Today I went on the West Maui and Molokai trip with Air Maui Helicopters. I thought the conditions for the trip seemed like they were going to be less than ideal when we left the heliport in Kahului. It was raining on the East side of Maui and the clouds were looking fairly thick. However, where we were going on the West side was looking a bit more clear. As soon as we got up in the air it was as if the island had shrunk underneath us. The streets and buildings of Kahului became small and the view of the coastline grew until the lines of the waves breaking beneath could be observed coming down the entire North side of Maui with the kite-boarders and windsurfers dotting the surface of the ocean the entire way down. From the heliport we traveled West and worked our way over to the Waihe'e Valley where we broke away from the coastline and worked our way up into the valley to a place that is referred to as the "Wall of Tears". This is a place where the valley dead ends and has waterfalls that come straight out of the cliffs that are fed from subterranean aquifers that are created from lava tubes inside the ancient volcanic flow. It had been raining earlier in the day so the falls were flowing pretty well and were very visible from the Astar Helicopter. After we toured Waihe'e we continued up the North West coastline of Maui and then turned towards Molokai and crossed the Pailolo Channel. On Molokai we witnessed the beauty of the sea cliffs on the Northern Shore that are the tallest ones found anywhere in the entire world. We saw the peninsula of Kalaupapa where "Father Damien" aka "Saint Damien" did the majority of his missionary work. This coastline is tucked behind Molokai if you're looking from anywhere on Maui and to go over there is always a treat. It is similar in shape and form to the Napali Coastline on Kauai but even more pristine (if you can imagine that!). The coastline here has such rough seas and is so rocky that traveling here on a boat is rarely done except by the most hardened fisherman. The beaches and valleys are so lush, green and beautiful that I do not think I could imagine or dream of a more desirable view then the one that was in front of my eyes. After our tour of the North Shore of Molokai was over we moved over the ridge line to the Southern shores. The ancient fishponds that the Hawaiians made dot the coastline and we got down a bit closer to investigate. We flew over the shallow reef which had these channels of sand cut through it that were the most magnificent light turquoise when we noticed some dark objects dotting the middle of one of these areas. We moved in a bit closer and could see that this was a school of Manta Rays that was swimming slowly through the channel. From here we began our trip back to Maui going over the historic whaling town of Lahaina, through the valleys of the West Maui Mountains towards the heliport. As we were making our way back I thought of how I was worried about the weather as we were leaving and chuckled, it all ended up working out just fine.
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