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mini KAPi Florida Keys 2024

Mini KAPi Florida Keys 2024

Hesitation increases in relation to risk in equal proportion to age. Ernest Hemingway….
Or … for my fellow kite fliers…. Got wind…get a kite up in the air and take pictures….leave hesitation behind….manage the risks…. and keep flying kites!

My fellow kite flier, Peter Boyton and I decided on the spur of the moment to meet up for a couple of days of kite flying in the Florida Keys. I was in the Keys with my family and I invited Peter to join me for some kite flying and KAP.

We flew kites just about everywhere we could with a few fun stories mixed in. Given we were flying kites, KAPing and staying up till 1 AM in the morning talking about kites and KAP gear and sharing pictures (and video) we decided to call it a mini KAPi event…. mini KAPi Florida Keys 2024!

First, some background on the Florida Keys!

The Florida Keys are an island chain located in southern Florida, U.S. The Keys are made up of coral and limestone and the islands curve southwestward for about 220 miles (355 km) from Virginia Key in the Atlantic Ocean (just south of Miami Beach) to Loggerhead Key of the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico.

The color of the water is stunning, reference prior KAP session at Alligator Reef Lighthouse from 2023 here (pictures seem to be lost... ) : https://kapforum.org/discussion/discussion/comment/65830#Comment_65830

Key West is the most populous and well known of the Keys. Peter and I decided not to drive 3+ hours to Key West and instead fly close to where we were staying in Lower Metecumbe Key.

The Overseas Highway (Rt 1), which connects all the main islands, is one of the longest overwater roads in the world, with 42 bridges, including one 7-mile (11-km) span.

Flying kites in the Florida Keys ….can be both a delight and a challenge at the very same time! Just about every square meter if taken up with either human development (road, houses, canals, marinas, power lines …) or mangroves. There is very little “open space” to fly kites. Almost no wide open beaches to be found. Everyone is squeezed into the very narrow Key Islands. Just to add additional risks…. helicopters and planes fly up and down the keys and there are a few airports and military air bases scattered across the Key Islands.

Power lines run parallel to the Overseas Highway and are very tall at over 30 meters in height. Given the very narrow Keys and the ubiquitous tall power line towers that run along the road, finding safe kite flying locations is a challenge. The wind direction and the location of the power lines dictate where you can fly.

The mini KAPi Florida Keys 2024 lasted less than 48 hours but packed in a lot of action in a very short period of time. Below is a summary of our kite flying efforts along with a few pictures to kick this fun KAPi report off. Individual stories and photos (and videos) from each KAP session are coming soon.
KAP locations:
Long Key State Recreation Area

Sunset Sail (Hobie Tandem Island sailing kayak) – Veterans Key Florida Bay

Sea Base, Matecumbe Key

Caloosa Cove Marina, Lower Matecumbe Key.

Conch Key Marina

Sunset Sail (Hobie Tandem Island sailing kayak) – Veterans Key Florida Bay

Islamorada Fish Company Pier

More KAP stories and pictures from the mini KAPi Florida Keys 2024 are coming soon from both Peter and I!

WW



Comments

  • that's great, WW!
    more photos from this impromptu KAPmeet, please! ;-)

  • Hi Jim, Peter,
    Sound like a good time, great pictures !!!, but ...... hard work.
    We are in Portugal at the moment

    If you zoom in at the left half circle, you see us "hard working" too :smile:
    Peter van Erkel

  • Great stuff Peter, definitely looks like a fun and relaxing KAP session!

    WW

  • edited April 6

    How far are you willing to go to KAP? Some of us go all over the world, endure boring bus travel, ride trains, planes and bicycles or kayaks to kapture an image from an elevation not often seen (until drones began buzzing!). My journey to see the Stratospool King in action was a paltry 1302 mile round trip in just a few days. I would do it again given the chance. I keep a flight log of all my KAP flights and am going to share the notes from each session with a few photographs from each.

    Friday 15 March, 2024 Long Key State Park Long Key FL Keys
    Headed to the Florida Keys to visit with Jim Powers for some KAP for a couple of days. Arrived later than anticipated, traffic on the Florida Turnpike in Leesburg was a lot slower than it could have been, and traffic was slow once I started down US-1 through the Keys.
    Jim rented a place for 6 weeks and had a room available for a couple of nights. We headed out after deciding to get one KAP session in before dinner. Paid to get in, only 2 hours before closing. We drove the entire park that we could by car, picked a spot to park and flew. Jim was flying an old ITW Levitation Light and went high fast. I flew my DL R8 expecting to smoke him. Humble pie, I had a heavy load and could not gain any altitude for a sustained period of time.
    Packed up and went to dinner at Habanos, a Cuban restaurant across the street from the house. I had a Palomino steak (no, not horse!), large but thin, and very delicious. I was pleasantly surprised.
    After dinner we went out for a sunset cruise on Jim's Hobie trimaran kayak, a Mirage Tandem Island. It has a small outboard, twin pedal stations, an 18' tall mast with a large sail, and Jim carries an oar for rowing. I was impressed with how stable and smooth the boat was. We took the 2 little Westy terriers with us. Much fun for all.




