Saturday morning of the Wairarapa Balloon Fiesta and the balloons retuned to Martinborough for the first time in many years… while the weather wasn’t optimal for ballooning it was good enough (and much better than forecast) for 22 out of 23 balloons to lift off and enjoy views of the vineyards below. A good crowd of locals turned out to see it all unfold and were rewarded with some low flying over the town. I was fortunate to have a ride in the Hamilton ZK-UPP balloon flown by Kiwi Balloon Company’s Mark Brown. There were five other passengers along with fellow photographer Mike Heydon aboard and we had a great ride drifting south west of the town. I’ve put a commentary with each photo so am inviting you to scroll through them and take an imaginary voyage!!
Predawn in Martinborough and time for a flat white from Kitcheners Cafe before it all starts.
Sue at Kitcheners makes great Havana Coffee!!
Pilots briefing in the town sqaure in the middle of Martinborough.
Colour is appearing.
We set up in the local rugby club grounds right next to vineyards full of ripe grapes.
The basket is out of the trailer…
Checked and ready
The rest of the passenger list
Miz Waikato fires up next door.
Instructions from pilot Mark
You get in like this
And you …. from here!!
The basket is attached to the chase vehicle as a precaution.
Ready to inflate
Cold air starts the inflation
It takes a lot of air, in fact 210,000 cubic feet…
We are getting bigger as Miz Waikato and Team Swan also inflate beside us.
Patriot (the space shuttle) balloon pilot Barry and one of his crew checking out Miz Waikato
Miz Waikato crew are a happy lot!!
Balloons everywhere… they all followed us to the field.
What a great atmosphere as the sun is rising.
Mark checks the inside of the balloon and all the attachments.
From the mouth to the top view
It’s nearly filled.
From the top to the bottom view
The top, ready to heat up and stand up.
Down the side of the envelope
Mark Wilton with passenger Dean are first off the ground.
John Clulow fires up Miz Waikato
Patriot crew on stand by…. they decided not to fly today.
Passengers ready to go
Firing the burners
The air inside is heated
The gas is LPG and a good amount is used… I hope someone brought marshmellows.
Pilot Mark glows in the flames.
And up she goes at=s the hot air goes to the top
The pilots ride the basket as it stands up too.
Others around are getting read….
Great place for photos….
Ready to embark….
Mark gets everything ready and checks them!!
This is what you do… Mark gives the safety briefing.
Photographer Mike Heydon takes some shots…
Mark starts the burners again for lift off.
And Hamilton slowly rises.
ZK-UPP is UP!!
Daryl McKee’s new house shape is taking shape preparing to fly.
The view of Martinborough becomes apparent.
Miz Waikato is ready to leave too
Oakley father and son combo Dad Michael in the huge 275 thousand cubic ft balloon ZK-OAK and son Nicholas in ZK-WRU with the stripes. These guys are top pilots and Michael has Ballooning Canterbury.
ZK-OAK takes off – this is the biggest commercial balloon in New Zealand.
Fly over the house
Martinborough… such a nice town.
Looking good Mark.
The big balloon rises..
Middle of town
Still on the ground
John Clulow in Muz Waikato with Howard Watson in the multi coloured Mogul
The Square again
OAK over the town.
Square with fish eye view.
The crew onboard Hamilton
Lots of balloons over Marty
Scott Cursons in OH Lar Lar …..
Nicholas Oakley in WRU and Paulin Hickey from Hamilton in Sunrise
Dan King in the yellow PUFF and Chris Bransgrove in Remx
The house is up
John Clifton … who won Fiesta trophy in Transwell… a much deserved win, John is a great pilot and great guy!!
Chris rises ove Dan… balloons are ascending and descending at different rates and times and it really does lead to some amazing illusions on what is happening.
Brian Boland in Scrap Palace. Brian makes these small 2 person balloons which are quite popular with five flying in the fiesta.
Howard heads for town centre
Mark Wilton heads for the grapes…. hmmmmm
The Ruamahunga River
Scrap Palace goes underneath us
The house moves along with followers
Howard chatting to the locals
Balloons over Martinborough.
Scott and Nicholas over town.
Scott heading for the drop zone at PnK Mitre10
Nicholas Oakley with the dry hills behind.
Peter King zips past. I believe Peter was training a new pilot!
Looking down on the land
The 2014 vintage is right here.
Lots of balloons over town
Mark wilton touring around.
The newest development in Martinborough…
Peter King on the vines. Now did he do Around the Vines the next day??
Rural Sth Wairarapa
Looking doen on vines
I counted up to 17 balloons over town at once!!
Lovely graphic shapes
The Ballooning Canterbury passengers getting wet feet as Michael dips them in the river!!
Mark’s not going there!!! To the river!!
Stock on the move
Black and white
OAK lights up
Plenty of hot air!!
In the mood…..
What a quiet time
Whose house is this????
Shapes of maize
Vines.. and vines …. and more vines
Keeping the weight on.
Waiting for the crew
Nice position Mark.
The crew arrive
Balloon and trailer
Peter king and trainee coming in
Yep that’s them
Being shadowed by John Clulow
Ready to ald…
John flies past
Great first landing for Pete’s apprentice.
Pilot Mark’s wife Wendy snaps a few pics.
Mark burns of the gas from the lines ready to pack it all up
Local pilot John Bargh flies past with a wiggle of his wings..
Mark Wilton checking the maize
Kids checking on Mark in the maize!!
Stuffing the envelope back in the bag…. that is how it is done.
Nearly all in!!
People came to see it all happen… this gentleman is from Nelson and wants a ride. Next time bring more coffee and cups please!!!
Balloon on its trailer
Ready for the big trailer
basket on it’s trailer
All packed up and ready for the trailer… the end of a great journey…. thanks Kiwi Balloon Company from hamilton and special thanks to Pilot Mark brown and wife Wendy Peel, you guiys are just the best!!
Saying farewell to family and friends at home and arriving in Uganda after a long flight to be met by the wonderful Irene Acheng and taken north for the party of Francis Odida – what a welcome back to Uganda!!!