Thursday, January 14, 2016

Soaring above Kauai

There's something special about getting an aerial view of an island.  It puts into perspective how small this little piece of earth is when it's contrasted with the vastness of the ocean.  

And also brings to mind how small we, as tiny human beings are,
in the bigger scheme of things.

Today we are taking a helicopter tour of the island of Kauai, as we did on the Big Island of Hawaii last January.

We were pleased enough with Blue Hawaiian to re-book with them.  They are professional, polite, and they buckle each passenger in themselves.  

We also like that they give us a video of the tour -- because I have learned that photography is very difficult to achieve through those helicopter windows.  They warn you not to wear white, but even so, there's so much bounce-back (as you'll be able to tell in the photo's here) that a really good shot is hard to come by.  Mr. C says there was a tour that was door-less; but, having been a pilot himself, he's extremely safety conscious; and thus he opted for doors. He might have been nervous about me leaning out too far just to get "that one great photo" ~~ and he would have been correct to be worried about that.  And thus, instead, I have the sun streaming in (thank goodness it was a clear day!), and bouncing around on those bell-curved windows.  

It's breathtaking, truly.  One of the better helicopter rides, in my book.  Most, if not all, the Hawaiian islands have an incomplete island loop ~ meaning you can drive most, but not all the way around.  On Oahu, the road runs out at northern tip of the west shore -- there's a military base there, and the very tip is a nature preserve (this is where the Albatross nest ~~ see the post called Angels and Albatross), so there's no passable road.  

Same on the Big Island; and it's the same on Kauai.  So there's this whole dramatic, wild, rugged coastline that you don't get to see unless you do it by hiking (for days) or by air. Lacking the extra days and hiking gear, we chose the helicopter.

These cliffs are hard to describe.  They are volcanic, of course, and their jagged peaks appear to actually slice open the heavens.  That dramatic green against that blue sky, accented with white clouds ~~ 

~And then plunging down to the rocky shoreline into the blue blue water, accented with white capped waves.  So completely and perfectly beautiful that it made my heart ache.

Waterfalls are abundant on Kauai (remember, it's the Garden Isle); and many are only reachable by many days of hiking.  

Innumerable movies were filmed in various locations on Kauai.  So many that I lost track.  

The pilot zooms us into narrow canyons, so close to those sharp, ragged cliffs that I am sure that we are going to chip off a rotor or two.

But of course we do not, we are perfectly safe.  
But my heart is pounding!

He takes us through beautiful valleys like this one ~

And we fly over the dramatic Waimea Canyon, 
which we drove to earlier today;

Add the occasional dash of red to the brilliant greens and blues, and you've really got something!

Returning, now, to the airport @ Lihue, we pass over the northernmost part of the island, which is home to the Princeville Resort.

We're staying at the Princeville St. Regis ~ which you can see here ~~ it's the white buildings jutting out into the water up on the tippy-top right hand corner of the cove.

Lots of taro fields close by, where all the work is still done by hand.   This is the root from which they make a staple of the Native Hawaiian diet, their starchy paste-y Poi.  If you've never tasted it ~ well, it tastes about as good as it sounds.  

But alas, our time in the air is coming to and end.  This is one excursion that is well worth every copper penny.

I know will carry this sense of awe and unspoiled beauty with me long after we are gone away from this lovely Garden Isle.  


  1. Truly my best experience as well. You have captured it perfectly!!! Tim and I did brave the door-less ride with Jack Harter tours and you are stepped in tighter than any ride at an amusement park, so no worries for those who have that sense of adventure. Truly a MUST DO when you visit Kauai. We decided to do it after reading how many people spend thousands to get to Hawaii, but will not spend a couple hundred to have an experience of a lifetime. Thanks for sharing Sherrie!!!

    1. Thanks, Dawn. And that's all good advice. Duly noted on the "doorless"! And it's true, while sometimes these things seem expensive at the moment, in the end it can be that invaluable "experience of a lifetime" that you take home with you......

  2. As much as flying sort of really scares me I would like to try this once.
    Michelle S -- Spokane, WA

    1. You might really like it, Michelle. You feel the mobility of the helicopter much more than in a plane. Sort of the difference of sitting in your own car, vs. being in a big ole bus. The lift off & landing aren't scary -- one minute you're on the ground, then they just speed up the rotors, and whalah! You're airborne! Feels sort of like a dandelion puff lifting off in the wind. Very gentle. And same with coming back in, there's no big dramatic landing strip, they just set you back down (gently) in your little box......

  3. There aren't enough adjectives, oohs, aahs and OMGs to cover this helicopter view! Thank you!
    Dianna L - Ft. Collins, CO

  4. Yes!! Such a great way to see Kauai!!
    Diane R -- Spokane, WA

  5. Such wonderful pictures and I love the variety of the island and those pointed fingers, so delicate, and such wonder, the deep clear blue of the ocean such a wonder to see. How long are the rides so you get to see all that wonder?

    As always your pictures are amazing.. Blessings Deon

    1. It's an hour excursion, Deon, not counting the "weigh in" and safety video. I particularly enjoyed the variety of scenery, also. I used to think of an island as being "just an island". But there are dry pockets, with almost desert-like annual rainfall; and then there are wetter, rainy areas, where it showers briefly nearly every day. There's the high mountains(and volcanoes!); and the beaches at the level of the sea. The islands are awesome!

  6. This is such great information! I've heard you say that the helicopter tours are thrilling. As in your volcano article on the island of Hawaii. I know you two are really good at researching the tours before hoping on board!


Join the conversation ... comment now!