It’s undeniable that Hawaii is one of the most magical places on earth. Between the swaying palm trees, friendly people, and ono food we could almost see ourselves living there. While I was born on the island of Oahu, it wasn’t until this past year that I’ve been able to really experience the other islands. Our honeymoon brought us to Kaua’i and Hawai’i (the Big Island) where we were able to spend a week on each island. We barely touched foot on Maui as we were there for only a couple of days for a friend’s birthday party. This time around we really wanted to explore the island. We did so in almost every way possible: by land, by air, and by sea. Don’t worry, we also explored with our taste buds, but that will have to be its own delicious post.
A scenic helicopter ride with Air Maui
We had literally been on the island of Maui for about twenty minutes before we whisked ourselves off to Air Maui for one of their famed helicopter tours. After a brief yet thorough safety video we found ourselves strapping ourselves in to our bird. Channeling our inner Maverick, we donned our aviator sunglasses and took to the skies high above Maui. Guys, if you think Maui is pretty from land, just wait until you see it from the air. It’s breathtaking. The lush valleys, mystic volcanoes, and gorgeous beaches were so pretty they hurt our retinas. We caught sight of a few paragliders careening off the sides of steep hills and watched as they soared over the island.
Helicopter selfies before take off.
After exploring west Maui, we made our way over the choppy Pailolo Channel to the island of Moloka’i. This island of natural beauty is home to some of the world’s tallest sea cliffs and majestic waterfalls. What isn’t the island home to? Traffic lights. That’s right, the island boasts only one resort (the Aqua Hotel Moloka’i) and a whole lot of nature. While we have yet to step foot on the island, we can tell you that the island looks magical from above. The ocean surrounding Moloka’i had its perfect ombré shades of blue and the island itself was so green with lush vegetation. Moloka’i is an island that is definitely easy on the eyes.
Our helicopter tour around Maui and Moloka’i was one of our favorite ways to explore the islands. We were able to get a lay of the land and see parts of the island that we couldn’t have covered during our short stay. Definitely give Air Maui a try the next time you find yourself on Maui.
The stunning view on our Air Maui helicopter ride
Soaring with Proflyght Paragliding
Let me be completely honest here. Chris and I have done some crazy stunts when it comes to heights. We’ve both gone skydiving, bungee jumped, zip lined, and an array of other adrenaline inducing activities. I’ve told friends and family that I would do each one of those again if the opportunity arose. I could not say the same for paragliding.
Our first paragliding experience was in South Korea. The language barrier made it difficult for me to understand what was required of me as a tandem passenger. Before I made my harrowing run down the steep embankment I watched as another paraglider got himself stuck in a tree. He was still in said tree when it came time for me and my guy to take off.
When my instructor and I were finally in the air, I found that I could hardly relax and take in the scenery as one of his gadgets was frantically beeping at us. I couldn’t understand what he was saying in Korean and only heard “Little problem. We go down”. Umm…there are only so many things that “we go down” could mean. After a million horrific ways of plummeting do the ground crossed my mind, I was informed that it only meant we had to descend sooner than more of the other riders. Needless to say, my first paragliding experience was very brief and less than ideal.
Alex, yours truly, and Chris. About to get our paraglide on.
Our experience with Proflyght Paragliding was vastly different. Dexter, the owner of Proflyght Paragliding was onsite to ensure that we knew exactly what to expect from our experience. He was extremely thorough, patient, and he put all of my inhibitions to rest. We were paired up with our tandem instructors (Chris even got to go with Dexter) and we ascended up a windy road to Haleakalā.
The day couldn’t have been more perfect. There was barely a cloud in the sky and the views from our launching point on Haleakalā left me breathless. One-by-one, I watched as Chris and Alex (our amazing travel companion from Alex in Wanderland) scurried down the hill and then took flight. I found myself almost itching to join them in the air. When it came time, my capable instructor and I did that awkward run down the slope (especially awkward as I was a good foot shorter than him) and soon found ourselves soaring high above the treeline.
Those first few seconds in the air are magical. All you hear is the wind as the trees get smaller and smaller beneath you. You can feel as the parachute catches the wind and you continue to soar higher. Similar to our helicopter ride, I was able to see so much of the island from our little slice of heaven in the sky. I looked down on the nearby lavender farm, spotted the beautiful resorts and beaches in the distance, and was even able to make out the figures of other paragliders in the distance.
My absolute favorite part of the experience was when we went on what my instructor called an “aerial roller coaster ride”. We spiraled toward the ground, turning one way and then the next. I didn’t think our ride could get anymore thrilling so imagine my surprise when my [very] trusting instructor asked if I wanted to try steering. My gut reaction was a “helllll no” but I decided that it might be the only chance I get. He showed me how to hold the reigns and guide us either left or right. I was able to complete a couple of spirals and head us towards our landing spot. I might have a future in this paragliding business after all.
I absolutely loved our time in the skies with Proflyght Paragliding. It’s a great outfit for the experienced and newbies alike and I would highly recommend a flight the next time you find yourself on Maui. Stay tuned for more adventurous posts from our time in the island. There’s surfing, outrigger canoeing, volcano cycling, and waterfall rappelling to come.
A big mahalo the Maui Visitors Bureau for hosting us while on Maui. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own.