One of my most memorable activities in Maui was when I climbed aboard a helicopter for a tour of West Maui and the not easily accessible island of Molokai by air.
For someone who can’t look down from the third floor without going weak at the knees, being propelled into the air over ten thousand feet by a tiny aircraft was not a walk in the park. However, I couldn’t let this fear hold me back from seeing the Valley Isle in all its glory.
We arrived at the Blue Hawaiian headquarters and yawned through a mandatory 45-minute safety video. We were then hooked up to our personal parachute-devices (i think? probably should have paid attention to the video in retrospect) and we nervously waited in a line to be ushered to our helicopter.
Upon boarding, we put on our earmuffs/headsets that connected us with the pilot and chit-chatted as all six passengers climbed aboard. The liftoff was smooth but, nevertheless, still induced an involuntary stomach-dropping sensation.
After zipping through the valleys in West Maui, we were soon above open water as we slowly made our way to the less inhabited island of nearby Molokai. Molokai is known for a leper colony named Kalaupapa that existed in the 19th century. As if getting the disease was not bad enough, they would then be rowed out to Molokai and pushed out of the boat to fend for themselves.
The most jaw-dropping moment goes to Papalaua Falls peeking out from behind a veil of cloudy mist. Surrounded by a lush valley, the waterfall stands at a magnificient 1200 ft. tall with a steep drop that you can see from the ocean.
After maneuvering in and out of the valleys and through billowing puffs of cloud, we headed back to Maui. We were even able to spot Ka’anapali Coast and our hotel from the air.
Honestly, I don’t know if I could ever board another helicopter, but I’m glad that the one time I did was to experience some unforgettable tropical scenery from the sky. And judging from the vegetation-inspired color of Philip’s face as he clutched his “comfort bag”, I assume that he agrees with these sentiments.