I'm learning about the language - hoalaho means friend; the customs - to return a lei back to the land or aina; the food - poi is made from taro or kalo in Hawaiian; the importance of the sea or kai; the gods - Pele goddess of fire and creator of the island, and the history.
There's so much to know, but it's better to take it in slowly and of course I'll learn the most by living it.
Enjoy these five interesting tidbits I've learned along the way...
1. Ni'ihau, the seventh largest of the inhabited islands, is often called the Forbidden Island or the Island of Yesterday. It has been privately owned since 1864 when it was purchased from King Kamehameha by ranchers from New Zealand for $10,000. The small island population is known for their artisan shell leis.
2. Although the first victims of leprosy were quarantined here in 1866, Molokai has the largest population of native Hawaiians and is said to be the birth place of Hula. Molokai has some of the highest sea cliffs in the world at 3,000 ft and 88 miles of remote coastline. Unfortunately, the corrupt mutant corn pushers known as Monsanto have taken up residence here.
3. The Big Island of Hawaii is double the size of all the other islands combined and getting bigger by about 42 acres annually. It is home to the constantly spewing Kilauea which is one of the world's largest and most active volcanoes. Hilo on the island's Eastern side receives rain on about 275 days out of the year, while Kona on the Western side only receives about 10 inches annually.
4. At the start of the year and until about April, thousands of humpback whales migrate to Hawaiian waters from Alaska. These 30-ton creatures have been on the Endangered Species list since 1966 but now scientists believe their numbers are back to where they were in pre-whaling times.
5. Out of 350 known shark species, Hawaii is home to about 40. The tiger shark is perhaps the most terrifying although sharks in these waters bite only a handful of people each year and fatal attacks are extremely rare. Most bites happen off the coast of Maui and Oahu between October and December.
So there you go! I'll keep doing my research and report back.
If all goes well, I'll be booking my one-way flight in just a few short days, but more on that later!