Adam, many familiar places or names of places I knew of but never went to. Unfortunately for me, when I was 22 y.o. four years seemed like a long time. I figured I’d have plenty of time to visit Kaui, Maui, and the big island Hawaii before my enlistment was up. And then my enlistment was up before I ever went to one of the other islands.
However, while I was at sea my wife went to Maui once with friends to watch a road rally race, and with another friend rented a plane and flew over the big island when Mauna Loa erupted in, I think, 1976. The pictures she took from the plane are still kicking around somewhere. I wasn’t into fishing, snorkeling or surfing, I’m not a strong swimmer. My off crew time salt water sport was sailing. In '76 I purchase my own Hobie 16, but probably spent more time sailing with a friend on his 28 foot Stiletto catamaran. And lesser time crewing boats during races with the Pearl Harbor Yacht Club. One of the members I crewed for during one race had flown one of the planes in the movie, Tora Tora Tora.
I attempted to stay in Hawaii after I was discharged, and did for six months before giving up. I only made it to Maui when I applied for at job at Science City, at one of the observatories on top of Haleakala. The unfortunate timing for me was when they got back to me about the job I had already moved back to the mainland. Going to Science City was an odd experience, you could look down at the top side of airliners flying past. And there was snow on the ground. An odd thing to see after living at 83 ~ 89˚ for four years. [ the only time I wore a jacket was during sub patrol when we were in the north Pacific were the water was cold and the a/c more efficient]
When I first moved to Hawaii I purchased a tee shirt that said, Ski Hawaii, as in snow skiing. I thought it was a joke, and it fit my sense of humor. It was a year or so later before I learned there is a place where you can snow ski on Mauna Kea.
Three or 4 guys from my sub crew still live on Oahu, and my wife has a couple of friends she worked with we hear from once in a while. Once ever 10 or fifteen years. It was through them we were invited to attend a New Year’s Eve Luau in Waianae. At the home of a family of Portuguese descent if I recall correctly. The start of 1978 was the last time I was in Waianae.
My legacy from living there is mostly fun times, a couple very sad events, and learning how to pronounce the Polynesian place names.
Have fun on your trip.