Maui Day Five: Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour, Dinner on the lanai

May 19, 2011


After a (supposedly) relaxing day, we were back out bright and early this morning with some big plans: our first zipline tour!

I must confess that, as the week wore on, I actually wasn’t looking forward to ziplining. Don’t know why; just had a feeling like something might go wrong. Plus, it was the activity that I was trying to convince Cari we should cancel so we could go back out to Molokini again.

Breakfast and a Change of Plans

But we got up early and headed to a local diner called CJ’s, which was no more than a half-mile from the hotel. We were there at about 7:00 am and it was almost empty. One local guy was having coffee and reading the paper, while another family of tourists was eating a big breakfast. The food was good and, maybe best of all, reasonably priced. Like … mainland prices, not Maui prices.

We went back to the hotel to get ready for ziplining. But before it was time to leave, my cellphone rang. The zipline tour was canceled due to weather. The company had said it would happen rain or shine, but it was awfully gray and cloudy up in the mountains where we were headed, and I bet there was lightning up there. Either way, I wasn’t upset to get this news, but Cari was kinda disappointed, I think.

We immediately shifted into planning mode … what would we do today? What would be our Plan B?

Unfortunately, it was too late to go out to Molokini. That boat had already left — literally! After talking about things like a submarine ride or a visit to the aquarium, we decided on the most expensive option of all: a helicopter tour via Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. But that wasn’t gonna happen until the afternoon, so we did a little exploring.

Morning Walk, North

We went for a walk north along the beach up towards the Royal Lahaina Hotel. While Cari explored on the sand, I was walking/climbing along the rocks a bit when I spotted these strange, black crabs.

A'ama Crabs

They’re called a’ama crabs. And they were very territorial, so I didn’t get any closer. Cari and I walked north up toward the Royal Lahaina and, as we approached the hotel, there was a sign outside one of the shops advertising a concert on Saturday night: Toad the Wet Sprocket! You don’t know this, but Toad was one of our favorite bands in the ’90s when they were popular and we were in the early years of our marriage. When I suggested that we skip the planned romantic sunset dinner cruise tomorrow night and see Toad, instead … well, if you know Cari, you can imagine the look she gave me. Or if you’re a married guy, you can probably imagine it, too. Your wife has surely given you the same look. There would be no concert in our future.

Lunch at Kimo’s, Lahaina

After our walk, we headed back down to Lahaina to walk around, shop a bit and grab some lunch on the way to the airport and our helicopter tour. We had time to go into some of the cute little local shops, which was fun. And we decided to try Kimo’s for lunch. The food was good and the view was amazing, which pretty much describes every restaurant we visited all week. A look at the Pacific from our table:

Kimo's Lahaina, Maui

After lunch and a couple more stops, it was time to hop in the car and head out to the airport.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour

In our planning for the trip, a couple things we read said that Kauai and/or other islands were better than Maui for helicopter tours. That may be true, but let me tell you: We loved it!

We did the West Maui/Moloka’i tour and we spent the extra money to go up in their premier “eco-star” helicopter, which has a bigger cabin with much bigger windows, and also apparently has more comfortable seats. Thumbs up from us, that’s for sure. And our pilot was super friendly and knowledgeable. One reason we chose Blue Hawaiian is because they give everyone headsets and let you talk to the pilot during the trip. Here’s a video and some photos from the helicopter tour:

Moloka'i from above (1)

Moloka'i from above (2)

Maui from above

The helicopter ride was a complete blast and, if/when we get to Kauai or one of the other islands, we may want to do the same thing there.

We were gonna eat out somewhere near the airport, since we hadn’t spent much time in that area all week, but neither of us was hungry. So we want back to the hotel and eventually ordered room service, then ate dinner on the lanai overlooking the ocean. This may have been the nicest dinner all week. It was certainly the most peaceful and relaxing!

Dinner on the lanai

This day wasn’t what we expected, but it turned into another great one.


  • Reply Kris May 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    So glad you guys got to go up with Blue Hawaiian. I’ve flown with them twice (the 2nd with the doors removed) and both flights have been spectacular.

    On our first trip we received a free upgrade to the 60-minute tour, which covered the entire island. We were a bit nervous at first, but once you’re in the air, the views really blow you away and along with the pilot talking, you forget any fears that you might have.

    Had heard that Kauai was a popular island for helicopters because much of the rainforest areas are not accessible any other way, and our relatives have flown over the Big Island to see the lava flows, but our love affair with Maui keeps us going back there. It’s amazing to me to visibly see the stark differences in climates across each part of the island all at once in an hours time knowing that the island is only something like 50 miles across.

    • Reply Matt June 2, 2011 at 12:45 am

      Thx Kris. 🙂 My wife would never go up with the doors open, but I kinda think it would be cool. Hopefully I’d even go through with it if the opportunity ever presents itself!

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