There is quite a bit of ballooning that goes on around here - totally understandable when you see the area. We've got lots of open fields (with road access) for take offs and landing as well as the scenic Vaal River and Vredefort Dome to look down on.
This morning I was up before 5am to meet at a place a few minutes from town. The air was still. Like totally still. The test balloon went straight up. Today was never going to be a distance outing.
I thoroughly enjoyed helping Felicity (pilot) and Rich (pilot) to get their kit ready and balloons inflated. Everything, from the basket to the gas tanks and balloons, is sooooo heavy! These are small baskets that can hold three people (possibly four at a squish?) and it takes a few of us to move one. I don't even think that four people could lift a basket? We tilt them to move them around and to get them on and off the trailers. And these balloons are 'small', as far as balloons go. Imagine how big a balloon must be to lift one of those huge baskets that can carry 12-odd people? !
It was really cool when the fans started to blow air into the balloons. They lie horizontal on the ground as they inflate.
|This is Rich inside the balloon, securing the crown. He is there - to the right of the round yellow centre circle. And this is a 'small' balloon!|
|Felicity in her basket.|
|We took to the air first. Looking down on Felicity's balloon.|
|Felicity in the air.|
|Looking towards the Vaal. Mist all around. No river in sight.|
It is heavy and warming work to deflate the balloon and to pack everything up. The weight is everything is really quite incredible.
|Two curious horses and two curious donkeys came to see what we were up to in their field.|
My thanks to Sylvia for inviting me and to Felicity (pilot), Rich (pilot) and Koos (I really don't think this is his real name!), who warmly welcomed me.