Friday, June 21, 2019

Hawaii by helicopter: Blue Hawaiian adventure soars above the clouds for hidden treasures

Honolulu's distinctive skyline is even more impressive when viewed from a helicopter.

Dole Plantation's pineapple fields make striking patterns from the air.


SOARING HIGH above the Pacific, Keller leaned over to me in our ringside seats. "We're flying with the birds," he whispered.  It's true. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters delivers a thrilling experience, the closest we'll ever come to flying.  Because we're so much closer to the ground than in an airplane, we see the pineapple fields, the motion of the waves hitting the beach, the high-rise hotels and waterfalls that seem almost touchable.
HAWAII is meant to be seen  from as many vantage points as possible.  The beach is an essential, and a mountain hike is a must.  Snorkeling or scuba, definitely. But flying with the professionals
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters delivers fine views.

high above the land, looking down to admire the jungles and waterfalls that make Hawaii famous, is a treat to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
"Keller and Cookie" about to board a Blue Hawaiian 'copter.
For decades, Hollywood studios have used Blue Hawaiian to make their films on the islands.  "Pirates of the Caribbean" is one of the most famous films shot on Oahu, followed by a trio of the "Jurassic Park" blockbusters,  several films about Pearl Harbor, "George of the Jungle" "Flight of the Intruder," "Crimson Tide" and many more.
So we boarded one of Blue Hawaiian's T2Eco-
Stars, with seven seats, including the pilot.  The comfy, quiet ride was an hour of bliss and fascination with our expert pilot-guide pointing out movie locations, famous mountains and valleys, familiar buildings and of course, Diamond Head and the Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial, Honolulu's two most famous landmarks.
"Pirates of the Caribbean" was shot in the lush forests of Oahu.
WE'VE TOURED several times with Blue Hawaiian  Helicopters during its 34-year tenure, but not recently, and never on Oahu.  The highly rated company serves all four principal islands. Hawaii's legendary archipelago has been attracting nature lovers, artists, hikers and adventurers for decades to explore the verdant rainforests and admire its
Diamond Head looms spectacularly. 
cascading waterfalls. We loved seeing the white-sand and black-sand beaches from the air, and sweeping over the turquoise blue Pacific then up to the craters of Hawaii's volcanic badlands.
The helicopter is a great way to compare the differences of the islands, too.
OUR PILOT pointed out historic landings, and explained how Tahitians established permanent settlements on Oahu in about 500 ce. In 1795 Kamehameha I, king of the island of  Hawaii, conquered Oahu and united the Hawaiian Islands. In 1845 the royal capital was moved from Lahaina, on Maui, to Honolulu, on Oahu.  It is now the state capital. We viewed the buildings from on high.
WE ENJOYED a bird's eye view of Iolani Palace, the United State's only royal palace, with its revered history.  Across the street is Hawaii's judicial system, with a building made famous  in episodes of "Hawaii Five-O." (More on that next week.)
It was fun to watch the pilot at his controls, as we lifted off and arose, soaring over one of the country's most beautiful states.
Fun watching the pilot at his command station. 
With seven of us in the vehicle, he skillfully circled at important sightings, making sure everyone had an opportunity to see everything.
Our favorites were the gorgeous pineapple fields, and the cone-shaped outcroppings of lava off Kualoa Point.  Ka'a'awa Valley was beautiful, too, where many fun movies have been shot, including "Pirates of the Caribbean." The North Shore with its famous surfing beaches delighted my surfer.
Having been to Pearl Harbor the day before, it was thrilling seeing the Arizona memorial from the air.   The snazzy orange and yellow "Magnum" helicopters were lifting off near us, so that was fun, too. We opted for the doors of Blue Hawaiian, though.
Our ride was smooth and unencumbered.  Only one criticism could we offer:  it was too short.

The beautiful and fast disappearing blooms of a poppy adorn the
hillside of High Chaparral, in south-central Montana.
UP NEXT: Flower power.  We're soaking up an inordinate amount of summer moisture, and with that come beautiful blooms, in fact, a real gardener's bonanza. We'll share some of the photos from the past two weeks of floral abundance, and a few favorite lines of poetry about gardening. Meanwhile,  remember to explore, learn and live, while you catch us each Friday for a novel look at the arts, travel, nature and family.


  1. Exciting ride for you guys. Hope to make it ourselves when we visit next March. Will do one in Kauai also. Nice story and photos.

  2. Arizona AdventurersJune 22, 2019 at 6:39 AM

    Always a treat to see what you're up to! We love Hawaii, too.

  3. Delightful ride!

  4. Oregon Ocean LoversJune 23, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    We took the Blue Hawaiian Kauai flight and it, too, was magical.

  5. Portland AdmirersJune 26, 2019 at 10:25 AM

    Fun to fly high with you two enthusiastic travelers.

  6. Rome is pretty and historically fascinating, but nothing compares to nature's amazements.