You haven’t been to Kauai, and you haven’t taken a helicopter excursion? What in blue blazes are you waiting for? This desires to be at the pinnacle of all of us’s bucket listings. No fooling, you sincerely need to get out to the island, e-book your tour, and take a helicopter ride across the most beautiful, enchanting, awe-inspiring location on the planet. Stop analyzing this and phone your tour agent now!
Okay, I’m a piece biased; I clearly flew Kauai excursions for numerous years, and within the hobby of full disclosure, I flew for a company called Air Kauai. So, of course, I actually have a unique attitude on helicopters and flying around islands in them. I’m going to try to share with you, dear reader, why it’s miles which you truly must drop something other holiday plans you could have, get a ticket to Lihue, and hop aboard an excursion helicopter. You can go to Orlando, or Branson, or the Catskills subsequent yr.
Here’s why you need to do that, what helicopter employer you ought to don’t forget, how tons it may cost a little, what to take alongside, and what time of yr and time of day to head. Plus a few extras: what to expect on the helicopter excursion, what you might see, a protection evaluation, and other odds and ends to make your existence-altering revel in even more pleasing. Let’s start with getting to Kauai, and a bit of the island’s mystique, beginning, as they say, at the start, the starting place of Kauai.
Kauai, or the Garden Island, is the furthest (exposed) northwest island inside the Hawaiian chain. I say uncovered due to the fact the Hawaiian Islands are slowly disappearing. No, this isn’t a reason to transport your journey up some weeks, relax. Here’s a chunk of Hawaiian minutiae that some of your tour buddies probably might not recognize. There are, in fact, 127 islands in the Hawaiian chain, not just the seven you notice on a map these days–Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. The Hawaiian chain stretches across the Pacific for 1,2 hundred miles, ending in a little coral atoll called Kure, that is, in reality, the very first Hawaiian Island, courting back nearly a hundred million years. As a reference, one of the Hawaiian Islands is a little place known as Midway, which is placed, nicely, midway across the chain, approximately six hundred miles northwest of Oahu.
All the islands are volcanic in their starting place. Their source is a volcanic rift within the ocean floor called the Hawaiian Emperor vent, which lies deep underwater seventy miles south and east of Hawaii, known as ‘Big Island. Over the last one hundred million years, this volcanic vent has created all 127 islands*. The islands smash the surface, turn into a landmass, cool sufficiently to help existence forms, after which, because of wind, water, and herbal corrosive elements, they slowly erode, sinking again below the waves. The islands are also positioned without delay on a tectonic plate with a northwesterly waft, which takes them off closer to Japan and Asia over their lifetimes. Each Hawaiian island truely movements Northwest approximately 1/2 an inch according to 12 months. Geologists claim that Kure, for example, will, in a few dozen million years, grow to be parked close to the Kamchatka peninsula.
Kauai itself is set 7 million years vintage. Its unique foundation, the volcano that created the landmass known as Kauai, is today referred to as Mount Waialeale (Why-Olly-Olly). Waialeale sits within the center of the island. Go to Google Earth and sort that in, and see wherein it takes you. More approximately this mountain later, at some stage in your tour.
Speaking of the excursion, let’s get on with it. Book your flight into Lihue, the main town on Kauai. There are direct flights from the west coast. Most of the helicopter excursion operators fly from Lihue airport. Here’s a listing of these organizations and a top-level view of every:
Blue Hawaiian: Good organization, good safety report, no longer the cheapest, however in all likelihood the first-class, and that is no time to scrimp. ‘Blue’ flies from Lihue year-round, providing a complete, informed tour of approximately an hour. It is not almost enough time to look at all of it, but enough to drop your jaw to the ground. Touch Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
Jack Harter Helicopters: Jack Harter himself become the unique helicopter excursion guy on Kauai. Jack is the old guy of helicoptering on the island, having flown Frank Sinatra and other Hollywood sorts around various movie locations. In contrast, ‘old blue eyes turned into filming on Kauai many moons ago. Jack Harter Helicopters is authentic. That said, the employer is ideal, no longer extraordinary, exceedingly knowledgeable, safe, with aggressive costs and an amazing tour. Harter gives two special aircraft relying on your hobby–the AStar for a widespread, comfy tour and a little bird flown without doorways for individuals who tote luxurious cameras and are, via God, going to apply them. Jack Harter Helicopters Inc.
There are other groups to select from. However, the ones above are the ones I advocate. Here’s the relaxation of the story: what to anticipate, what to take (and now not take), pricing, weather, protection, while to head, and various issues.
When you arrive on your tour, you’ll be given a protection briefing per FAA regulations, similar to the aircraft. You’ll learn about the use of various protection gadgets and be given a short overview of your excursion. Then you’ll step on a scale. Sorry, oldsters, the airways are allowed to use general weights; helicopter operators have to use really. And yes, some companies do charge more above a certain weight. It’s for aircraft working parameters, as a consequence of your safety and others. After the office visit, you’ll be taken to the helicopter, where you will meet your pilot and floor crew. You’ll need to pay for the route, and the price depends on many variables I may not get into details about. Suffice to say that a tour will fee everywhere from $one hundred seventy-five.00 apiece up to $300,00, as I say, relying on reserving arrangements, company, discounts and so on. Pay it; you’ll never regret it.
At the flight line, you may acquire an extensive safety briefing from the pilot on exiting the plane, flotation devices, intercom system, headsets, and diverse different protection and satisfactory to realize objects. Depending on the company you choose, you will, in all likelihood, board the plane ‘hot,’ that is, with the engine in operation, blades turning. Just take note of your floor team, and no worries. One observes of caution–do now not pass near the tail of the helicopter, ever. Always live inside the pilot’s line of imaginative and prescient. The tail rotor is NOT your pal.
Once aboard, settle in, place your headset on, pay attention to the pilot’s instructions and enjoy your experience. In numerous instances, the pilot may also ask you not to talk. He’ll have access to radio chatter that you cannot pay attention to, and he will respond to it. Some pilots may additionally allow you to snoop on the air traffic control frequency. Ask them in case you’d want to hear it. Your fellow passengers may not, however.
Leaving Lihue, you will visit the diverse spots that make the excursion what it’s far–one of the maximum fascinating, lovely, awe-inspiring experiences of your lifestyle. You’ll see waterfalls, rainbows, canyons carved from natural erosive forces, pristine seashores inaccessible except through air. You’ll go to Mauna Wai Puna, so-known as Jurassic Falls, Waimea Canyon, the misnamed Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I say misnamed because, regardless of what you could listen to, Mark Twain in no way referred to like it that. You’ll fly alongside the face of the dazzling NaPali coast. NaPali means the cliffs. This razor-sharp ridgeline on Kauai’s northwest coast is pretty probable the maximum beautiful place on the earth. Once you’ve seen NaPali, you may understand why the street around Kauai does not connect. On the north shore, you’ll see Haena. Among the very rich live, Hanalei (bay formed like a lei), mount Namolokama with the very best waterfall in Hawaii, and ultimately mount Waialeale.
Here’s the factor about WaiAleAe. It’s the volcano that created Kauai, and you can fly around its interior. (!) That’s right. Three million years ago, the flying god expected helicopter excursions, and She made provisions for them, bless her heart. In a big, literally earth-shaking explosion, the entire east face of Waialeale blew open, exposing the interior of the volcano and essentially putting its fire out. Geologists have discovered shards of the volcanic count from Waialeale 5 miles out inside the ocean. The volcano, not just dormant but long dead, has a gaping hollow into which helicopters can fly in, make a nice flip, and fly again out.