Before arriving in Oahu, I looked into plenty of activities: bike riding, snorkeling, surfing lessons, shark cage diving, the list goes on. There was only one thing, however, that I was sure we’d end up doing since my dad had made it his number 1 request, and that was a helicopter tour.
We booked our trip with Blue Hawaiian, and while I was excited, I was also a little nervous. I’d never been in a helicopter, and somehow it seemed a bit more precarious than your average 767. When our initial trip was canceled due to bad weather, we crossed our fingers that the rescheduled time would work out and woke up bright and painfully early on Saturday morning to try again.
Upon arrival we had to watch a safety video and get kitted out with our sweet life vest fanny packs before making our way to the helicopter. Rodolfo and I didn’t mean to match either each other or our ride, we’re apparently just that cool.
We were a little bummed to find that the four of us were in the backseat. The helicopters hold six passengers plus a pilot, and seat assignments are done by a computer which takes each person’s weight – getting on the scale after 5 days of massive buffet breakfast was eye-opening for some of us – and figures out the best weight distribution for safety reasons. I’m sure the people in the front seat were very nice, but we wished they would go away until we realized that honestly, the view from the back is still incredible.
It was a little hard to take photos through the windows of the helicopter since they had some bad glare, and nothing could do the experience justice, but here’s our best shot (many of these by Rodolfo). The tour took us over Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, past the extinct volcano that is Diamond Head, over Hanauma Bay and up the east coast to see Chinaman’s Hat, Kailua, and the Sacred Falls. This latter is amazing – I don’t think any photo can capture just how high the waterfall is.
We went up to North Shore, saw the coffee plantations and Dole pineapple plantation and came in over Pearl Harbor, which was a little eerie considering just the day before we’d been to Pearl Harbor and knew we were flying in the same direction that the Japanese bombers had.
If you get the chance to do a helicopter tour, I say go for it. We saw so much that we didn’t have time to cover on the ground, and some of the views were just incredible. We had nothing but good things to say about Blue Hawaiian, especially after some of the safety horror stories we’d heard. Have you ever been on a helicopter ride? What did you think?