Diving in the Hawaiian Islands
When molten lava meets the cooling waters of the Pacific, things can get violent. Volcanic flows are frozen into domes, pillars and finger-like ridges, while conduits of liquid rock empty to become cave-like lava tubes. This is how volcanic islands form, and evidence of the Hawaiian Island's fiery rise from the depths can be seen along the coastlines. Older islands such as Kauai and Oahu have the luxury of time to cultivate more extensive coral barriers, while younger Lanai and the still-building Big Island are surrounded by sharp relief formations that offer swim-throughs, grottoes and arches. Water conditions are not favorable to soft coral growth, but hard corals thrive from the surface to depths well below 100 feet. Surf zones and shallows are often dominated by cauliflower, lace and antler corals. Larger lobe corals take over as depths increase, and are also joined by the more fragile finger corals. Acommon sighting on reefs are the peacock grouper that hover at cleaning stations, and the moray eels that peer out from cover. Squirrelfish and blackbar soldierfish hide beneath ledges, and sand valleys between coral heads are alive with garden eels and peacock flounder. As depths increase, schools of bicolor and longfin anthias join the show, and there's usually a chance to find white tip sharks nosing into crevices in search of a meal. There is always a chance to catch a glimpse of larger sharks such as hammerheads, tigers and gray reefs passing by in the distance, but far better odds of running into sea turtles or the pods of spinner dolphins that frequent calm bays. One of the most dramatic big animal encounters takes place at night on the Kona Coast, when manta rays gather to feed on tiny creatures revealed by the glow of a hotel pier's underwater lighting. The cave-like formations known as lava tubes are diver favorites, and two of the most famous are found on the shores of Lanai. Cathedrals One and Two are submerged tunnels with chambers more than two stories high, with perforated ceilings that usher in radiant beams of sunlight. Another unique lava tube is Maui's Bubble Cave, which begins in shallow water, and leads to a partially air-filled chamber that seems to breath with the rising and falling swell. More common are the dome-shaped lava formations the size of houses, and the numerous arches formed by the erosion of lava pillars. At sites such as Turtle Town, divers can pause to watch the show as green turtles come in for a cleaning, with yellow tangs, damsels and wrasses flitting about as they pick parasites from shells and flippers. Near-shore ledges such as Black Rock and Five Caves provide lively night dives. Diver's lights reveal prowling invertebrates. Lobster and crabs scurry about while octopus and eels slither stealthily through the shadows. A less-expected night dive takes place offshore of Kona, where divers tethered below the boat drift in darkness, using their dive lights to spot enigmatic nocturnal creature that rise from the depths. Oahu offers the best collection of wrecks, which includes three substantial vessels—the YO-357, Sand Tiger and Mahi—plus several smaller boats and a number of ditched aircraft. Maui is the starting point for dives to Molokini Crater and the caverns and canyons of south Molokai. The coral channels of Kauai's north shore reefs are best dove in calmer summer months, and this is also the season for day trips to remote Niihau island for gigantic sea arches, big fish and perhaps a swim with monk seals. Kona offers the broadest range of diving adventures, from calm, coral-studded bays to caverns and deep drop offs, with most sites less than a mile from shore, and in the calmest water in Hawaii.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
Hawaii entry requirements are the same for all U.S. States.
Hawaii has an extremely strict quarantine control,with Hawaii Department of Agriculture, forbidding the importation
of all plants and animals into the State from the Mainland or anywhere
else in the world.
There are no immunizations required to travel to Hawaii.
Culture and Customs
The Hawaiian Islands occupy a special place in America's cultural consciousness. This is the land of the honeymoon and the luau, where waving palms and undulating hula dancers entice visitors to succumb to tropical languor. It is also the realm of water sports, where rolling surf tempt thrill seekers to ride the waves or harness the trade winds with sail or kite. Reminders of Polynesian heritage permeate all aspects of life, but so do traditions brought from the East and from mainland America. The result is a destination that is reassuringly familiar, but with just enough touch of the exotic to remind visitors that they are far from home. Island shores and peaks create a playground for active sports. Surfing, hang gliding, kiteboarding, windsurfing, camping, snorkeling, biking, hiking, golf, tennis—it's all here, and available year round. Some of the world's finest beach resorts pamper with spas and fine dining, but beach culture lives on at tin-roofed cafes where Spam musubi is on the menu, and slack key plays on the jukebox.
Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access
Hawaii, like the U.S. mainland and Canada, uses 110-120
volts (60 cycles).
The area code for the entire state is 808. For long distance
calls between the islands, dial 1-808 and then the number. When placing
calls to the mainland from Hawaii, dial 1, the area code and the number.
All calls within an island are local.
Most hotels and businesses offer WiFi. Many U.S. cell phone providers have no extra charge for text, data and phone usage from Hawaii, but be sure to check with your carrier.
It is safe to drink the tap water in Hawaii. There is a board of water supply in Hawaii that regulates water quality, which is very pure, as it filters through underground porous volcanic rock free from airborne bacteria.
Language & Currency
Hawaii is the only state in America to have 2 official languages, English and Hawaiian. The melodious Hawaiian language is a polynesian
The US Dollar is the official currency.
Hawaii observes Hawaii Aleutian Standard Time or HST. The Hawaiian Islands do not observe daylight savings time and are 10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-10 GMT). Hawaii is east of the International Date Line, putting it on the same day as the U.S. mainland and Canada.
Location, Size and Population
The Hawiian Islands are comprised of 8 main islands including Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau and Kahoolawe. Hawaii is the most remote island chain in the world. It
is located in the Central Pacific Ocean, 2,100 miles from mainland U.S. and
3,850 miles from Japan, with 750 miles of coastline. Formerly known as the Sandwich Islands, the Hawaiian
archipelago spans the distance of 1,523 miles from the Big Island of Hawaii
in the southeast to the Kure Atoll in the northwest. This makes Hawaii
the world’s longest island chain.
The Hawaiian Islands cover 6,423 square of land. The Aloha State
is the 43rd largest of the 50 states in the USA. The Big Island of Hawaii
covers 4,028 square miles, just about double the land mass of all the
other main islands combined. Other island sizes include - Maui: 772 square miles / Oahu: 598 square
miles / Kauai: 553 square miles.
The population of Hawaii is 1.43 Million (2015).