April 22
The Great Mega-Ray Disaster

From the people who brought you the Great Trilobite Disaster, here is the story you have been waiting for.

It's Berck! It's Big! And boy-oh-boy is it Buried!

Mega Ray
Mega Ray

Peter Lynn's Mega Ray is a truly astounding piece of modern kite engineering.

With good reason, it has been proclaimed the world's largest kite -- 42 meters from wing-tip to wing-tip and 28 meters deep -- a delightful 600 square meters of lifting surface -- not including that humongous tail.

Who but the indefatigable Peter Lynn could deliver, assemble, anchor and loft this giant??

There is an old joke .... Where does a giant Mega Ray sleep?? Anywhere it want to!

Peter brings the kite down at the end of a flying day and simply leaves it on the field. Why bother to spend the hours and the effort to pack it away? Why go to the trouble to set it all up again in the morning?? No one is going to steal it....

So as the sun sets after a perfect flying day, the giant Ray lies peacefully on the beach. And then the winds begin to blow. And the rain begins to fall. And the sands begin to swirl..

For three days we hunker down in the beer tent waiting for the tempest to blow through. Finally the sun rises again over Berck Plage. And finally Peter returns to the field where he had left his kite...

Where did it go??

Funny -- I could have sworn I left that Mega Ray out here somewhere...

Peter criss-crosses the sodden field looking for a stray piece of line or tattered nylon.

Could someone have spirited the kite away late in the night?? Not possible. Could it have blown apart and drifted away? Inconceivable. Could someone have come and packed it away safe and dry?? Not likely.

Wait ... what's this??

Sand

Why -- here it is!

Sand

It's under all this sand!

Sand

It's under all this bloody sand!

We begin to dig. And as we dig, Peter begins to mumble...

Six hundred square meters of sand ... 15 to 20 centimeters deep ... wet... comes to 25 tons of sand!!! And that doesn't include that humongous tail!!

We inturrupt this drama for a brief meteric conversion: That's seven-hundred-seventeen square yards of sand ... 6 to 8 inches deep ... wet... comes to 50,000 pounds of sand!!!

And that still doesn't include that humongous tail!!

Tail

We begin with that humongous tail -- slowly pushing the sand to one side.

More Tail

Three hours later, a soggy dirty shape begins to emerge from the beach.

Most Tail

We unzip the section, fill it with air, and begin to brush the sand off.

Other people down the beach are beginning to launch kites. They are having fun. We are digging for wet fabric and beginning to ache from the task.

You can stand inside the tail and barely touch the roof. I know this because I slipped inside for ten minutes to avoid more digging.

What am I doing here anyway?? I picked up all my kites before the storm came. I didn't leave my stuff strewn around the field to get buried. (sigh)

But Peter is a good friend and in need of help. Rain is forecast for tonight and there is still 600 square meters of kite to uncover. This is just the humongous tail...

Inside the Beast

Throughout the day, volunteers come and go. Peter digs down to find the zippers that separate the monster into four section. He calls it "zipper mining". The only way we can get free is to uncover one portion at a time and pull it out. But to expose one part , you have to throw the sand onto another. And there is so much sand! As we dig, the wind blows more sand back across the fabric. We labor on and the curious come to gawk.

Digging the Tail Gawkers Digging More of the Tail

And then finally the team begins to grow. We don't know if they feel sorry for us, are being kind, or simply want us out of the way so they can walk their dogs on the beach. With the French, one never knows. But section-by-soggy-section, the Mega Ray begins to emerge from beneath the beach

Finding the Edges Uncovering Sections Pulling them Clear

So after about five hours of digging sand, I'm starting to think...

  • If we just left the damned thing here, who would notice?
  • Can't we just wait for the wind to blow the other direction??
  • Peter better be paying for beer tonight!
  • I bet I could get a really good price if I offered to buy it right now...
Thinking...

You think digging is fun?? Try stuffing. Try stuffing wet dirty heavy fabric into a sack. Normally these bags weigh about 60 pounds when full. But when full of wet fabric, the weight triples.

Stuffing One Section in Each Bag

The day wore on and finally, Peter was able to bag the Mega Ray and drag it off the beach. He needed a truck to move all five bags.

Several points need to be made about this story.

  • First, Susie wants me to stress that it wasn't our kite. In fact, I wasn't even involved until the rescue began. Really!
  • Second, unless you are flying the Mega Ray, don't leave your gear on the field overnight!
  • And finally, that Peter Lynn makes a tough kite ... After being buried, drenched, shoveled and pulled out from under all that sand, the Mega Ray looked fine and will be back in the sky before the week is out....

Oh, and yes... Peter did indeed buy the beer.

Back in the Bag and Ready to Roll!

Mini Trilobites

Click here for another
Mini Trilobite image.

Here is some exciting news from GKPI! We are now ready to ship the new Mini Trilobites!!

These are designed by Peter Lynn and licensed to GKPI for production. Unlike the original minis which had only two colors, these each feature a full six-band design and a single bucket tail. They are more than twenty feet long.

And here is the other part of the great news. The original Trilobite mini sold for $700. These are just $450. We also have mini Octopus for $400. Update readers like you can own the very first ones!

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