Friday, 12.21.12 travelogue – me
Not so much “bright” as “early” start of the day for me when my eyes snapped open at 3a.m. I had just (rather sloppily from my jetlag daze) completed “The Windup Bird Chronicle” and used Wiki to fill in the gaps of the mystery I was too lazy to figure out without rereading the last quarter of the book. I read “Gone Girl” for an hour or so in the dark (still enthralled by e-reader technology). ZP got up as well so we sneaked out of the room, still dressed in our pjs (me in my punjammies – it’s an island resort – who is to tell me I was not dressed appropriately for slinking around the place at 4a.m.?), admired the Hawaiian-themed Christmas tree in the lobby, and sat in the post-lobby veranda overlooking the pool playing with various devices before finally getting a “we’re up, come over for coffee” email from LB. We joined LB, KG, and BSG for some early morning caffeine fix before rejoining the rest of my little unit to gear up for the day. What was so special about this day? HELICOPTER DAY!
As part of Dad’s 70th birthday present vacation package, Mom and LB arranged a helicopter ride around the island. Dad, LB, KG and I drove to the Lihue airport nearby to check in at the Island Helicopter’s office. After shelling out over $300+/person (less if you pay cash but who rolls around with $1000 in their pockets?), we were discretely weighed, handed out floatation packs, and escorted to the helo. Donning the comfortable noise-canceling headphones to communicate with each other, we strapped in and gently lifted off.
The chopper buzzed over our hotel and along the coast to reach rainbow-filled Hanapepe Valley before we set down on a postage stamp-sized landing area near the 400 ft. high Manawaiopuna Falls which was featured in the movie Jurassic Park. Thankful for the surgical shoe covers, we picked our way along a short path made muddy by feral pigs tromping around (luckily none to be seen when we arrived) and let the mist from the powerful waterfall spray us and probably enter our awe-struck gaping mouths. The pilot gave us a little summary of the history of the island and the falls, the various movies and shows filmed here, and the types of flora and fauna scattered throughout.
We reboarded the whirlybird and dipped in and out of the red and black striped Olokele Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” in Waimea. The eggbeater then swooped along the NaPali Coast for more “majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, secluded beaches and pristine cathedral cliffs”. One of my favorite sightings was a storm cloud over the Pacific raining directly onto the ocean and creating a rainbow thereupon. “Wow” doesn’t cover it.
The pilot aimed the sky-crane towards Hanalei Bay & Valley before flying inside the crater of Mt. Waialeale volcano, near the Wailua Falls, and over now defunct sugar plantations and currently operating taro fields. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:
A good time was had by all. When we returned to the hotel, we met up with the rest of the family participating in the 9a.m. koi feeding time before grabbing some breakfast and starting the day: hot tubbing, sipping pina coladas by the pool, basking in the sun, exploring Kalapaki beach, throwing coconuts into a pond, eating shave ice, and generally enjoying some quality family time.