Tuesday morning (Sep. 4) we awakened at 6:00 am, with plans to meet Dorothy in the lobby at 7:15 am. Dorothy told us the previous day that she had something planned for us. She wouldn’t tell us what “the something” was that she had planned.
Dorothy texted Bob around 7:00 am to ask if we were up. We were up and had been sitting on our balcony enjoying the view and watching the cruise ship come into Hilo.
Dorothy came to our room with a couple “biscuits” (cookies) to stave off any hunger pains. As we continued to watch the cruise ship, Dorothy mentioned that for “the something” she had planned that we would not be able to carry a cell phone unless it was secured by a lanyard. Dorothy also said that I wouldn’t be able to change my camera lens, so I should bring the most versatile lens with me.
This is when I put two and two together, based upon the given evidence:
(1) no cell phones unless secured by a lanyard
(2) the inability to change a camera lens
(3) Dorothy asking if we had packed long sleeve shirts, as we were preparing for this two-day circle tour. (My reply had been “no”. Why would we need long sleeve shirts in Hawaii???)
(4) The need for our height and weight. In an earlier post I mentioned a conversation that Dorothy and I had before we left for Hawaii. Dorothy wrote that she needed both Bob and my height and weight. After I provided Dorothy the requested information, she said “Thanks, now you will be better matched for calf wrestling”. That sure was a strange conversation!
I asked Dorothy if we were going on a helicopter ride. Dorothy’s response was “Yes”. Our surprise was a helicopter ride!
What a BIG surprise!
We drove to Hilo Airport from the hotel to the Paradise Helicopter Tour counter. Dorothy had booked us on a Doors-off Lava & Rainforests Adventure. At the tour counter we had to step on a scale. Maintaining proper weight and balance in a helicopter is important in order to provide guests with a safe, smooth and comfortable experience. After being checked in, we were directed into a meeting room. We watched a movie about how to stay safe before, during and after our ride. The main thing that stayed with me from the video presentation was not to allow anything to fly out of the helicopter. Doing so could cause the helicopter to crash! Bob and I, along with 7 other couples (if I remember correctly), were escorted to a waiting area located in front of a fence just off the airfield. I believe there were four helicopter flights that morning, two couples per helicopter. We were on the last flight.
Our helicopter ride lasted approximately 45 minutes. We shared the ride with Emily and Ben, a young couple from Florida. Emily moved to Florida from Pennsylvania 6 years ago. Emily and Ben sat in the front, next to the pilot, whose name was Matt. Ben had a window seat. Bob and I sat in the back seats and each had a window … DOORS-OFF remember? We were strapped in our seats, and for the first 15-20 minutes I didn’t move much. I was really nervous. Bob had a strap at the top of his window, which he held onto the entire flight. When he left go, after we returned to Hilo Airport, his hand was numb! My nervousness began to ease about halfway through the flight, when I realized if I sat upright that my communicator wouldn’t blow off my head! We saw the rainforest, steam rising out of fissures, a little red dot where lava still burned hot, volcano crater that we could see to the bottom, and waterfalls. Our pilot did an EXCELLENT job narrating our tour. He was both humorous and informative.
I put together a slideshow of the photographs that I took, while in flight. Be sure to click full screen for best viewing. (Full screen is the rightmost icon on the bottom right of the YouTube screen.)
What a super awesome experience!
Thank you so much, Dorothy and John. We cannot thank you enough! We will NEVER ever forget our very first helicopter ride!
We returned to the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, after our helicopter ride. We checked out and continued Day 2 of our two day circle tour of the island.
-To Be Continued-