Hawai’i

Now, other than Kiruna, I do not have to explain where Hawai’i is or why you would want to there, do I? So this will be more like a travel blog. Before we start with “travelstuffs” its time for some SCIENCE, so bear with me.

Hawai’i as a region subsists of several islands emerging out of the water in the middle of the pacific. The leading and widely accepted theory on stationary hotspots proposed by geophysicist Tuzo Wilson as late as 1963 explains the existence of the Hawai’in islands. Another well-known example of a hotspot is Yellowstone. Imagine hot magma moving upward from the lower part of the earth’s core up to the lithosphere which is the region just below the earth’s crust.

source: wikimedia
source: wikimedia

These hotspots are stationary; the crust above though moves ever so slowly (about as fast as your fingernails grow), creating a line of volcanos behind the current location of the hotspot.

Hwaiin seamount chain source: wikimedia
Hwaiin seamount chain
source: wikimedia

The whole Hawai’i seamount chain is almost 6000 kms long! Of course the old volcano islands are worn down by erosion and eventually disappear below the waster surface.

Although this explanation should be enough for now, I do need to point out that there are many open questions and different theories concerning this topic.

The two most popular and populated islands are Big Island and O’ahu. I will be concentrating on O’ahu.

Before we begin here, I would like to mention your chance of seeing at least one rainbow per day is pretty high (not the license plate of Hawai’i, the real ones). Rainbows are fascinating! So after you have red how and why they occur you can boast about your knowledge whenever you see one on Hawai’i.


So, for a beginning we can start with some classical stuff: Surfing. Chances are, you haven’t tried this “exotic” sport. If you are ever going to try, you should when you’re on O’ahu. Depending on the time of year, you can learn surfing on “small” waves on the north beach or on Waikiki beach which is the most famous beach in Honululu. Surf lesson will cost you around 50-80$ per hour so best do group lessons and find some options to get the lowest price. It’s fairly easy to get some first results (cinda standing on the board) after an hour or two. (By the way, did you know that water waves are really complicated to explain and need some extensive theories to roughly model them? Maybe I’ll do an article about that sometime)

 

hanauma-bay
Source: flickr commons

Another classic thing to do is snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. You need to arrive at least before 8 a.m. because the bay has a maximum capacity of tourists in order to preserve the corals. The earlier you come the less other tourists and the calmer the water but more importantly less sun. Snorkeling with your back exposed to the midday sun is not a good idea, believe me, I tried it :/. You may also want to keep the tide in mind. If it is low tide you will have fairly limited depth of water which can cause you to hit the corals while you are swimming. Also, if you buy some snorkeling gear beforehand it may be cheaper than to rent equipment at the bay itself.

You should definitely do some hiking around the island. From Diamond head you have a very nice view onto Waikiki beach. Inland there are several hikes to nice waterfalls through the rain forest. Or you can climb the 1048 steps up Koko head which allows for a great view on non-cloudy days.

Lastly I would recommend npcthe National pacific cemetery and or the pearl harbor museum. I know you probably don’t like museums but these two are a fast way to learn about the WWII pacific war. You don’t need to go on the pearl harbour tour that brings you to the sunken USS Arizona.
It’s just a sunken ship and you can’t really see anything. But the museum part of pearl harbor and the cemetery which is free show the whole marine war against the Japanese. As a European we only concentrate on how bad Hitler was and how the Allies kicked ass in Europe. I knew nothing about the pacific war before I was on O’ahu and it was really fascinating.

To do all the things mentioned above plus some other obvious and easy to find tourist destinations you will probably need around a full week.

So as you see, there is more to do on Hawaii than chilling on the beach and boasting on Facebook about you being in Hawaii. You can still do that, just don’t miss out on the other good stuff.

And as always, stay curious!