A Helicopter Tour of Kauai – Bucket List Item Number 1

You haven’t been to Kauai, and you have not taken a helicopter excursion? What in blue blazes are you looking forward to? This needs to be on the pinnacle of absolutely everyone’s bucket listing. No fooling, you actually must get out to the island, e-book your excursion, and take a helicopter experience across the maximum lovely, spellbinding, awe-inspiring place in the world. Stop reading this and phone your tour agent now!

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Okay, I’m a piece biased; I virtually flew Kauai tours for numerous years, and in the hobby of full disclosure, I flew for a corporation called Air Kauai. So of the route, I actually have an extraordinary perspective on helicopters and flying around islands in them. I’m going to try to proportion with you, pricey reader, why you virtually have to drop whatever different excursion plans you can have, get a price ticket to Lihue, and hop aboard an excursion helicopter. You can visit Orlando, or Branson, or the Catskills next yr.

Here’s why you need to do this, what helicopter employer you should bear in mind, how a good deal it may cost a little, what to take along, and what time of yr and time of day to go. Plus some extras: what to expect at the helicopter tour, what you might see, a protection review, and other odds and ends to make your lifestyles-changing experience even more pleasant. Let’s begin with attending to Kauai, and a chunk of the island’s mystique, starting, 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 because the Hawaiian Islands are slowly disappearing. No, this isn’t a motive to move your journey up some weeks; loosen up. Here’s a chunk of Hawaiian minutiae that some of your excursion friends, in all likelihood, might not know. There are, in reality, 127 islands inside the Hawaiian chain, not simply the seven you notice on a map today–Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niihau. The Hawaiian chain stretches throughout the Pacific for 1 two hundred miles, finishing in a bit coral atoll referred to as Kure, that’s, in reality, the very first Hawaiian Island, relationship again nearly one hundred million years. As a reference, one of the Hawaiian Islands is a touch place called Midway which is placed, properly, mid manner throughout the chain, about six hundred miles northwest of Oahu.

All the islands are volcanic in the foundation. Their source is a volcanic rift in the ocean floor called the Hawaiian Emperor vent, which lies deep underwater seventy miles south and east of Hawaii, the so-called ‘Big Island.’ Over the ultimate 100 million years, this volcanic vent has created all 127 islands*. The islands destroy the floor, develop into a landmass, cool sufficiently to assist existence bureaucracy, after which, due to the wind, water, and natural corrosive elements, they slowly erode, sinking returned below the waves. The islands are also positioned directly on a tectonic plate with a northwesterly float, which takes them off closer to Japan and Asia over their lifetimes. Each Hawaiian island simply movements Northwest approximately 1/2 an inch according to yr. Geologists claim that Kure, as an instance, will, in some dozen million years, end up parked near the Kamchatka peninsula.

Kauai itself is ready 7 million years antique. Its particular beginning, the volcano that created the landmass referred to as Kauai, is these days known as Mount Waialeale (Why-Olly-Olly). Waialeale sits within the middle of the island. Go to Google Earth and type that in, and see where it takes you. More approximately this mountain later, for the duration of your excursion.

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Speaking of the tour, permit’s get on with it. Book your flight into Lihue, the primary metropolis on Kauai. There are direct flights from the west coast. Most of the helicopter tour operators fly from Lihue airport. Here’s a listing of those businesses and an overview of each:

Blue Hawaiian: Good company, suitable safety document, no longer the cheapest, however likely the first-class, and this is no time to stint. ‘Blue’ flies from Lihue year-round, providing a comprehensive, knowledgeable tour of approximately an hour. Not nearly sufficient time to see it all, but enough to drop your jaw to the floor. Contact Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

Safari: a Good organization with an extended record on Kauai. Good protection document, and rather informed pilots. Safari gives a few perks other tour groups do now, not along with a video of your ride, available for a nominal price. Safari Helicopters Inc.

Island Helicopters: Island is a good buy tour, the no-frills, hop aboard and see the island helicopter excursion. Good, but now not fantastic, and, as I stated, this is no time to skimp. Call Island Helicopters.

Jack Harter Helicopters: Jack Harter himself changed into the original helicopter tour man on Kauai. Jack is the old guy of helicoptering on the island, having flown Frank Sinatra and different Hollywood types round various film place when ‘old blue eyes were filming on Kauai many moons in the past. Jack Harter Helicopters is unique. That stated, the organization is ideal, not incredible, notably informed, safe, with competitive prices and a terrific excursion. Harter offers two distinct aircraft depending on your hobby–the AStar for a trendy, relaxed tour and a touch fowl flown without doorways for folks that tote luxurious cameras and are, via God, going to apply them. Jack Harter Helicopters Inc.

