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Thursday, 01 March 2018

Flying with the Doors Off: Capturing the Beauty of Kauai

Written by Jim Chamberlain
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The emerald green jungle sailed past at 150 miles per hour with nothing between me and the cliff walls but air. My helicopter tour of the island of Kauai was going to be an adrenaline charged adventure to capture the beauty of this most inaccessible pearl of the Hawaiian Islands.


I got the best spot on the Hughes 500, a 5 seat helicopter, in the right rear seat. This chopper was going to fly with no doors on the bird. The only thing between you and a thousand foot drop onto the jungle below was a 4 point harness. I hoped to get great photographs without the Aluminum and Plexiglas door between my camera lens and the beauty of the Garden Isle.

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Kauai is the farthest west of the six main Hawaiian Islands. Over 90% of the island is inaccessible by road. It has been the site of many movies from the classic “South Pacific” to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” to “Jurassic Park”, Indiana Jones’ “Raiders”, “King Kong”, and “Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides”.

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It hosts one of the wettest places on Earth and the annual rainfall creates a host of waterfalls that appear and disappear as the water flows over the steep emerald ridges and deep forested ravines. The Napali Coast is so rugged that most of it can only be reached from the water.

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I was going to try and bring back pictures of all of that in my 1 hour tour with Jack Harter Helicopters out of the Lihue Heliport. I admit that as we took off I was apprehensive. The wind was in my face and some butterflies were in my stomach. It was strange having nothing between me and the ground that was slowly getting farther away. As we picked up speed I relaxed and took in the views as we started our counter clockwise circle of the island.

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Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2018

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