Here’s a good article on the Big Island and it’s impressiveness by Love Big Island. Sea Paradise Sailing and Snorkeling offers night manta ray tours and daytime snorkel tours that should be added to the list of things to do on the Big Island!
The Island of Hawaiʻi, or Big Island, is the youngest and largest of the Hawaiian islands – and it is still growing! Since the still ongoing 1983 eruption of the Kilauea volcano more than 600 acres have been added to the island.
The Big Island is almost twice as big as all other islands combined with a total land area of 4,028 square miles (total surface of all Hawaiian islands: 6,424 square miles). It also is the biggest island in the United States. Compared to the other US states, however, Hawai’i is tiny: you can find it at #47, between New Jersey (#46) and Connecticut (#48).
The Big Island is home to the tallest sea mountain and the largest volcano in the world but holds many more records. These are our Favorite Hawaiian Records:
1: SO MANY DIFFERENT CLIMATE ZONES
The big Island contains 8 of 13 different climate zones in the world, each with unique ecosystems. These ecosystems range from tropical dry forest to subalpine grasslands, from snowy alpine deserts to brackish anchialine pools, and from subterranean lava tube systems with eyeless creatures to windswept coastal dunes. The only zones missing are an arctic and saharan climatic zone.
This allows you experience within a matter of hours the lush fern forests of Puna, the sunny rugged lava plains of Kona, the cool and misty breezes of Waimea, the dry heat of Kau, and the snowy plains on Mauna Kea.
2: HAWAI’I HAS GOT FIVE RECORD-BREAKING VOLCANOES!
The big island is built from five separate volcanoes: Kohala, MaunaKea, Hualālai, Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Of these, MaunaKea is with 13,796 feet the tallest mountain in the state and the tallest sea mountain in the world. If measured from the ocean floor it is with 33,000 feet taller than Mt. Everest, and it is home to many world-class telescopes.
3: THE BIG ISLAND’S INCREDIBLY DIVERSE NATURE
The stunning geography of the Big Island is supplemented by an unique flora and fauna. Thanks to at least 5 million years of nearly complete isolation the Hawaiian islands now have a flora and fauna that is for a large part (~40%,) endemic. If you limit yourself to only the native species that live on land, this amount shoots up to 90%! You can find an incomplete list of these species on Wikipedia.
It is a misconception that 90% of all species found in Hawaii are endemic. This number only counts for those species that are both native and found on land. Those in the ocean (marine taxa) spread more easily outside the islands.