Back to Kauai – Scenes from the Air

Disclosure – we visited Kauai back in June and I’ve been recapturing our trip, bit by bit.
Previous posts:
Arrival to Kauai - Poipu Area
Boogie Boards and The Grand Hyatt Luau
Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail
Running in Poipu Kauai

It’s Friday and today’s adventure is a Helicopter ride to see the remote parts of the island. As most of Kauai is not accessible by auto, a bird’s eye view allows a unique look into the island’s beauty. We chose Sunshine Helicopters and there are many other great helicopter tour companies to work with.

As we have two teens who don’t really like to get up early (even while surrounded by so much beauty – their loss), we chose an afternoon timeslot for our tour. The tour office sits in a little strip mall by airport in Lihue - we are getting really good at navigating the roads in that direction. Each person is weighed (yup, on a digital scale, with all your “stuff”, so for me, that included my big camera and lens) and based on the weights, assigned to a flight. After reviewing the procedures and safety briefing, we loaded into a van which took us out to the helio pads, adjacent to the airport (of course).

The ground crew makes sure each passenger is loaded into their assigned seat, one at a time. Our family sat in the second row seats, but really, there are no “bad seats” here.
The Black Bird
Side note: The information packet we received after booking our reservation listed “dark shirts” as an item to wear for the tour. I understood this suggestion once we got in our seats. If you wear a light shirt (like the dude who paid extra to sit up front), the windows reflect that light color, making it harder to see through the windows. It didn’t affect my view, but it probably impacted white shirt guy up front.

The boy is ready to fly!
Ready to Ride

But first, Let’s take a family selfie:
Family Selfie

Taking off into the air!

The flight took us clockwise around the island, and immediately we got a glimpse of the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge and the Huleia Stream, flanked by the Hap'pu Mountains.
The Garden Island

The Famous Jurassic Park Falls
Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls)

A Double Waterfall and shadow of us:

We caught sight of the southern part of the island – Poipu beach before heading north to Waimea Canyon – quite a change from all the lush greenery:
The Canyon

Approaching the NaPali Coast:
Glimpses of Na Pali

For picture taking, I relied upon my iPhone for the wide angle shots and my big camera with its 70-200mm lens for mid-angle views. I ran into some trouble with the physical lens length in the chopper, since space is tight. I guess if I had to do it over, I might have gotten better results with a small 50mm prime lens. The scenes go by so fast, though, and I started to get motion sick viewing a zoomed in, shaking version of reality through a camera viewfinder.

The finale of tour – into the Mt Waialeale Crater, with its mist and cascading waterfalls
In the Mist

Scott and I had taken a helicopter ride once before – in Alaska, in our “BC” (before children) days and like our last experience, you can’t beat the views. Our daughter was a little wigged out about the whole experience as she conjured up images of helicopter crashes. The boy got a little motion sick by the end, but overall it was an excellent way to see the island, especially since we would be seeing many of the same sights again, but at ground level.

Amy at love made my home  – (October 26, 2015 at 3:17 PM)  

How amazing!!!! The island is so beautiful and your photos are wonderful!!! I get a bit wigged out in a helicopter! xx

Liz  – (October 26, 2015 at 9:50 PM)  

What gorgeous views, Shirley!
It looks like you had a great holiday!

Anita Johnson  – (October 28, 2015 at 10:11 AM)  

I hope I get there someday, the aerial shots are stunning.

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