The Red Baron of Kauai

It’s our first day in Hawaii. We’re having a wonderful time exploring Kauai’s gorgeous north shore. Life could not be better!

Air Ventures logoThen Sue gets a phone call, which begins something like, “Hi, this is Robin. I’m afraid something broke on the biplane you’re supposed to be going for a flight in tomorrow and, unfortunately, we won’t be able to get the spare part for a couple of days. The good news is, we can still offer you a flight in our Cessna, instead…”

Occasionally, things simply can’t be helped. And although we were naturally a little disappointed, a flightseeing trip is still a flightseeing trip. And anyone who’s familiar with my brother, Bisckits, will know he’d jump at the chance to fly a paper aeroplane powered by a rubber band, if that’s what was on offer. So we were determined to see the positive side of the situation, and accepted Robin’s alternative.

“The biplane’s been fixed!” Robin greeted us the next morning, when we arrived at the Air Ventures desk (which now includes Tropical Biplanes), at Lihue airport.

Yes!!!

SnoopyOur pilot, Nick, wheeled out the beautiful, bright red, reproduction WACO YMF-F5C biplane, called Snoopy 2. It even has a Snoopy ‘Red Baron’ logo on the tail (although we all know that Snoopy actual flew a Sopwith Camel against the Red Baron).

Snoopy 2 with some Ses

Snoopy 2 with some Ses

And in-keeping with our mode of transportation, after helping Rich and Sue into the spacious front cockpit, Nick presented them with authentic leather helmets and matching goggles. Bisckits was soooo disappointed they don’t make them to fit Ses. And for once, even I rued the fact I’m only 3½ inches tall!

Chocks away!

Chocks away!

Nick climbed into the pilot’s cockpit behind us and begin his pre-flight checks. The engine roared into life and off we taxied. It’s really difficult to concentrate on writing this post, just remembering how exciting it was, sitting beside the runway with Nick doing his engine runs.

The tower gave Snoopy 2 permission for take off and we trundled onto the runway. Nick revved up the engine, released the brakes and we were off. The tail lifted first, then there was that familiar lurch in the stomach, as the main undercarriage left the ground.

Bisckits shouted with delight and, for the first time ever, we were flying in a biplane!

The Garden Isle of Kauai was spectacular from the air, with its fertile red-brown soil and lush green vegetation, surrounded by a ring of brilliant blue ocean and coral reefs. There was barely a cloud in the sky. Except over Mount Wai’ale’ale at the island’s centre, of course. But then, it is supposed to be the wettest spot on Earth!

Our route essentially took us clockwise around Kauai, with Nick telling us all about the sights over which we flew…

The Kauai Coffee Plantation, on the island's south coast

The Kauai Coffee Plantation, on the island’s south coast

Manawaiopuna Falls (aka Jurassic Park Falls)

Manawaiopuna Falls (aka Jurassic Park Falls)

Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific

The Napali Coast on Kauai's west side, looking northeast

The Napali Coast on Kauai’s west side, looking northeast

Kalalau Valley on the Napali Coast

Kalalau Valley on the Napali Coast

The Napali Coast, looking southwest, with the Kalalau Valley in the foreground

The Napali Coast, looking southwest, with the Kalalau Valley in the foreground

Just in case you'd forgotten we're in a biplane!

Just in case you’d forgotten we’re in a biplane!

Tunnels reef and beach, on the north shore (where we'd spent the previous day)

Tunnels reef and beach, on the north shore (where we’d spent the previous day)

Lumaha'i Beach (from South Pacific)

Lumaha’i Beach (from South Pacific)

Heading inland - taro fields in the Hanalei Valley

Heading inland – taro fields in the Hanalei Valley

A pair of waterfalls up in the Hanalei Valley - much of Kauai's interior is inaccessible on the ground, even to hikers

A pair of waterfalls up in the Hanalei Valley – much of Kauai’s interior is inaccessible on the ground, even to hikers

Mount Wai'ale'ale, the wettest place on Earth

Mount Wai’ale’ale, the wettest place on Earth

Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls

I’m sure the Cessna flight would have been extremely enjoyable. Yet there was something extra-special about our adventure in Snoopy 2. Perhaps it was the feeling of closeness you got from the open cockpit. The sensation of the wind in your face when you peeked out from behind the windshield. Or maybe it was because being in a biplane, even a reproduction, added a sense of history and nostalgia to the flight.

What I do know for sure, is that it was the absolutely perfect vantage point from which to get a feel for the whole of Kauai. And a great way to help plan the rest of our time on the island.

The colours of Kauai - red-brown soils, green vegetation and blue ocean

The colours of Kauai – red-brown soils, green vegetation and blue ocean

I’m entering this post for several of this week’s blog challenges:

Firstly, the Daily Post’s prompt of the day is Nothin’ But A Good Time, which definitely describes our experience with Snoopy 2.

Secondly, Sue from A Word in Your Ear has come up with Atmospheric, and we were certainly up in the Atmosphere having an Atmospheric adventure in our reproduction biplane!

Thirdly, Cee from Cee’s Photography has a weekly Which Way Challenge. Well Cee, they do say The Only Way Is Up, and in this case it was in a  bright red aeroplane.

Then, last but by no means least, Ailsa from Where’s My Backpack? has given us Work as this weeks theme. And while this was a once in a lifetime adventure for us, flying around the skies of Kauai is just another day at the office for our pilot, Nick.

Our pilot, Nick, and his place of work

Our pilot, Nick, and his place of work

When you get back down to Earth, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal? Or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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26 Responses to The Red Baron of Kauai

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  2. Cee Neuner says:

    That trip had to be fabulous!!! Thanks ever so much for sharing them with us.

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  9. litadoolan says:

    Breath taking photography. What a day!

  10. Amy says:

    Magnificent! That is an amazing adventure, Jaspa! Great shots.

  11. Kongo says:

    What a great post! Kongo is so envious that you had such a great flight on this biplane! It’s also nice that you’ve escaped the weather for a bit. Travel safe!

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  14. sueslaght says:

    Wow those are great shots!

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