There are different organizations to pick from. However, the ones above are those I suggest. Here’s the rest of the story: what to anticipate, what to take (and now not take), pricing, climate, safety, whilst to go, and diverse different considerations.

When you arrive on your tour, you will be given a safety briefing in step with FAA policies, much like at the aircraft. You’ll find out about the usage of various protection items and take delivery of a short assessment of your tour. Then you’ll need to step on a scale. Sorry, parents, the airlines are allowed to use standard weights, which helicopter operators ought to use. And yes, a few companies do charge extra above a certain weight. It’s for aircraft working parameters, therefore on your protection and others’. You’ll have to pay of path, and the fee structure depends on such a lot of variables I won’t get into information. Suffice to mention that a tour will value anywhere from $a hundred seventy-five.00 apiece as much as $three hundred,00, as I say, relying on booking arrangements, organization, reductions, etc. Pay it; you’ll find in no way remorse it. After the workplace visit, you’ll be taken to the helicopter, in which you may meet your pilot and ground team.

You will acquire an intensive protection briefing from the pilot on exiting the aircraft, use of flotation gadgets, an intercom device, headsets, and numerous different safety and first-rate to recognize items at the flight line. Depending on the organization you choose, you will, in all likelihood, board the plane ‘hot,’ that is, with the engine in operation, blades turning. Just be aware of your ground team, and no concerns. One notice of caution–do not go close to the tail of the helicopter, ever. Always stay in the pilot’s line of imaginative and prescient. The tail rotor is NOT your pal.

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Once aboard, settle in, put your headset on, listen to the pilot’s instructions, and enjoy your ride. In numerous instances, the pilot can also ask you no longer to talk. He’ll have to get entry to radio chatter which you cannot listen to, and he’ll reply to it. Some pilots might also assist you in eavesdropping on the air traffic management frequency. Ask them in case you’d want to pay attention to it. Your fellow passengers won’t, but.

Leaving Lihue, you’ll visit the various spots that make the excursion what its miles–one of the maximum fascinating, stunning, awe-inspiring studies of your lifestyles. You’ll see waterfalls, rainbows, canyons carved from natural erosive forces, pristine seashores inaccessible besides by way of air. You’ll go to Mauna Wai Puna, referred to as Jurassic Falls, Waimea Canyon, the misnamed Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I say misnamed because, despite what you could pay attention to, Mark Twain in no way known as it that. You’ll fly along the face of the superb NaPali coast. NaPali approaches the cliffs. This razor-sharp ridgeline on Kauai’s northwest coast is pretty probably the most stunning location on this planet. Once you’ve visible NaPali, you will recognize why the road around Kauai would not join. On the north shore, you will see Haena, where a number of the very rich live, Hanalei (bay formed like a lei), mount Namolokama with the highest waterfall in Hawaii, and subsequently Mount Waialeale.

Here’s the aspect approximately WaiAleAe. It’s the volcano that created Kauai, and you can fly around internal it. (!) That’s proper. Three million years in the past, the flying god predicted helicopter excursions, and She made provisions for them, bless her heart. In a huge, actually earth-shaking explosion, the complete east face of Waialeale blew open, exposing the volcano’s interior and essentially placing its fireplace out. Geologists have discovered shards of volcanic depend from Waialeale five miles out inside the ocean. Now the volcano, not just dormant but lengthy dead, has a gaping hole into which helicopters can fly in, make a pleasing flip, and fly lower back out.

And you’ll do this, climate permitting. Your pilot will input the volcano from the east, slow the plane, and slip in the cavernous interior of the seven million 12 months old father of Kauai. Inside the volcano, you will witness one of the maximum staggering points of interest in your life. Because of its region and the overall climate fashion on the island, the pinnacled crest of Waialeale gets a mean of 500 inches of rainfall each yr. That’s five tons of rain! All that water has to go someplace, and bet on which it is going? That’s proper. It gushes in sheets and rivers down the perimeters of the indoors of the volcano, like lava in reverse, a cascading, tumbling mass of waterfalls draping the plush, green aspects of the scarred volcanic rock. If that imaginative and prescient doesn’t give you complete frame goosebumps, you want to check your pulse. That sight alone is worth the price of admission.

Timothy Washington
Hardcore internetaholic. Social media nerd. General writer. Freelance travel junkie. Music practitioner. Twitter guru. Alcohol maven. In 2008 I was writing about wooden trains for fun and profit. Earned praised for my work researching fatback in Los Angeles, CA. Spent 2001-2006 lecturing about walnuts in Cuba. Earned praise for analyzing tattoos on Wall Street. Uniquely-equipped for deploying wooden horses in Jacksonville, FL. Spent a year lecturing about tar in Salisbury, MD.