Monday, December 30

Quadcopter first flights over Nikao

Season's greetings from Rarotonga.
It was hot and dry here for most of December. Everywhere is looking dusty and there have been water shortages but on the day before Christmas Eve the rain poured down - a great Christmas present for the island although unfortunately it didn't extend to the outer islands which are still experiencing drought conditions. The rain cleared on Christmas Eve afternoon just in time for a dry start to the festivities.
The dry spell has continued since then and my water tank was getting low but today we had another short sharp downpour and that's cooled things down and watered the garden just in time for the new year.
The fine weather meant I could get to grips with my great Christmas present - a DJI Phantom quadcopter with a GoPro camera to mount on it for taking aerial videos. Awesome! Well, it was once I plucked up the courage to power it up and send it skywards. I had visions of it heading up, up and away and not coming back down. This has happened to other people according to the horror stories you see on the web but mostly people say how much fun it is.
Well, I can confirm that it's fun but it's not as simple as some of the online videos make it look! Taking off is OK but some of my landings were a bit rugged. It would no doubt be easier on flatter ground but I'm using a more-or-less flat patch on rough sloping hillside next to my house.
There are flashing lights on the Phantom but once it moves away it can be tricky to tell what direction it's facing so you don't know what video you've captured until you get it all back to the computer. Makes it more exciting, but it's one of the things I'm hoping will improve with practice.
Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, December 12

Vaka Eiva 2013 - Muri beach sprints

Here's another short video from this year's Vaka Eiva festival.
The Muri beach sprints are always a fun occasion especially when the weather is a good as it was this year.
The 500m course heads from the reef towards the beach at Sails with six V6 vaka paddling at a time. While the various heats and final races take place, everyone else can enjoy swimming, food and drink and just chilling out.

Monday, December 9

Vaka Eiva 2013 - OC1 & V1 Iron Challenge

Video of the recent Vaka Eiva (outrigger canoe) festival on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. More than a thousand paddlers took part in the festival. This video shows some of the one-man (and woman) competitors in the OC1 and V1 categories. The women's race was 12km as was the master men's race. The open men raced over 18km.
Check the results on the Vaka Eiva website (