  • Saturday 16 March, 2024 Caloosa Cove Resort Marina Lower Matecumbe Key FL Keys

    Just remembered that this is St. Patrick's weekend, so Key West will be crowded with all the party goers present. We decided to forego Key West, crowds of people, 1.5 hrs each way and parking for $75 a day if we can find it, not worth it. After breakfast we headed over to the local Marina across the street and flew there.
    Lighting was excellent, wind light and smooth, temperature most pleasant. I used the Dan Leigh CC345 this time, hoping to go high again. Not quite enough wind, however that vintage Levitation Light smoked me again. Granted Jim's load was light, a GoPro 10. I flew for a while then decided to change the position of the rig on the line, with hopes of gaining more altitude.



  • Saturday 16 March, Caloosa Cove Resort Marina Lower Matecumbe Key FL Keys

    The colours in the water here are incredible, reminds me a lot of Hawaii. I noticed that Jim had his rig a lot closer to the kite than I did, hence the change and hope to gain more altitude.
    I made the change on the small piece of beach between the water and the sea wall, not much room at all. Kite seemed to lift the load higher, but I was still not able to compete or achieve the height that Jim had with his old worn out looking Levitation Light, which also has a dynamic spreader in it. A pool on the property has the same shape as a B2 bomber, one of the fun things we as KAPers get to see and notice that ground based observation might miss. I moved a chair into the shade of a palm tree trunk with my back to the sun, a shaded seated session!
    Bill, Jim's brother-in-law came over and informed him that he lost his phone on his walk. I had my kite down by then. Jim wanted Bill to take some photos of us with our kites and then we were all going to go look for his phone. I gave Bill my car key and told him to go now and find your phone. Jim and I walked back to the house. Bill left his phone on a store counter when he purchased some water while taking a walk, Marion used Find your Phone on her phone to locate it and went and picked it up. Bill came back with my car, we tried calling him because my phone was still in there but he thought it was coming through the car system which was all French.




    We sailed around this little island on our evening sunset cruises. There are a lot of different birds living on this island and the two Westy dogs were very alert and active while sailing around the island as birds took off and flew away in front of us.

    B2 bomber next to the chow hall!

  • edited April 6

    Saturday 16 March, Conch Key Fishing Lodge & Marina Conch Key FL Keys

    Checked out both sides of a long bridge, but decided to fly at this place after walking around both ends of the bridge. Wind was light so I decided to go with the large dopero and the wide angle lens.
    Once again Jim's Levi Light ruled the heights. I was able to lift my rig and then went looking for Jim, he disappeared amongst some bait traps stacked at the end of the road. His kite was up high, but not Jim, then he popped out from some trees lining the shoreline. I tried but just could not go high, rig was too heavy.
    Jim tethered his stratospool and went to the car for his drone. I walked around the fence and up the road to where he was flying, we were both now in the shade of the bait boxes. Fortunately new ones, so there was no fishy smell about the place.
    My rig kept coming down so I reeled it in and then went for height chasing Jim's ancient Levi while he shot both kites with the drone. Lighting was great, water was crystal clear, but the wind was too low. I did kapture some good shots, so fun and worth it it was!








    Time for the drone, stratospool is tethered to the baitboxes, Jim headed for the done in the car

    Kayaker and pelican saying Hello!

    Drone is now up. Jim: "Is that man with the dog coming our way?"

    Peter: "I'll take a look, don't know yet, maybe!"

