Hawaii is one of the American states. This archipelago is located on the northern tropical circle in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between North America and Asia. It consists of five major and several smaller islands. The larger islands are Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Oahu. These volcanic islands with a population of about 1,300,000 people. They are known worldwide as the number one tourist destination. The islands attract visitors with their beautiful climate and unique culture of the Pacific.
Climate of Hawaii
Hawaii has a tropical climate that is hot and humid all year long. Daytime temperatures are about 24°C in February and 29°C in August and September. The driest month is June, and the wettest are December and January. The local climate is very pleasant because the conditions are easily tolerated. The temperatures are never too high or too low. Nighttime temperatures range from 19 to 23 ° C throughout the year.
During the winter months (December, January and February), the north shore of Maui is a popular destination for surfers from all over the world. Under the influence of strong northerly winds, the waves here are scary. They are impossible to describe. Here you can see the 30-meter waves that crash on the coral reefs near the shore. This place is only suitable for experienced surfers, because if you are not confident in your abilities these waves with all their power can be deadly.
The most famous islands
The most famous of the Hawaiian islands are Maui, Hawaii and Oahu. What unites them with the other islands of the archipelago is the dense jungle encompassing them. A distinctive feature is the mountainous terrain. High mountains rise vertically. The slopes are very steep. On the slopes you can see the ghostly beautiful silhouettes of numerous waterfalls. Falling water is lost in the impenetrable jungle. Some of the tops of the island are so high that they are covered with eternal snows.
The most populated island is Oahu. Here is the capital of the state of Hawaii, Honolulu. It is a modern city with a huge variety of nationalities. It is the most important city in the archipelago. Like the other islands of Oahu is also of volcanic origin. But now the volcano is not active. About his past reminiscent only caldera volcano, which is called Diamond Head (Diamond Head). It is picturesquely located in the south-eastern part of the island.
At the foot of the volcano is Honolulu. Here, in addition to the capital and Diamond Head, you could see Hawaii’s main attraction, the world-famous Waikiki Beach. In winter, it is protected from gusty (but not cold) north winds thanks to the mountains. located in the central part of the island. Waikiki is located in the southern part of the island. Coral reefs protect the shore from the big ocean waves. The water is always calm and clear. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and greenery. Behind the greenery hide luxurious hotels and restaurants.
Maui is probably the most beautiful island in the archipelago. High mountains, deep green canyons, rushing waterfalls, amazing white and black beaches, jungle full of life – these are the incredible beauty of Maui. The statement that Maui is the most beautiful island in the archipelago can be confirmed by the fact that it is the most visited of the Hawaiian Islands. You won’t regret it if you visit the historic village of Leyaina, which is located on the northwest coast. The northwest, west, southwest and south are mostly shallow waters and you will find a huge variety of corals and fish. The island is popular for its very beautiful valleys covered in dense vegetation.
The largest town on Maui is Wailuku, with a population of 20,000. It is located on the north shore of Maui. In the winter, the temperature is +24 – +25 ° C, but a strong north wind is a common phenomenon here. This wind is the reason for the huge ocean waves off the north coast. The view here is really spectacular! Thirty-meter waves crash with all their might and can crush anyone who hasn’t properly evaluated their capabilities. If you visit Maui, you must see Haleakala National Park. The crater of Haleakala Volcano is 800 meters deep and 34 kilometers wide. It is usually hidden by clouds because of its high altitude (3055 m).
Hawaii (Big Island).
The largest island of the archipelago is Hawaii (or the Big Island). It has the same name as the archipelago itself. In addition to being the largest, Hawaii is the highest of the islands. The highest point is Mauna Kea volcano, 4205m. The volcano has been completely extinct for a long time. On this island is also the largest active volcano on the planet. It is called Mauna Loa. In addition to Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, there is also the most active volcano in the world – Kilauea. Its height is 1598 meters.
The economy of the archipelago is based on tourism and agriculture. Pineapple, coffee and sugar cane are the main crops grown by local farmers. Every year, 7.7 million tourists visit this heavenly beautiful archipelago and turn their dreams into reality. It’s no secret that the local scenery and beaches are some of the best in the world. The local climate is well tolerated. At the very top of snow-covered Mauna Kea built an observatory. One of the most powerful telescopes in the world is located there.
