Hawaii’s Kohala Coast by Helicopter
Hawaii is often called the 50th State, but for me, it’s the 43rd. It’s easy to avoid because of its isolation (these are the world’s most isolated islands, according to TCS’s on-board lecturer David Keeling), but it’s impossible not to be won over by its beauty and grace. This is especially true on a helicopter tour of The Big Island, which includes lava-tube caves, vertiginous waterfalls, and misty moss- and fern-studded rain forests. Like many visitors, I embarked on a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour of the Kohala Coast in the comfort of an EC130 Eco-Star. Pilot Scott Hennessey was an excellent guide with informative chats on the landscape that were by turns earnest and humorous. His dramatic playlist included ukulele hits from Hawaiian masters to chill surfer-folk strums by Jack Johnson and Weezer. Each song was precisely choreographed to the helicopter’s every pivot and turn. Rise above the waterfall to the beat of pahu (sharkskin-covered drums); skim the cattle fields to slack-key guitar; soar above sea-cliffs, cue the ukulele. All heard from crystal clear noise-cancelling Bose headphones.
Much as I loved the tour, we unfortunately didn’t see any lava or volcanoes because of the heavy fog (and vog—volcanic induced fog). But that didn’t stop me from falling in love with this paradise. I finally experienced this primordial South Pacific landscape that so many have come to love over the years. And now I have a reason to come back.