Catching Wind in Magnolia

The conditions were perfect on Monday evening. Partially sunny skies, light wind, and temperatures in the mid-60’s. So perfect, Chad and I decided to take a walk along Magnolia Boulevard West after work. We love this walk as it affords fabulous views of the Sound and the surrounding mountains.

So perfect were the conditions, it turns out, we soon saw this:

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As we got out of our car, we noticed a man on the grass nearby, working on his paragliding kites Soon he was joined by a few other paragliders.

Each took turns unraveling their kites, methodically straightening the various cords attached, and then attempting to catch the right amount of wind to create the perfect amount of lift to propel them up and over the chain link fence separating them from the bluff below and the sound in front of them.

We were able to speak with one of the paragliders, Owen, and he told us that the perfect conditions must exist for them to take off from this location, so it tends to be a twice a year opportunity for them. A combination of low tide, warmth and the right amount of wind. Today, for these daredevils, the day was perfect.

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It was breathtaking and yet scary to watch at first – as we hoped each would make it successfully over the chain link fence without plummeting down the cliff-side. But once airborne, the paragliders wafted up higher and higher – almost like Icarus towards the sun, but without the disastrous results.

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They soared along bluffs, east towards Elliott Bay Marina and the city, and then they turned around and did loops along the shoreline.

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Some landed and took off again after short rests.

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Small crowds of curious onlookers formed on the boulevard. Chad and I, initially hoping to get some exercise with our walk, found our feet cemented to the ground as we watched the spectacular sights of the colorful kites in the sky.

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Eventually, the sun was starting to set and, as with all good things, the glide came to an end. It was a wonderful site on a workday evening and a herald of a lovely spring to come.

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