Today’s stop was at Nawiliwili, Kauai. The last time I was here, the visual that was most memorable was that of… what I think was a defunked cannery. As I stepped off the boat and onto the dock, I finally recognized my surroundings: a large parking lot with a few slots for trolleys, tour buses and shopping shuttles to file into to pick up passengers. The joke about this stop is that not only were there the shuttles to Hilo Hattie’s and Wal*Mart, but a bonus as well: K-Mart! (Imagine, coming over two thouand miles just to go to Wal*Mart, etc…. which isn’t to say that those shuttles are avoided; everyone takes the trips anyway. Who can resist)? Anyway, we already had our fill of shopping at Hilo and didn’t feel much like hitting the stores; we were interested in visiting the Fern Grotto, and upon asking a taxi driver we found that it would cost $21 just to get to someplace nearby the Grotto, and that it might not even be open– but if it was, it would maybe cost $15 to get in (and then another $21 to drive back). Didn’t sound like the best deal, so we headed back toward the ship.
Then we saw a new bus in one of the bus slots: Air Kauai.
Air? Like flying in say…. a heeeeellllliiicopptterrrr??!
Snatching up a brochure from the driver, we immediately called to make reservations. After a few calls to really make sure our voice was heard, they let us have a couple of slots!!!
And after waiting over an hour (for preparing, which consisted of about 5 minutes of learning how to wear the utility belt– err, inflatable vests) and a slight delay, we went over to the chopper:
And then got buckled in (the seats were actually really comfortable) and were surrounded by vast windows.
Lifting up was something, watching everything shrink in size– and just when the cars and launch pads and everything appeared as small as I thought possible, everthing shrank to an even more miniscule degree. Soon we were flying above a golf course, the mountains, and then were in the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” (Waimea Canyon), saw shorelines that only aircraft and daring boats can see (the terrain was way too dangerous to hike on), and then floated around the valleys, the mountains dagger-sharp. Overall it was quite an incredible ride; I highly reccomend it! (And afterwards you can tell everyone that you rode a helicopter, too).