Look! No strings!
As I saw the micro light for the first time I said to Neil that I did not realise that you could get kites with an engine on them, and did we still need a long piece of string attached to it. No really it looked as strong and capable of flying as a Budgie in a cyclone. Any way I had my safety briefing and felt confident that if we had to ditch at sea I was ready to jump out at the instruction of my capable pilot when we were just about to hit the water, little did he know at the first sign of trouble I was out and flapping my arms for all they were worth.
Off we go, taxiing along the runway for all of 50 yards and we were air born. Once up in the sky, you soon forget that you are sitting on a seat attached to a big piece of cloth, once we got to cruising height the views were fantastic helped by a reasonable sunny day.
We first headed down to the south of the Island spotting schools of fish and some fish traps but no signs of any whale sharks, so we proceeded round the south point and headed up the east coast of the Island, after about 5mins a call from Neil to say he has spotted a whale shark, I search the ocean below with no luck (must get my eyes tested again), again Neil called to me and pointed, I began to think he had something in his goggles but as he banked the micro light (kite) down towards where he had seen the shark, I saw my first glimpse of the shark from the sky.
Now I see it! They look really small from up here!
Neil plotted the position on his map and I attempted to get some photos of the shark, not having practiced my photography skills from a micro light found this to be a harder task than normal, as I tried to get a photo of the shark without any part of the micro light in the photo, not as easy as you would think. At last I got one snap not great but a photo anyway. We had not continued far in our search for more, when Neil called out again that he has another whale shark in his sight, next to a large school of fish, again Neil had spotted it long before me (will have to start calling him Hawkeye) from now on. Just as we started to fly lower towards the shark we saw that the shark was heading straight towards the school of fish, and that the fish had opened up a large area and totally encircled the whale shark.
A perfect fish halo....
We circled around for some time and then we were off again to pursue our search, as we flew into Takamaka bay, Neil calls again another shark (this is getting old news) Hammerhead he calls (excitement returns), Again he has to point it out, but once directly overhead at 2000ft I saw the shark and it was large, as big as the whale sharks that we had just seen, which we estimated at between 4-5m in length. I rushed to get my camera ready as we passed over but alas my photography skills had deserted me again so only the photograph in my mind capturing the image.
We set off again heading towards Conception channel where we snorkelled with the Whale sharks last week and is the hot spot for the sharks at this time of year but after 2 or 3 passes nothing to report, but we did have some rain and got some nice rainbows which are circular from up high, managed to get some nice pictures of Baie Ternay.
Picture perfect rainbow over Bay Ternay
We left there and headed up towards the north of the Island with no more sightings, just some fish traps and a couple of schools of fish. We turned round North point and headed south on our last leg of our flight towards the Airport.
After a smooth landing and taxing to the hanger it was time to extricate oneself from the seat, after sitting with legs splayed for nearly 2 hours, said legs do not work as easily as they should and once out of seat my legs seemed to have a mind of their own, once the blood started to circulate again. I thanked Hawkeye for an amazing flight and experience, and would suggest anyone to try it out.
John Tulley, MCSS intern