One evening while listening to poetry reading in a cozy konoba on Prvić island, a sudden realization dawned upon us:
Kites are poems of the wind.
After all the fun and games we’ve had with kite workshops – check out Part 1 of our kite adventures on Prvić island – it was time to take the real stuff out.
Prvić Luka is beautiful and cozy and small – which is great, of course, but not so much for making an aerial spectacle. Large kites need enough room for their dance so the lines don’t tangle up; kiters need place to walk the kite down and to pull it up, and that’s hard to do if the sea creeps up to you from behind.
There are three basic winds blowing on Prvić: maestral from the coast in, bora from the land to the sea (both more or less perpendicular to the coast), and jugo, southern / southeastern wind blowing parallel to the coast. They all have a distinct character – bora is wild and crazy, maestral is soft and caressing, jugo is strong and brings the rains.
Geography of Prvić makes jugo the preferred wind for kiters; it blows almost parallel to the coast and we can put the kites up on the pier. The pier at Prvić Luka is long enough for quite a lot of kites to fly peacefully, and if a kite crashes it ends in the beautiful sea – clearer than the wind, they say – and not on a random roof or the church tower.
This year we got the maestral. It is a nice, soft, easy sea breeze (a bit too easy for some kites) that blows from the sea towards the land. It is also anabatic, meaning it rises up as it reaches the island, and that complicates things.
As the maestral reaches the coast it starts to go up due to the difference in air pressure caused by different heating capacity of the sea and the land. In Prvić Luka is also deflected upwards by the church and other buildings, the trees and the hill behind it. The air pushed upwards spreads, cools, and falls back down over the sea, basically creating a loop.
This wind loop – a huge and gentle rolling turbulence – makes kiters nervous. The kite will rise nicely in the soft maestral, pushed up aerodynamically. Then it will reach the anabatic part of the moving air and continue to rise – now without the dynamic lift, because the air itself is going up. As the kite reaches the top of the roll, it will ether fly over and eventually end up behind you in the sea, or it will suddenly lose all lift, stall, and crash on the top of the church tower or some other tall and inaccessible thing, as naughty kites like to do.
In such conditions kites must be flown at the sweet height, above the turbulent layer near the ground, but below the anabatic area where they would lose lift: the wind has to have a horizontal component that creates dynamic lift. As this ideal height changes, a kiter must always keep an eye on unpredictable kites so they don’t tangle up (in a rolling turbulent wind every kite dances with itself like Billy Idol), or start to crash.
The wind poetry show on Prvić was great. We managed to overcome all these adverse conditions and put up a dazzling aerial spectacle that the people of Prvić Luka, the tourists, and the visitors of the Creative Days of Faust Vrančić festival thoroughly enjoyed. We know that, because the next day everyone was complaining about a sore neck – from all the looking up! 🙂
After our wind poems rang out the hosts treated us to another kind of poetry – the amazing Mediterranean and Dalmatian cuisine. Octopus paprikas with palenta, black risotto (squid’s ink makes the colour), fried fish, beef stew with pasta … all these edible poems made our tastebuds sing for hours.
Again – huge huge huge thanks to Antonia, to Drenka, Gaša, Vesna, Sara, Vlada, Simona, Tico, Martina and everyone else, to Faust Vrančić Memorial Centre, to Udruga Otok, to all the kids and their teachers, to other KDFV festival participants (especially to STEMerice for the coolest music ever), to Konoba Nanini, Restaurant Stara Makina and Konoba Mareta for the hospitality and really great food – and of course to all good people of Prvić Luka.