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Hawaii. Oahu and Kauai. 360 video in 12K

The North Pacific Ocean hosts the Hawaiian Archipelago: 136 large and very tiny islands. Today, we will visit two of them, Oahu and Kauai. They have a common volcanic origin, but each has its own distinctive features and is interesting in its own way.

Oahu is the third largest island in the archipelago, yet it is the most populated. It is not particularly surprising, since this is where the capital of the state of Hawaii, Honolulu, is located. The hallmark of the city and the entire island is Diamond Head: the cone of an ancient volcano and a national natural landmark. It was given its English name in the 19th century by British sailors who discovered calcite crystals on its slopes and mistook them for diamonds. The indigenous people call the mountain "Leahi": its shape resembles the brow of a tuna, and that is what the word means in Hawaiian.

Diamond Head

The absolute height of Diamond Head is 232 m (761 ft). In the 1960s, they even held rock festivals on its summit, but then they stopped: the events were found to be too noisy, capable of harming both the townspeople and the environment. Moreover, there are U.S. government antennas and other secret facilities installed here, so part of the crater is not accessible to tourists. But there are also open platforms that offer a panoramic view of Honolulu. You can reach them by car or by walking up steps and trails laid out through underground military tunnels and old military bunkers.

Everyone who gets the chance should make this climb, but if that dream is still a long way off, a walk with AirPano will allow you to admire the city and the vast ocean from the famous mountain.

Beaches in Honolulu

The first Polynesian settlement appeared on the territory of present-day Honolulu in the 11th century, and in 1804 the capital of the island state was moved here from the Big Island. Back then the city was called Waikiki, but now it has grown and Waikiki has become a coastal neighborhood of the capital metropolis.

Honolulu has preserved low buildings and even some historic architectural designs, but Waikiki is full of high-rises and hotels: Hawaii is a popular vacation destination. It offers well-maintained beaches, clear waters of the Pacific Ocean and the beauty of nature.

Honolulu Night city

The neighboring island of Kauai even better epitomizes the exotic nature of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is dubbed "Garden Island"; there are several parks and nature reserves created here. The amazing coastal cliffs with their bizarre landforms are part of the Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park. Deep narrow valleys cut by waterfalls and turbulent rivers drop sharply into the sea, and in the lowlands there are wide terraces with stone walls. In total, this picturesque coastline stretches for 26 km (16 mi).

Kauai Coastline

Waimea Canyon in the western part of the island is described as "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific": its landforms are even more fanciful. It was formed when part of the volcano collapsed, and its rocks are a feast for the eyes with their riot of colors. "Waimea" means "red water" in Hawaiian, which is exactly the color of the river when it becomes saturated with soil after rain.

Waimea Canyon

Kauai is also home to one of the "rainiest places on Earth". This is Mount Waialeale, which received 16,916 mm (666 in) of rainfall during 1982, with an annual average of over 11,000 mm (433 in) per year. To compare: the average annual precipitation in St. Petersburg, which is considered a rainy city, is about 662 mm (26 in), while Norway's Bergen, where it rains all year round, can only boast an annual average of 2,250 mm (89 in).

Mount Waialeale

Waialeale, with an elevation of 1,569 m (5,148 ft), is the island's second highest peak; the highest one is Mount Kawaikini: 1,598 m (5,243 ft) above sea level. It, too, is constantly wrapped in clouds that bring rain, but then the rays of the sun are reflected in the water droplets, becoming a rainbow.

We have tried to show you an unusual side of Hawaii, because it is not only a sunny and beach state, but also a landmark of geology and nature.

Photo and video by Dmitry Moiseenko,

02.18.2022

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