Day 6: The Helicopter Ride, December 17, 2003

All of these pictures were taken from a helicopter, through the plastic window/door, on a day that was hazy and cloudy. I think the pilot liked me, though, as he sat me in the best seat, up front next to the all-plastic door. Or maybe he was just load-balancing (they weigh you when you check in; they don't tell you the weight, out of mercy.) The helicopter ride with Air Kauai, top ranked by The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, was $179, and lasts about an hour.

  1. Soon after lift-off: we head west from Lihue.

  2. A typical ridge.

  3. The lush hillsides.

  4. An interior waterfall - the first of many!

  5. Another waterfall.

  6. Approaching Waimea Canyon, in the center/west of the island.

  7. ... and still approaching Waimea Canyon ...

  8. Waimea Canyon from the south.

  9. An unfortunately hazy shot of Waimea Canyon. Consolation: from inside the helicopter, we could see everything clearly, and well.

  10. OK! Now that looks like Waimea Canyon!

  11. Waimea Canyon, with bonus reflection of my yellow life jacket in the window.

  12. Waimea Canyon - this shot gives you an idea of its extent - it's gargantuan.

  13. You'll never believe this. This is a picture of Waimea Canyon.

  14. Na Pali Coast. This is the first of many pictures of the Na Pali coast. This is the western coastline, which is all but inaccessible. You can get to parts of it by doing some difficult backpacking. Or you can cruise offshore in a sightseeing boat.

  15. Na Pali coast.

  16. Na Pali coast.

  17. Na Pali coast.

  18. Close-up of tree-furry ridges of the Na Pali coast.

  19. This does not strike me as easy hiking territory. Therefore, let us start planning the Kalalau/Na Pali backpack now!

  20. Rounding the northwest arc of the island.

  21. The northern Na Pali coast.

  22. The northern Na Pali coast.

  23. Possibly the beach I hiked into, via the Kalalau trail. I kind of doubt it, though. That beach had a clearly visible boulder field.

  24. Looking back on the Na Pali coast.

  25. A fine reflection of a yellow life jacket!

  26. Northwest area.

  27. The clouds rest on the mountain, which responds with crying out several waterfalls.

  28. An art shot of the clouds meeting the waterfall.

  29. Another waterfall.

  30. Hanalei Bay (wetter on the north coast, but apart from that, I think this would be a great place to stay.)

  31. Hanalei Bay.

  32. Flying into the center of the island. At this stage the woman next to me got motion-sick and puked into two airsickness bags. I felt sorry for her but let's face it, or maybe you don't want to face this, but it smells awful.

  33. Near the center.

  34. Guess what ... another waterfall!

  35. Another art shot - clouds into cascading waterfalls.

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: December 18, 2003