Mark , Bob and I launched in light wind and played around for an hour.
The climb out to 1100 ft was smooth with a 10 mph tailwind. I was aware but not concerned to be flying downwind of the landing zone. It might be a long slog back and at worst the wind would pick up and I would have to land out, but I was careful to keep an emergency LZ within reach by following the road instead of overflying the mangrove swamps.
At the causeway I descended to 500 ft and kept it right under me until I could glide to the island.
I suppose a wind front could have come through and blown me out of the safe zone but the clouds were offshore and either moving away or stationary and the skies were clear back to weather, it was an acceptable risk.
As expected, I wasn’t able to fly the beach because of rotor caused by the wind coming across the island. When I dropped down to 50 ft it was starting to get bumpy and at 30 ft, I called it quits. Someday, I will get down in the sand, but not today, on a lee shore. I did pop up and check out the windward side but it was too thick with houses and palms with no place to land.
So… I turned back and slowly flew back across the sound. There wasn’t much going on, a few boats were heading out to the gulf and some kayakers were out enjoying the morning cool but no dolphins, rays, manatees or any wildlife, except for the birds that are everywhere.
Since I wasn’t able to follow my original plan and fly the length of Gasparilla, I turned north and did some sightseeing on the mainland. It’s not Aspen…. too shiny and white, and probably rebuilt after Huricane Charlie but from what I saw its a very well monied place. Big beautiful mansions and even bigger condominiums populate the verdant shoreline.
I was especially taken buy an 80 ft sloop, snug in her berth behind a particularly palatial estate and I wondered who owned the private jet port just nort of town.
Pick your own runway fellas!
The wind was picking up back at Placida where Bob was playing on the low and Mike was practicing wing overs above 2000 ft. His last was spectacular, two robust swings and a high energy dive, culminating in a hard turn 100 ft above tree line. I was satisfied with a slow floaty landing, the trike had almost zero rollout.
After packing up we headed over to Ryan’s for breakfast.