HAWAII · THE ARCHIPELAGO
The word Hawaii belongs to the Polynesian
language and means nativeland
Mark Twain referred to Hawaii as the loveliest fleet of islands which has ever anchored in the sea.
Indeed the 50th state of the USA is a chain of islands, atolls and sandbanks spreading over 1600 miles around the Tropic of Cancer in the northern Pacific Ocean, 1800 miles away from the nearest continent. The islands are the peaks of a huge range of volcanoes rising 18000 feet from the ocean floor.
Seven of the eight main islands are inhabited, but only six of them are attractive for tourists. One island is privately owned. "Big Island", Hawaii, with 4,038 sq.m, makes up half of the land mass of the islands. Its name serves as the name for the whole archipelago. It means native land in the Polynesian language.
The height of the mountains decreases from east to west, due to their age. The youngest island, "Big Island", has got the highest mountain, Mauna Kea (13,796 ft), probably a sleeping volcano. There are also active volcanoes on this island , one of them is Mauna Loa, (13,680 ft) which erupted 15 times in the 20th century, causing great anxiety among the inhabitants.
Due to their geographical position at t the margin of the tropics, the islands have a very pleasant climate. It is warm the whole year round with tropical rain showers and occasional gales causing tidal waves. The slopes facing the wind are covered with dense tropical forest, on the leeward side of the maintains you find forests made up of trees needing less rain and grassland as natural vegetation on the one hand and huge plantations with pineapples or sugar cane on the other hand. Valleys full of vegetation change place with desert lavascapes and green cliffs end in snow white beaches.
Hawaii is among the smallest states of the USA, but as to its beauty and acclimate it is among the best.