The state of Hawaii, with its natural beauty, is one of the most breath taking scenic places in the world. A fifteen hundred mile long chain consisting of 132 islands, reefs and shoals stretching from the southeast to the northwest. However, 99.9% of the land area is on a fairly close group of eight major islands. It has a population of about one million people with 80% of them living on oahu.
OAHU is the third largest island of the Hawaiian chain. Known as the gathering place because it once served as a meeting place for the Hawaiian island chiefs.
Oahu is also famous for some of the best surfing in the world on its north shore with 30ft plus winter waves. An island formed by the merging lava of two great volcanoes the koolau, whose mountains overlook Honolulu and Waikiki and the waiawae, which looms in the distance. Extinct for centuries, time and erosion have sculpted them into a series of giant palis (cliffs), magnificent bays (including Pearl Harbor) and meandering beaches.
MAUI is known as the valley island and the second largest island in the chain. It is believed it is named after the Sharman hero of legend, Maui kupua. Its largest volcano, haleakala, last erupted in 1790. The town of lahaina served as Hawaii’s capital for the first decades of the nineteeth century.
Today, lahaina is a modern tourist mecca. Maui plays host to visitors drawn by the awesome beauty of haleakala national park, hana’s glorious tropical rainforest with its waterfalls and natural pools, and a coastal string of beaches and resorts. The perfect blend of the old Hawaii and the new.
KAUAI, the garden island, eastern most and oldest of the major Hawaiian island, it is considered by Hawaiians as the most spiritual place in the islands. It is famous for its magnificent natural beauty, including the fern grotto and the na pali coast. Nature showed no restraint in creating kauai, carving great canyons, valleys, mountains and sea cliffs from the long extinct volcano called waialeale. Today Waialeale’s usually cloud banked summit is considered the wettest spot on earth, averaging between 450-650 inches annually. Legendary films such as South Pacific, Blue Hawaii and Jurassic Park were filmed on the island. No place in Hawaii outdoes Kauai.
MOLOKAI, Was once known as the ‘Lonely Island’, because sufferers of leprosy were segregated by the natural isolation of the kalaupapa peninsula, Today the island is known as ‘The Friendly Island’. Molokai is famous for its mule rides down beautiful cliff trails, Its many temples, And its low level of development. LANAI, is the sixth largest of Hawaii’s main islands, Lanai gets its nickname, The Pineapple Island, From this tropical fruit. Just about all of Lanai’s 2,400 residents lived in the town of Lanai City. Lanai invites the adventurous to set out and explore its up country forest and isolated beaches. The pineapples are gone now and resort development has taken their place.
HIIHAU, is the seventh largest island, And it is called The Forbidden Island. The whole island is 70 square miles and is a private ranch, Owned by the Robinson Family. People are under the impression that the Hawaiian’s there live in the old ways. Actually, What that means is that they live in a village like the plantation era of the 1800’s.
The island is famous for a particular kind of shell necklace made there. The population of the village is about 200. Hawaiian is the first language. KAHOOLAWE, is the smallest Major Island, Only 45 square miles. After Pearl Harbor, The navy took it over for bombing practice and still won’t give it back. The name kahoolawe means ‘The one that was taken away’ The old name of the island was Kanaloa.
HAWAII, Known as the big island because it is more than twice as big as all the other islands combined and still growing. It is the youngest island in the chain with five large volcanoes, Two of which are still active, Mauna Loa(Tallest Mountain in the world, Measuring from the sea bottom) and Kilauea (Legendary home of Pele).
The three inactive Volcanoes are, Mauna Kea (Where it snows sometimes) and Kohala (In the north) have not erupted in historical times. Hualalai, Overlooking Kona on the west coast, Last erupted in the 1800,s The big island is an island of Volcanic drama, Great natural diversity and powerful links to the Polynesian past. Most heavily populated of the islands in ancient times, The big island’s rebuilt Heiaus (Temples) today provide unique insights into the Hawaii of myth and legend.
The island is also famous for its orchids, coffee, and macadamia nuts, Dramatically eroded valleys and towering sea cliffs. It’s a combination that makes the big island impressive in more than just size. A new Volcano is erupting underwater about twenty miles off the southern coast of the big island. It is the beginning of a new island called LOIHI.
Bob Toledo – 2005