This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and definitely the most memorable hour of our entire trip. Only 10% of Kauai is viewable by car so we decided what better way to see the other 90% than by air. After much research, we chose Jack Harter Helicopter Tours for their safety record and great reviews on both Yelp and TripAdvisor. And, although priced higher than their competitors, they were the only helicopter company that offered a doors off experience. Neither I nor Scott had ever been in a helicopter so we were both a wee bit nervous and apprehensive about it. But one of my favorite quotes is “To get the good fruit you must go out on a limb” so we were going out on the proverbial limb here to get some awesome views and photos of the rest of the island. Once we were up in the air seeing one fantastic view after another, we quickly forgot about our fears and the hour literally “flew” by. There is absolutely no other way of getting so close to Mt. Waieleale (which has the most rainfall on the planet), Waimea Canyon, waterfall after waterfall, and the breathtaking Na Pali Coast.  A few things you need to know before you go: 1) If you are prone to motion sickness, take appropriate measures before leaving the ground. I popped a Dramamine as a precaution and wasn’t bothered but some people were.  Not that the ride is extremely bumpy or scary, but you are going fast and there are a few quick dips and turns.  2) Obviously, with the doors off and at speeds of 125 mph, it will be extremely windy. You are not allowed to bring anything on board except a camera or cell phone and they must have some kind of strap and be strapped to you at all times. No purses, camera bags, etc. will be allowed. You also have to keep every part of your body inside at all times to avoid serious injury. At those speeds your arm could literally be ripped off.  3) It also is much colder up there than on the ground, so wear good shoes—no flip flops–and a light jacket. Depending on the time of year, jeans might be necessary as well. If you have long hair or don’t like your hair blowing all over the place, you will want to wear a pony tail or a tight fitting hat. 4) They will weigh you prior to the flight so don’t be offended. This is strictly for safety and proper weight distribution in the aircraft. You do not have a choice about where you are going to sit. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed at first…I wanted to sit where Scott was as I had read that the better photos were on the left hand side of the helicopter. No worries though, our pilot Miles was fantastic about turning the helicopter around so everyone on board could get a great view and photo. I could go on for hours about all the amazing things we saw, and even though my pictures don’t quite do it justice, I’ll let them try and convey the experience.  If you go…..go doors off with Jack Harter!

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