Maui Day 5 had an early morning helicopter tour on the itinerary. It took a 12 hour tour yesterday to see the island of Maui from the ground. Today we would see the same territory and much more in only an hour.Two tours providing very different points of view of the same scenery, both of them worth the money.
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It was the first time in a helicopter for me, although I have been in small two seat planes many times, even flown them on the sly, but that is another story. :)
Annette had been on a very memorable doors-off helicopter tour around the mountains north of Maple Ridge flying over the twin peaks of Mt. Blanshard, known locally as "Golden Ears". Fantastic views of the tops of the mountains, small tarns (alpine lakes), glaciers, and vistas in the back country mountains not usually seen by man due to the impossible terrain. She was a lucky girl to get to go on that private tour, today would be another highly memorable sight seeing trip from up high.
We splurged on the more expensive tour as we wanted to ensure ourselves of the better views the more expensive tour brought as they employed newer helicopters with the wide glass windows which afforded better views for the occupants.
Besides, the tour brought huge smiles to Annette's face, and I'm a sucker to do anything that makes her smile.That's why we have cats even though I am allergic to them. When people ask me "why did I agree to bring home a cat, let alone two"? My answer is simple. "Cause they make her smile"
We rose to 10,000 feet to get above the clouds to be able to view the Haleakala Observatory operated by the U.S. Air Force as part of the Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing site (AMOS0 whatever that is.
When you drive by car around the island you lose track of the fact that the Hawaiian Islands are products of volcanic activity and are in reality all large volcanoes themselves. From the air it is easier to see the truth. In this picture alone there are 4 mini-craters through which the lava flowed when the main chimney was plugged.
We circled Maui in a counter clockwise fashion, opposite of yesterday, so we seen the sights in reverse order. Even so it was pretty easy to know when we were over the wetter north coast of the island. This is the "tropical jungle" side of the island; much more lush vegetation and greenery to show for the extra rain fall. On the north-east coast dryer land has the mini craters all brown in their appearance. On this coast the mini-craters blended into the greenery of the jungle.
In North America, especially our home province of B.C., Ice Age glaciers and melt water runoff are responsible for most of the topography. In Hawaii, volcanoes and lava and rain have created all the land formations we surveyed from the comfort of our flying ship.
Flying lower at 5,000 feet the rugged coast lines of the west shore were brought into close view for a treat for the eyes and the senses. Pity that pictures never can show the full beauty that the human eye can capture. It was a treat to know that were were seeing parts of the island that we would never have known about had we stuck with the car exploring on our own.
Before too long we knew we were getting close to the end of the tour as civilization started to appear on the landscape in the form of small farms which edged all the way to the cliffs. I hope the farm animals are smart enough not to take that last step. !!
A last pose in front of our whirlybird before we went inside to take off our bright yellow personal flotation devices and grabbed our souvenir recording of the flight. I thought it was pretty cool that the entire time we were on the flight a camera was recording your sight seeing and they made that available to you at the end of the tour. It was $25.00 which I thought was a pretty cheap memento to take home to be able to relive our really fun tour of paradise as seen from 10,000 feet.
The complete set of pictures highlighting Maui from 10,000 feet can be seen here on my Flickr web site