So we rode a helicopter in Kaua’i.
It was not on my bucket list.
I never wanted to take a helicopter ride.
It was the easiest way for me, however, to see something on my bucket list: the Na Pali Coast.
Our daughter thought it sounded like a lot of fun.
So up we went.
I’ve flown airplanes for years. You always have a sense the pilot is preparing for take off.
You can hear the engines rev, feel the acceleration and the hurtling through space.
As the nose tilts up, you feel the steep rise and can see the same out the window.
Often it’s bumpy until you get to cruising altitude and everything smooths out.
It’s not like that in a helicopter.
We crab walked under the spinning blades and climbed in.
Bending over was not necessary, but it felt safer!
Once all five of us were strapped in, the helicopter maneuvered to the right facing the distant hills.
While I waited for the sense we were taking off, I glanced to my right out the window.
We were already fifty feet off the ground.
I hadn’t even noticed!
Helicopter and height
The pilot skirted the rim of the steep hillsides south of the Lihue airport, happily chatting in his microphone.
We all wore headphones to keep to a dull roar some of the noisy whirring above our head.
With all the noise, we couldn’t speak to each other or hear the screams. (Joke).
It felt like we were sitting in chairs gently gliding along the sharp ridges, so close surely we could reach out and touch them.
(Speaking of touching things, we chose a helicopter tour that had doors).
I tried hard not to think about how much air was beneath my feet to the ground.
(The reverse of what I experience in caves where I deliberately don’t think about how much rock is above my head).
In an effort to keep the acrophobiac terror under control, I didn’t look down either.
The view straight ahead over the pilot’s shoulder was splendid, anyway.
Waterfalls and a canyon
A helicopter ride in Kaua’i is the best and most efficient way to see the many waterfalls that dot the island.
We circled the famous Jurassic Park waterfall (from the movie), but there were so many others to admire, we didn’t need to land.
(You can’t land there at the present time).
We wended up through the Waimea Canyon, a beautiful and colorful land best seen by air.
We’d visited there many years ago, but the helicopter provided a far better panorama than anything we saw from the narrow road.
I waved at hikers–who didn’t see me, of course.
Na Pali Coast
A tilt and a twist and we reached the blue coast.
My stomach did some squirming along this stretch of the trip, but I held it together.
(Look at the horizon; don’t look down!)
The horizon presented beautiful views.
We saw catamarans and sailing ships, steep cliffs, beautiful empty beaches and a stunning sky.
Such a glorious afternoon for a helicopter ride!
The pilot circled back several times so riders on both sides of the helicopter could admire the views.
We chose the final flight of the day, 4 o’clock, for better use of the sun on the cliffs.
Sunshine Helicopters also suggested the first flight of the day as golden for light.
As we flew along the north shore near Princeville, we saw the coast we drove along the day before.
The reefs were obvious–the pilot claimed they could be seen from the space shuttle.
We saw taro fields, spiked mountain tops, more waterfalls and took a spin through the extinct volcano crater in the middle of the island.
By the end of our 50 minute cruise I wasn’t bothered by the amount of air under my feet.
My stomach still lurched.
I still savored the views.
And was perfectly happy when I stood on land again.
A helicopter ride on Kaua’i was magical.
We’re glad we went.
A beautiful helicopter flight around Kaua’i. Click to Tweet
Photos from a helicopter ride in Kaua’i. Click to Tweet