Channels of the Hawaiian Islands

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In an archipelago like the Hawaiian Islands the water between islands is typically called a channel or passage. Described here are the channels between the islands of Hawaiʻi, arranged from southeast to northwest.

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The ʻAlenuihāhā separates the island of Hawaiʻi and the island of Maui. The maximum depth of this channel is 6100 feet (1900 m). There is a significant wind funnel effect in the channel, which is subject to scientific investigations.

ʻ

The ʻAlalākeiki Channel separates the islands of Kahoʻolawe and Maui. ʻAlalākeiki means "crying baby."

Kealaikahiki Channel

Ke ala i kahiki channel is the channel between Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe. It literally means "the road to Tahiti"; if one takes a bearing off of Kealaikahiki Point on Kahoʻolawe while in the channel and heads directly straight, one arrives, more or less, in Tahiti. In practice, however, Polynesian navigators probably did not quite ply a straight route to Tahiti.

ʻ

The ʻAuʻau Channel is one of the most protected areas of ocean in the Hawaiian Islands, lying between Lānaʻi and Maui. The channel is also protected by Molokaʻi to the north, and Kahoʻolawe to the south. The depth of the channel reaches 108 feet (33 m). ʻAuʻau channel is a whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands. Humpback whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles (5600 km) from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the northern hemisphere winter months in the protected waters of the channel.

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