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Thursday, 01 March 2018

Flying with the Doors Off: Capturing the Beauty of Kauai - Page 2

Written by Jim Chamberlain
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We soared over the Nawiliwili Harbor and the Menhune Fish Pond. This pond was alleged to have been built by the leprechauns of Hawaii, The Menehune. We flew over the Hulela River where Indiana Jones fled the native blowguns in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. We quickly came upon another movie locale in the famous Manawaiopuna Falls from Jurassic Park. A series of waterfalls called Kaukiuki Falls cascaded down the hills nearby. The pilot narrated our tour and his calm and clear voice thru the headset made the flight informative as well as enjoyable.



We could see the southern coast near Poipu as we glided over a ridge of low mountains past the tunnel of trees into the mouth of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, Waimea Canyon.


We flew into the ten mile long canyon with the tops of the mountains 1,500 feet above us and the canyon floor two thousand feet below. We got so close to some canyon walls I felt I could reach out and touch them. The red, brown, and green colors of this natural wonder create a feeling of awe.

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As we left the canyon we emerged onto the Northwestern coast to see the highlight of the tour, The Napali Coast.


The Napali Coast is a sacred place defined by extraordinary natural beauty along its 17 mile length. The Helicopter sailed past razor-sharp ridges that tower above the Pacific Ocean, revealing beautiful beaches, unusual formations, and sea caves. The rugged terrain appears much as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements flourished in these deep, narrow valleys. Many of the sharp ridges reminded me of the fictitious Skull Island of “King Kong” fame. I had taken a boat tour along this coast before. However to truly see its dramatic beauty you have to view it from the air. Our pilot hovered and turned the aircraft frequently so all the passengers could take in the blue waters against the jagged mountains.

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Mt. Makena, the famous Bali Hai peak of the musical “South Pacific” appeared at the northern end of the coast and led us to the beautiful reefs, beaches, and bays of the popular tourist areas of Hanalei and Princeville. We flew past Hanalei Bay and up into deep emerald green canyons as we approached the center of the island and the wettest place on earth (or second wettest depending on the source).

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Mt. Wai’ale’ale is located in the center of Kauai. It rises 5,148 feet (1,569 m), making it the second highest peak on the island. The clouds hung to the peaks and the light dimmed giving an ominous feel to the green crater as light rain touched your cheeks. You really feel how inaccessible this part of the island is. In the back of your mind you hope your helicopter, which is now being buffeted by the winds reflecting off the canyon walls, stays in the air. You would not want to be stranded in this deep jungle. Then you see a beautiful triple waterfall and you feel the trip was worth it.

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Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2018

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