  • Saturday 16 March, Whale Harbor Channel Bridge btw Windley Key and Upper Matecumbe Key FL Keys

    Found a good spot with space to launch and parking at Wahoo's Seafood Bar and Grill. Jim walked down the key and quickly had his Levitation up high in the sky with the camera looking down on Whale Harbor, where many many boats gather to drink and party on a sandflat out in the water. I vacillated on what to use then started putting my large Jones Airfoils Dopero 37-333 together.
    I was ready to launch when a fellow walked up and told me I could not fly there. Property owner did not want anyone flying kites on the property, the fellow did not personally have a problem with it, but he had to follow his boss's orders. Jim was 50 m away from me flying high with his back to us looking casually out to sea, the ubiquitous stratospool out of sight, shielded by his body.
    I grabbed my reel and walked off through the parking lot to the bridge outcropping, supposedly public space, flying allowed. I launched the kite and let it climb then added the rig, but skunked again I was, not enough wind. Tried for a moment then bagged it.
    Looked across the water over at Jim and saw him reeling his kite in with a fellow standing with him. The manager of the complex told Jim to end his flight. Jim packed up, grabbed his bag (drone inside) and went over to my spot by the bridge to fly. (Photo of the bridge under the second photo of the two of us in the initial post is this location)




  • edited April 7

    Sunday 17 March, 2024 World Wide Sportsman (Bass Pro Shop) Overseas Hwy Upper Matecumbe Islamorado FL Keys

    Dual rig flight, my PPT BEAK up high and Jim Powers' autoKAP rig with a GoPro 10 shooting video below. This was a spot Jim wanted to try so we headed over there before I left. When we grabbed our gear to fly Jim discovered he left his reel at home, so we used his vintage Levitation Light with my reel and added both rigs to the line.
    We scouted the place out first, even went inside the store to take a look at Pilar, Ernest Hemingway's boat, a beautiful wooden cabin cruiser. We walked out onto the Pier we chose to fly from and Jim had just put the kite up on the line when we heard a voice behind us. Neither of us heard the man walk up, a manager from the store. He asked if there was a camera on the kite and we told him no, cameras and rigs were in Jim's bag and mine was on the deck behind the fellow. Jim set his backpack over my rig and the man told us we could fly, he was just curious to see what we were up to. A lot of people came by and were surprised by the kite up so high, there was a bit of a bow in the line and I had about 400 m out.
    One lady asked us what the black thing hanging on the line way under the kite was. I told her it was an electric fan, we put it on the line to make sure the kite stays up. I use this line quite often, works really well when there is no apparent wind at ground level.
    A sea plane came by but fortunately headed away from us as it came in for a landing to the north of us. Saw some sharks and huge fish, as we sat nonchalantly with our legs hanging over the edge of the pier. The old Levi did a great job lofting both rigs. Lighting was excellent and the water is clear as can be seen in the shots with the camera looking straight down. An excellent end to a wonderful KAP adventure with Jim Powers in the FL Keys.


    A crop showing Jim heading back .....






    6 KAP sessions, a fun visit to Florida with Jim. Sailing, KAP, chatting, downloading, visiting with friends. Life is good when you fly kites! Jim is still going to post some photos. Enough images to get a taste of what we did for a couple of days, KAP Jasa?

  • Wonderful story and pictures!

  • Peter did a great job summarizing our mini-KAPi-Florida Keys flying sessions.
    I have a bunch of photos that still need to be processed, but hope to share a few over the coming weeks.

    During the mini-KAPi-Florida Keys KAPing sessions I was flying with two camera, my Sony A6000 fitted with a used 20 mm fixed wide angle lens and my Go Pro Hero 10 Black that I use for Kite Aerial Video (with my auto KAP rig) where I sometimes create videos and / or extract stills from the 4K videos. The A6000 fitted with the used 20mm lens has been producing soft (not sharp) images....which has been very frustrating. I am still trying to figure the problem out. If you click on the images and view on flickr and zoom in you will see my problems. Still enjoyed flying kites with Peter and taking aerial shots (including a few drone shots).

    Grandparent daycare duties are limiting my post flying processing and posting efforts..... still teaching my grandkids how to fly kites..... at least that is the excuse I am using.

    Enjoy a few photos below and more in this flickr album from one of our early KAP sessions above Long Key, in the Florida Keys.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/wind-watcher/albums/72177720317004570

    WW
    Long Key - from Above

    Long Key - from Above

    Long Key - from Above

    Long Key - from Above
    Long Key - from Above

  • edited May 18

    Brief video from one of our mini-KAPi-Florida Keys flights..... with Peter's big new Dopero kite.
    Enjoy,

    WW
    click on the link below to view on YouTube.

  • Way behind in processing KAP images and video from mini-KAPi-Florida Keys.....

    Sharing a few images taken above the very tip of Key West and Fort Zachary Taylor.

    All of these images were extracted from 4K video shot with my GoPro Hero 10 Black.

    Enjoy,

    WW
    Taste of Key West From Kite Above

    Taste of Key West From Kite Above
    Taste of Key West From Kite Above
    Taste of Key West From Kite Above

  • Looking good, Jim! When you can get quality like that from video footage it almost makes interval timers redundant.

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