All about sharks
Two hundred years ago this archipelago was called Sandwich, in honor of one of the English diplomats, the first Lord of the Admiralty, John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). This man was an influential figure during his lifetime, but to us descendants he is better known as the inventor of the dish of the same name, the sandwich – a sandwich with a delicious layer between two slices of bread or halves of buns. The “sandwich” name did not stick, and the fabulous island country nowadays bears a name that has Polynesian roots. The name of the archipelago, consisting of 24 islands and atolls, is identified with the name of the largest island, Hawaii.
History of Hawaii’s discovery
Sandwich Islands this group of scraps of land among the vast expanses of the Great Ocean was named by James Cook, who was the first European to come across them during one of his circumnavigation in January 1778. Here, a year later, the natives killed and almost ate (according to popular belief) this famous navigator. Threats with guns by the English forced them to return the remains of Cook, killed during a clash with the natives, and these remains were buried with honor at sea. The body of the great navigator was dismembered and prepared for roasting at the stake, according to the notes of eyewitnesses who have survived the incident. The skull was mutilated, which subsequently gave rise to versions, as if the natives had eaten the English captain, but presented the remains of an entirely different person for burial. After all, to eat a great and strong enemy leader, which the natives considered Cook to be, was a great fortune, and promised, according to beliefs, many boons and benefits to the cannibal tribe. However, according to other researchers, the native Hawaiians were not cannibals and did not eat people, unlike the inhabitants of Oceania, Guinea, Polynesia and other island nations. It is difficult to judge which of the specialists-historians is right. It is known only that the Hawaiians themselves are descendants of the Polynesians, who settled in Hawaii long before Cook came to the shores here – about the III century AD. Perhaps the old Polynesian traditions, after all, have not been completely forgotten.
But we will not rake over the sad pages of the glorious past of the great explorers; we will only note that the name Sandwich’s did not stick, and the islands discovered by James Cook began to be called Hawaiian Archipelago more often, and now few people remember their original name.
How the Hawaiian Archipelago was formed
The Hawaiian Archipelago is a chain of islands stretching in the center of the Pacific Ocean, between Eurasia and the Americas, north of the equator between 19 and 29 degrees N. It is about the latitude of Central Mexico, Cuba, the southern border of Egypt, Central India and the northern tip of the Philippine Archipelago.
The Hawaiian archipelago consists of 24 relatively large islands and atolls, as well as many smaller islets, of which there are over a hundred. They are arranged in an elongated chain from southeast to northwest, with the largest islands located in the eastern area of this rocky “chain.
Smaller islands are scattered singly or form groups, among which the Northwest Hawaiian Islands (Leeward Islands) and several islands of the Midway group stand out. Individual small islands include Kure, Pearl & Hermes, Lisansky Island, Laisan, Nihoa, Maro, Gardner, Necker, French Frigate Shoals. Only the seven largest islands are considered inhabited, the rest are lifeless patches of land, only occasionally visited by on-duty services and scientific expeditions. One of Hawaii’s islands, Kahoolawe, was a U.S. Navy training base in the middle of the last century, and is now uninhabited as well.
The largest of the Hawaiian islands is Is. Hawaii, which is often called the Big Island. The Big Island occupies almost 62% of the entire land area of the archipelago. Other large islands include Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai and Ni’ihau. Each of these islands is unique and interesting in its own way, differing from its archipelago neighbors in landscape, natural design, weather conditions, and even elements of flora and fauna. Oahu is home to the state capital, Honolulu.
Hawaii was formed as a result of volcanic activity of the so-called “hot spot” on the ocean floor, which manifested here and is manifested in the form of active tectonic and magmatic processes associated with the movement of layers and plates of the Earth’s crust. The Hawaiian Undersea Ridge, located on the seafloor, rises majestically with its peaks to the surface of the ocean, forming individual volcanoes and groups of volcanoes on the islands of this amazing archipelago. Some of these volcanoes have cooled and are considered extinct, but many are still capable of spewing streams of lava, smoke, and ash from the earth’s bowels. Kilauea volcano, located on the Big Island, is considered to be the most active volcano on Earth – it has been erupting almost continuously for more than 30 years, since 1983.
