Hey Mr. What are you doing?
by Jon R. Benson
(Panama City Beach, FL, USA)
I was stationed on Guam for a period of three years and found it very interesting at first. As the years melted away I did about all I could do while being on an Island...
I fished, I snorkeled, I went to dances, I fished, I started walking, I went sight seeing once a week, I bought a bicycle and rode around. Well, almost around the island. I played Golf but lost most of my Balls in the jungle. I went to movies on the Base and the first year was not even over yet. I went to the movies once again on the Navy base and saw a movie about flying kites...
Flying kites did interest me as I made a few while growing up in Pittsburgh. I got some light wood and made plans to make a 4' box kite. It did not take long as I know how to make a box kite. I gathered some string at the Navy Ships store and attached it to my kite along with a long tail.
I drove to the Beach and in Guam the wind is always blowing. I launched my Kite and in less than a minute it was sky bound with all the string I could let out. I would say about 1000 feet of #50 waxed line shot heavenly. Bringing in back was now the problem as I was tiring very fast with all the winding with my Stick that I was winding it on. This would never do.
I went back to the Base and went to the electric shop. I talked the sailor there in finding me a 12 Volt DC motor. He did with out much of a problem. I made a winder Disk and attached the Motor with leads to my Car Battery. With ten more Rolls of 500 Feet each, Now in my bag I was toting 5000 Feet of nylon, ready to let loose on the island.
The wind was blowing as usual and the Kite leaped off the back of my little truck. It was sky bound in moments. I watched the the kite heading upwards in the great winds. Stopping it at about half the ball of string I started the motor and wound it all in. I went home and next week I purchased 10 more Rolls of String and attached it to my existing Roll.
I now had 10,000 feet of 50 lb waxed string on my winder. To the Beach!
I arrived at the Beach at 0900 in the morning and backed my little truck up to the side of the Sand and got my Box Kite out on the Sand. The Wind was grabbing at it and I added some more tail. Up it went and up it went some more headed for the Stratosphere. All my String but a few layers were gone up into the clouds and out of sight.
I sat on the back of my little truck and enjoyed my new adventure. A small Guam Boy came up and watched me for a while when said, 'What are you doing mister?' I smiled and looked down, I am fishing I replied. Fishing, He said. Yes Sky fishing. I have a big one on there now. Do you want to Hold the string for a bit. He took the String but not the holder and it almost took him off his feet. He looked very surprised and said to me 'I think you have a big sky fish on there now. I am going home and tell my father' and off he ran never ever coming back.
I watched the string hanging low over the water and started my long wind back into the holder. The motor worked just fine and in about 1/2 hr I was holding my Box kite in my arms. I stowed it in the back of the little truck and went back to the Base and my home.
What a day and what an adventure. I have pictures of the Beach and the Dark clouds gathering over the water. I will do it again tomorrow.
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...