Seven, eight—wait, wait, wait! Do you mean there are eight islands in the Hawaiian Island chain?
Yes, there are more islands than the few most people know about and visit. Each one has its own unique appeal, although you can’t visit all of them.
So, let’s take a look at each island and see which one makes you long to visit.
Hawaii—The Big Island. The largest island, youngest island, and the one with an active volcano. The volcanoes making up the island include Kohala, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai, and Kilauea. Kilauea continues to erupt today, so the biggest island is growing even larger. This is the island where it is believed the Polynesians first landed. The goddess of the volcano, Pele, is thought to live on Hawaii.
Oahu—The Gathering Place. About 80% of Hawaii’s population lives here. Honolulu and famous Waikiki beach are located on Oahu. Two volcanoes created this island, Wainae and Koolau. Ever watch a surfing competition on TV? If it was held in Hawaii, it was probably at Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu. Pipeline is the part of Sunset Beach where advanced surfers can tackle giant waves and try to “shoot the tube.”
Maui—The Valley Island. Famous for its beautiful beaches, Haleakala Crater, Hana Coast, and Lahaina, a quaint harbor town. Maui was created by one volcano, Haleakala.
Molokai—The Friendly Island. This island is “Old-Time Hawaii.” It is quiet and laid-back. The Kalaupapa Peninsula was once home to a large leper colony. Now only a few people live in the self-contained village.
Kauai—The Garden Island. Lush with vegetation, it is also battered by storms and rain. The oldest island and the first island Captain Cook visited.
Lanai—Pineapple Isle (a title held during most of the 20th century.) A small island with no traffic lights, quiet and remote, Lanai used to be a huge producer of pineapples for Dole. Today, the production has moved overseas. Popular activities include golfing and four-wheeling in a jeep.
Niihau—The Forbidden Island. Privately owned since 1864, there are about 130 residents living in the town of Puuwai. No running water, and electricity is provided by the sun and generator. For all these years, you could only visit the island if you were invited by the Robinson family. But today you can take a half-day helicopter tour of the island, even landing for a while on a beach.
Kahoolawe—This island has gone through many changes. For a short time, it was once a penal colony, then used for sheep and cattle ranching. Eventually it was controlled by the US Navy and used as a bombing range until 1990. Currently it is being restored by the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.
Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the islands! On Thursday I will tell you about my favorite spots on a couple of the islands I have visited and where I would like to visit in the very near future!