A helicoper ride reveals even more of the beauty of Hawaii
Stars and Stripes February 10, 2011
Like a tourist, I rented a helicopter to get a bird’s-eye view of the wonders of the island. And I’m so glad I did. Not only did I discover new things, but I also enjoyed a new view of familiar places.
I hopped onto a Hughes 500 helicopter — a similar model to the one flown in the popular Hawaii-based TV series “Magnum P.I.” — at the stunning Turtle Bay resort on the North Shore of Oahu and began my adventure in the sky.
In an hour, I saw most of Oahu. I couldn’t have chosen a better day. The way the weather changed from one side of the island to the other was very surprising. While much was clear and radiant, other parts were filled with clouds and light showers. I even spotted a couple of rainbows along the way. It was beautiful.
From the awe-inspiring North Shore, the aircraft made its way over the grand waterfalls of Sacred Falls near Hauula. The tour continued toward the Windward Coast, flying through Ka’a’awa Valley, backdrops for the film “Jurassic Park” and television series “Lost.” Although cloudy and rainy throughout this portion of the flight, it was still quite a gorgeous sight of Kaneohe Bay and its amazing sandbars and reef system.
As we flew over Makapu’u Beach and Koko Crater on the eastern side of the island, the sun was shining. From there we made our over well-known sites including Diamond Head, Waikiki and Pearl Harbor. We even spied some of Hawaii’s famous pineapple fields before returning to the North Shore.
A flight around the island isn’t cheap, but there are a number of companies offering packages ranging from $150 to $250. For those interested in photography, some companies offer preferred seating and even doors-off flying.
I wanted to make the most of my experience and chose to fly with the doors off. It was a bit disconcerting at first. Staring out of the helicopter, I realized the only thing keeping me from falling out of the aircraft was my seatbelt. I’m not going lie to you, it was a little scary. And I made sure I had my hands wrapped securely around my very expensive camera.
I really enjoyed my flight around the island, and highly recommend it for both newcomers and longtime residents. What a view!