Hawaii has always been one of our favorite vacation spots, and Maui our preferred island; it's a place that always makes us smile as soon as we land there. This time we finally took the helicopter trip we'd long promised ourselves, and picked the tour of West Maui and the north coast of Molokai. It was, of course, spectacular! (As usual, more photos can be found in the Gallery of the Month; click on any image to enlarge it.)
Taking off from the heliport at Kahului Airport, we crossed Kahului Bay on our way to West Maui. As usual, there was a stiff breeze blowing from the northeast, which makes this one of the premier windsurfing locations anywhere and a prime spot for surfing competitions.
Halfway across we saw another of those locations where two tidal flows meet in a clash of bubbles. I'm always struck by the color change from one flow to the next, and must work out why that happens one day.
Further north along the rocky coast near to the spectacular Nakalele Blowhole, the surf pounds into the cliffs with a relentless determination, producing some dramatic outlines and some weirdly eroded rocks.
Over towards the Molokai coast the surf was still breaking in fine style. This particular wave left a trail of foam that reminded me of a goat's head, complete with horns - or maybe I'm just seeing the waves as perpetually butting heads with the rocks.
The north coast of Molokai is renowned for its sheer drama, with 3,000-ft cliffs plunging straight into the sea. A massive earthquake 200,000 years ago split the island, with the entire north side falling into the ocean and leaving this dramatic result.
Back over West Maui we flew inland from the Kaanapali resort area, climbing up towards Puu Kukui mountain and looking back at the old lava flow that curves down towards Lahaina. I wonder why so much of the residential development is on the flow itself.
On the way back to the heliport we flew over what appeared to be a settlement pond for some chemical plant in Kahului, but checking Google Maps later it actually turned out to be the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary! I don't know what the attraction of that yellow water is to the wildlife, but I do wonder how the pilots taking off from the nearby airport feel about having birds so close to the runways...