I took to the skies yesterday morning for a one-hour helicopter tour of the island of Oahu.

Hoping to grab some kick-ass photos with as little obstructions as possible, I opted for an aircraft without any doors.

Those of you who know me are well aware that I have a problem with heights. I mean, it’s not a shit-my-pants phobia, it’s more of a comfort thing. Hate ladders. Don’t have fun on rollercoasters. Even the other day, just standing in the middle of the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, feeling the whole thing shudder and shake with every truck that passed, gave me the creeps.

So, why the hell would I actually pay to climb into a teeny four-passenger helicopter…without any doors?

Fact is, if you ask anyone who has visited Hawai’i, they’ll tell you the islands can only be appreciated by the air. Even my usually conservative financial advisor, David, insisted that I bite the bullet, spend the money, and take a helicopter tour.

“Do it,” he said. And I did. Without doors.

And it was amazing.

The only downside? Based on weight distribution, I was given the seat behind the pilot on the right side. A couple from North Florida got the left side, front and back. Given the counterclockwise trip around the island, my fellow passengers had the best views.

I had a lot of Pacific Ocean on the right side. But, trust me, even though I didn’t get a lot of the money shots I’d hoped to get, the views were still breath-taking. Yes, floating around in that little machine was scary, but I did it. Without doors. And I lived to tell about it.

Now, I haven’t had a chance to add descriptions to my photos. But I want to get them posted. The helicopter took off from the general aviation field near the Honolulu airport, headed east along the south side of the island, past Waikiki, around Diamondhead, up the east coast, into the Sacred Falls, up around the North Shore and Turtle Bay Resort where Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed, Past the Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay Beach, then it got really cool.

We headed inland taking the same flight path as the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Through the valley, over the Dole pineapple plantation and on to Pearl Harbor. We circled Pearl then headed back to the airport.

Hard not to get a little emotional about seeing those ships in the harbor. The Missouri, the Arizona memorial. The sense of history.
Almost made me forget about the buffeting and rocking of the helicopter.