Helicopter and Luau

Trip Start Apr 12, 2014
Trip End Apr 27, 2014

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Where I stayed
Waipouli Beach Resort Kapaa
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Thursday, April 17, 2014

We had a quiet morning today after our strenuous day yesterday.  After lunch at the condo we got ready and left for our Jack Harter Helicopter Tour.  We had to have jackets, secure shoes, and cameras with straps for our OPEN DOOR tour.  We left about 45 minutes early in case there was a back up on the highway, but we went straight there with no delays.  We signed in, weighed in, and waited for our briefing.  The briefing covered seat belts, life jackets, and other safety measures including keeping all body parts inside the helicopter.  Then we got into the van to go to the airport just a mile away.  While we waited for the helicopters to get back we put on our coats and life jackets.  We watched a whole line of copters come in from all the different operators.  They circled around and then landed gently on the helipads.  We were the first group to get into our helicopter.  Erin sat in the middle in the front, Derek beside her.  I was behind the pilot on the left with Larry beside me.  We had the most open doors.  Our van driver helped us in, gave us our headphones, and buckled our seat belts.  Our pilot, Jason, took off smoothly and we were soon looking down on the airport. 

Our tour took us clockwise around the island.  So we flew over Lihue and Poipu where we could see the Tree Tunnel.  Then we went more inland and saw mountains and fields and the area where The Descendants with George Clooney was filmed.  We saw Jurassic Water Falls where they landed the helicopter in Jurrasic Park.  They were far away but not for long.  We circled down and right in front of them.  We could see the west side of the island which is dryer and browner than where we are now.  We went through canyons and past a lot of waterfalls.  We got quite close too most of them with good views out the right and left sides.  Jason gave us a lot of the history of the island as we flew.  We were pretty quiet as we flew.  It was just breathtaking!  Before long we were flying through Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific as Mark Twain named it.  We went way down into the side canyons to see even more waterfalls.  When we came up out of the Canyon we could see Koke'e State Park.  Then we crossed the tops of the mountains and went out into the Pacific Ocean where we could see the Napali Coast.  Jason took us into some of the steep valleys to see waterfalls.  We finally saw Hanakapi'ai Beach and River that Larry and Derek saw at the end of the hike yesterday.  We flew past Ke'e Beach and the parking lot and ponds we had see yesterday.  The we flew on the west side of Hanalei Bay and up a canyon to the Mt. Wai'ale'ale Crater and into the crater where we saw the Weeping Wall.  Mt. Wai'ale'ale is one of the wettest places on earth.  There is so much rain that the water pours out of the porous rock so the wall of the crater appears to weep.  When we flew back out the canyon we crossed some more farm land and before we knew it we were back in Lihue and landing.  It was a tremendous adventure with the wind whipping through the helicopter and being sometimes close to the ground and sometimes at 4000 ft. going over a mountain.  And all the while nothing beside you but air.  When we got out of the airplane we were sad to see it end, the hour went so fast.  We would all do it again in a heartbeat!

When we got back to the condo, I started this blog and then we got ready to go to the Smith Family Lauau.  We needed to be there at 5:00 so Larry, Derek and Erin put on Hawaiian shirts and I put on my new mumu.  The luau was close to our condo but it took us a while to get there because of traffic.  We parked and went right in, had out picture taken, and got on a tram.  Before the luau we toured the Botanical Garden where the luau is located.  We saw lots of trees and flowers and zebra doves, spotted doves, peacocks, and chickens of course.  We also saw some moorhens.  The tram dropped us off where the imu ceremony would take place.  (When the pig is taken out of the ground.)  We had over half an hour to wait so we walked around some more.  We actually saved ourselves places at the table when we walked through the luau hala (house).  When we got back for the ceremony there were already a lot of people standing around. 

At the beginning of the ceremony two men dressed in costume blew conch shells toward the mountains, toward the sea, toward the rising sun and toward the setting sun.  Then they moved the sand off the top of the pit which was covered by a tarp to keep the sand out.  Then they removed the banana leaves and then the pig.  The stones for the roasting are lava rock because rock without holes in it will shatter from the heat.  They put the stones inside and outside the pig which is roasted on its back.  The only seasoning they use is Hawaiian sea salt.  Then we all went for our free drinks.  They had mai tais of course, beer, wine, juice, and water.  There was a two limit drink per time to the bar.  Other than that you could drink as much as you wanted.  I only had a glass of wine as the designated driver.

When we sat at our table we found out from the woman sitting next to us that our table would be one of the first to go through the line.  It was all you can eat buffet style.  It was very well organized.  Going through the line went pretty swiftly.  There were so many choices: salad with guava or poppy seed dressing, macaroni salad, lomi lomi salad (salmon, tomatoes, and onions), cucumber salad, taro bread, sweet bread, wheat bread, fried rice, mashed potatoes, poi, seasonal mixed vegetables, Hawaiian sweet potatoes (purple), pork, mahi mahi, chicken, teriyaki beef, and for dessert rice pudding, coconut cake and a selection of fruits and jello.  I didn't have poi this time because I tried it last time.  It like eating a paste of flour and water.  The Hawaiians eat it mixed with something else to give it flavor.  We had plenty to eat and drink.  But I stuck to my one drink.  There was music from a trio during the meal and then a demonstration of hula dancing and then a hula lesson for the song "hukilau."  I knew the song from when Annette Funicello sang it on her Pineapple Princess album.

After dinner we headed down to the theater for the show.  Our pictures were waiting for us and I bought ours because it was so good.  We got seated and the show started soon after.  The stage was on a pond with two ramps coming from back stage onto a bigger stage.  There was also a ramp right in front of the audience.  We got to see the dances of the many cultures who make up the Hawaiian people today.  We saw Tahitian dances as the Tahitians are the ones who originally settled in the islands.  Of course, there were traditional hula dances that tell a story with the hands.  They also had Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Maori (New Zealand) dances.  The back drop of the stage was a waterfall that turned off and became a volcano out of which Pele, the god of fire, appeared.  Pele told of the golden people of Hawaii.  There was also a Samoan Fire dancer.  The Maori women did poi dancing in which they swung tethered weights rhythmically, and with weights that were on fire.  It was all over too soon.  I drove us back to the condo where I worked on the blog, Derek and Larry went to bed, and Erin went out to the beach to watch the moon on the water.
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