Climate in Hawaii
The climate is, as one would expect, warm, tropical, since Hawaii is located near the conditional northern boundary of the tropical belt. The action of the trade winds has a significant effect on the amount of precipitation that falls here. On the windward side, that is, the northern and eastern slopes of island hills and volcanoes usually receive more precipitation than the south and western slopes, which are leeward. The greatest amount of precipitation occurs between October and April, which is the winter season. However, one should not imagine the Hawaiian Islands to be inundated with streams of heavenly water – most of the archipelago is usually exposed to the caress of sunlight, as clear days here are relatively rarely interrupted by frowns and rain.
In summer, from about June through September, Hawaii begins its hurricane and tropical storm season, which more often strikes the islands from the north and northeast. Hurricanes come from the Americas, originating off the coast of Mexico and California. Most of these “visitors from the Americas” lose their power and strength as they travel across the ocean, and only remnants of the elemental ferocity usually reach Hawaii. Nevertheless, the Hawaiian Islands have been plagued by hurricanes. The islands, such as Kaua’i, which have little protection from the elements, are particularly affected.
Hawaii also experiences tsunamis – huge ocean waves that come most often from the north. The second largest city in Hawaii (after the capital Honolulu) is Hilo, located on the northern shore of Is. Hawaii (the Big Island), suffers from tsunami attacks especially often, because it is located on the shores of the bay, collecting the shock force of the waves in a powerful water fist.
Despite the aforementioned natural disasters that periodically visit Hawaii, most of the year the weather is beautiful, and thanks to the beauty of the scenery and mild climate, the archipelago can be called a paradise on our planet. For this reason, the islands are a popular vacation spot for many tourists and vacationing Americans, who have considered Hawaii their 50th state since 1959. It’s rarely stuffy or hot here. In summer, the temperature at the foot of the volcanoes ranges from +29-+32 deg. C, and in winter it is +18-+21 deg. С. The temperature in the mountains is significantly lower, and at the highest peaks (Haleakala, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea) in the wintertime sometimes falls snow, which is an element of exoticism in a mild tropical climate. If you’re going to rest in Hawaii, take no warm clothes with you – a light jacket will provide comfort during night walks and at any caprice of nature. Tourists of the male sex should not worry about a formal suit and tie – in Hawaii, these elements of clothing are traditionally considered a redundancy.
English is the official language, but Hawaiian is also spoken in Hawaiian, which is a surprisingly melodic and simple language. There are only 12 letters in the Hawaiian alphabet, so many words and phrases consist of repetitive syllables and sounds. Hawaii’s “people’s” nickname for the state is Aloha, which is Hawaiian for “hello” or “declaration of love. According to statistics, the permanent population of the state is almost 1.5 million people.
Among the many and curious facts, which Hawaiians are extremely proud of, we can note that there are the highest coastal cliffs in the world (on the island of Molokai), the most active of modern volcanoes, the highest mountain on the planet (if you consider its base at the bottom of the ocean), the most beautiful Waimea Canyon (on Kauai). Hawaii is home to surfing and the 44th American president, Barack Obama. Surprisingly clean air allowed to establish the international observatory on the island of Hawaii, Mauna Kea, where observations of space objects are conducted.
Fauna and Flora of Hawaii
The flora and fauna of Hawaii impress with the abundance of species that are sheltered by its climate. There are a lot of endemics, i.e. plants and animals that are not found anywhere else on the planet. This is not surprising – after all, the Hawaiian archipelago has been isolated from the outside world for over 70 million years, isolated from the continents, islands and continents. It should be noted that most of the endemic species are on the verge of extinction due to human efforts since the Polynesians settled the islands. Over the past two centuries, more bird species have been declared endangered in Hawaii than in any other area on our planet. Suffice it to say that of the 67 native species of birds, 23 are already extinct and 30 are threatened with extinction.
Nevertheless, there are very few “natives” among the land dwellers of Hawaii. Only the feathered inhabitants are relatively endemic, but the Hawaiian mammals are almost nonexistent. The only land animal that can be called a “native Hawaiian” is the gray (white-gray) bat (Lasiurus cinereus) . However, only one of the three subspecies of this winged mammal, which are also found in some other parts of our planet, lives on the islands. Bats came to Hawaii, apparently accidentally, by a tailwind from other islands of Oceania, so we can consider them natives only conditionally.
