Last month, we were lucky enough to spend our 10 year anniversary in Hawaii, which made it the best trip ever!
[In case you missed it, click HERE to read how we fell in love!]
We have been thinking about our big "1-0" anniversary for a while, contemplating on what we should do or how we should celebrate it. Usually for our anniversaries we spend the evening going out to dinner or a movie - I know, I know, totally boring. For our 10 year anniversary, because it is so special, we wanted to do something really over the top and fabulous. Go big or go home!!!
We decided to do something daring and luxurious - something that we had never done before, but always something we wanted to do. We decided to book a private helicopter tour of the Big Island!!!
We decided to go with Paradise Helicopters out of Kona airport, and they took us on a 4 hour tour of the entire island. What's magnificent about the Big Island in particular, is that it has 11 different world climate zones (rainforest, desert, etc.) I was totally nervous to be in a helicopter, but our pilot was ex-Air Force so it made me feel a bit more confident! Our pilot was very experienced, and he hovered right over the volcanoes and delved deep into remote valleys. He went around and around so we could get the best shots for our camera.
First, we traveled South of Kona, over the Kona coffee plantations and around the Mauna Loa volcano. Then, we sailed over the Kau Desert and over the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which had an amazing variety of Earth formations, thanks to the volcanoes.
As we approached the island's most active volcano - Kilauea - there was smoke fuming out of hotspots, miles upon miles of fresh black wet lava, and huge bubbling pots of red-orange lava. That was the point where I felt a little scared that the helicopter would fall!
It was incredible to see from the air just how huge the lava flow was - and the scary thing is that it recently decided to change directions. Now the lava flow is headed towards a small town, but of course it will take forever to get there because the lava is quite slow. It was surreal to see the lava slowly encroaching on the trees and burning them down. We saw several trees on fire there.
After that, we headed over to Hilo and north over tons of thousand-foot waterfalls and high valleys. We also saw several pods of humpback whales and to see the size of them was astonishing - they looked bigger than our helicopter!
My favorite part of the whole tour was going into the Waipio Valley, which is said to be the island's most spiritual and holy place. It is very remote, as it is an uninhabited valley that is protected by thousand foot rugged cliffs on either side of it. It used to be inhabited 300 years ago by Hawaiian monarchy, as they found it to be ideal to grow taro root which is a big dietary staple. It is not inhabited any more, and it's like a ghost valley - especially with it's unique black sand beach, which is said to be the pathway to the afterlife.
We headed back over the Kohala coast, where we saw a birds eye view of many of the resorts we had visited. The resorts look massive from the air! We also saw a lot more pods of humpback whales - I bet the same ones that we saw from our deck every morning!
(This is a bird's eye view of the Hilton Waikoloa Resort which has a staff of 1000 people!)
It was such an incredible thing to do to celebrate our first decade together, and it was unforgettable! Cheers to the next 10 years!