flounder, sausage dip, and lots of wine. Then we fell into our beds, worn out from the wind and ready for another day of flying.

Cape Fear Kites Cape Fear Kites Cape Fear Kites Cape Fear Kites

As it turned out, Sunday was almost perfect. Breezes were still on the high side, but were more than manageable. Bags emptied and big kites were strapped onto well-set sand anchors. Crowds came out and wandered safely among the lines.

At one end of the field, there were four large Lester Divers. Five Whales in a variety of sizes were in the air. And it was well-noted that this was all of the Whales currently in the country. Several Octopus were launched. And at the water's edge, Neptune and the Mermaid garnered plenty of attention.

Cape Fear Anchors

Susan was on light duty following her accident in South Africa. She found plenty of good company with Jeff Burka who was also in recovery mode. Sadly, the wind was to strong to use either of them as anchors... ;)

Actually, Susie and I had been on a quick turn-around. We'd landed in Portland late Tuesday and left the house again late Thursday for the early Friday flight.

We'd been worried about the flight from Johannesburg. Susie was looking at 18 hours crammed against either the window or against me. I had showed the gate agent their own in-flight magazine with photos of the festival. I told them the kites pictured were in the bags we were checking. I showed them the news photos of the accident, copies of the x-ray, and then pointed at my wife in a sling. I asked for their help.

An upgrade was not forthcoming. But they managed to get us an entire row of four seats so Susie could lay down and relax a bit on the long flight home. Thank you South African Air!

Click here for a short video.

Cape Fear is always a good gathering and a great way to end the season. It is also a fine example of what two people - Mike and Judy - can accomplish for kiting. I wish more people would do the same. All you need is a field, a permit, and a few good kite friends. Amazing things can happen!

Susie and I are home until the December Birthday Trip. But we have lots of developments in the works. Check back over the next month for some very surprising news

The End

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