The same can be said about the famous Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) – three subspecies of this pinniped mammal are known, one of which is endemic here. The second subspecies lives in the Mediterranean Sea, and the third – the Caribbean monk seal – is considered extinct almost a century ago. But the Hawaiian “monk seals” also have many problems nowadays, threatening these animals with extinction. According to experts, there are less than one and a half thousand of these animals left in Hawaii, which do not get along well with such a noisy and curious neighbor as man. In the monk seal population the males prevail, and this leads to fierce fights between them during the mating games. Many of the “brides” die as a result of the males’ aggressive behavior, which aggravates the situation even more. During the breeding season females must not be disturbed at all, otherwise the precious offspring will be thrown out of the womb.
All islands (except Maui) are home to mongooses, small rodents found in many warm countries. Mongooses are active eaters of bird eggs, destroying the feathered fauna of Hawaii. All other large animals found in the forest and mountain areas of the islands have been brought here by humans, and, for the most part, are the feral descendants of domestic animals. The underwater world of Hawaii is another matter.
The coastal waters of the islands are home to about 450 different species of fish, among which more than 100 species are endemic to this archipelago. Sea eels and moray eels are found in abundance here, you can see the colorful inhabitants of coral structures, including parrot fish, which is considered the main “culprit” in the formation of the colorful coral sand on the beaches of Hawaii. Scraping seaweed with their “beak”, parrotfish swallow fragments of coral skeletons, which are crushed in their digestive tract and turned into sand. Among the Hawaiian reptiles are numerous sea turtles and small land lizards – geckos, which are very helpful to locals in the fight against cockroaches, eating them. In addition to geckos here you can meet smooth-skinned lizards – skinks. Visitors are usually surprised by the almost complete absence of snakes on these fabulous islands with an abundance of forests and greenery.
Another attraction of the Hawaiian Islands is the humpback whales, which come here from the western shores of North America for the rich underwater pastures and for breeding. In addition to humpback whales, you can also find sperm whales, pygmy orca (Feresa attenuata) as well as dolphins and other amazing and rare marine animals. Dolphins are abundant in the coastal waters and there are at least a dozen or so species of these aquatic mammals, including bottlenose dolphin, white-sided dolphin, long-eared dolphin, black dolphin, and others.
Sharks in Hawaii
Of course, the paradise place is not without the attention of toothy sea robbers – sharks. More than 40 species can be found in the area of the archipelago – from extremely dangerous to humans carcharodons and tiger sharks, to harmless plankton-eating whale sharks. Reef sharks and longimanus sharks are abundant, as well as various bottom predators. The abundance of beachgoers, water sports enthusiasts, combined with the abundance of sharks in coastal waters have made Hawaii one of the most shark-hazardous places on the planet. There are a dozen or two cases of shark attacks on humans each year, most of which are caused by provocative human actions. As elsewhere in the world, surfers are at greatest risk of experiencing shark’s teeth, as the surfer on the board plays the dangerous role of a shark “spinner.” Teasing predators is always dangerous, and a threatening one like the great white shark is doubly so. However, Hawaii was and still is the world center of surfing – fans of this hobby are convinced that to die in the teeth of a shark is less likely than a failure to pass a giant wave or hit the underwater rocks. This may be true – in fact, of the millions of vacationers in Hawaii trouble from communicating with the sharks are subjected only to a few.
Divers prefer to dive the coastal waters of the island of Maui, and the tiny sickle-shaped island of Molokini, located near Maui, is a dream for every diver on the planet because of the unique beauty and scenery of the underwater world.
Finishing the description of the Hawaiian fauna, it should be emphasized that all the wild inhabitants of this archipelago are jealously protected by the local conservation organizations and laws. You cannot touch the animals (dolphins, turtles, fish, birds and others), you cannot disturb them, you categorically cannot feed them, and in general – when you meet them you must express deep reverence and respect, otherwise you can be subjected to a fairly substantial fine. Suffice it to say that, for example, illegally catching sea turtles will cost the offender 100,000 greenbacks. That’s how Hawaiian Americans are taught to respect the nature of their country. Seems pretty decent to me.