The greatest adventure during my recent trip to Hawaii was with Makani Kai Helicopters.
I love being in the air. In my previous life, I must have been a bird. There is nothing that brings me more joy than soaring through the air with the wind on my face. It’s what draws me to skydiving. I still get that nervous feeling before leaving the plane but once I’m out the door and there is nothing obstructing my view, it’s euphoric. I had that same feeling on a recent helicopter flight over Oahu with Makani Kai Helicopters.
The Doors Off Adventure with Makani Kai Helicopters is more of a celebration than a tour, a sensory rush with the wind in your hair. We flew in the same helicopter used in the Magnum P.I. television series. The route covered most of Oahu and every seat had an excellent view, unobstructed by doors. There was nothing between me and the sky, creating a bucket list view of Oahu.
Our tour began with a beautiful view of placid Keehi Lagoon and continued over Honolulu Harbor. It wasn’t long before we were flying above our hotel, Hilton Hawaiian Village, and we marveled at its beauty from a different angle. The turquoise waters appeared even bolder from this perspective and I kept thinking how much I wanted to jump in. (I think that’s an entirely different adventure and one that I may need to get different permission to experience.)
Beyond, I could see Diamond Head crater and the “Gold Coast” where multi-millionaires make their homes. The views of spectacular Hanauma Bay were a reminder that I definitely needed to return for a day of snorkeling and sightseeing from below.
Rounding the east end of the island, we experienced the rugged coastline and dramatic cliffs before witnessing the powdery white sands of Waimanalo Beach, the gorgeous coral formations of Kaneohe Bay, the distinctive Chinaman’s Hat, and then up into “Jurassic Park” valley, where scenes from a dozen major motion pictures have been filmed. Although it was windy, it was the view that was taking my breath away. I had never seen it so clearly before and at such a wide angle. I was a bird and this was my island for the day.
The highlight of the tour was Sacred Falls, a sheer and splendid 1,000-foot cascade. I was able to experience many areas of the island just by driving around but the views of Sacred Falls were specially reserved for the helicopter flight.
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return” (Leonardo da Vinci).
The tour continued along the famous North Shore, with a dramatic view of world-renowned surfing spots like Sunset Beach, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay. I love staying in Honolulu, but it’s the wild North Shore that gets my imagination flowing. I envisioned surfing the monstrous waves or diving to the deepest depths in search of new worlds.
On our way over Oahu’s Central Plain, we saw the Dole Pineapple maze and found out that it is the largest maze in the world. Our adventure concluded with a dramatic view of Pearl Harbor, the Arizona Memorial, and the Battleship Missouri.
When we exited the helicopter, my tossed hair was wild and my eyes were slowly adjusting to the dramatic change in wind but the smile never left my face all day.