Basically, each island is geographically and climactically its own animal. Far to the west is Niihau, privately held. There is no truth to the rumor that Ricardo Montalban keeps a seaplane gassed and ready in the harbor. Next is Kauai, lush and wild, with the dramatic Na-pali coast along its northwestern shore. Hawaii is called the Big Island because, well, it's the biggest. It has two peaks higher than 13,000 feet and tremendous volcano activity. Kilauea is the most active volcano in the world. Maui, spoken in a snicker by teenagers the world over for a certain kind of combustible export, is dominated by the 10,000-foot Haleakala peak, supposedly the highest dormant volcano on the planet. Molokai is known as the "Friendly Isle," which was an early form of public-relations spin applied after Captain Cook's demise. Lanai used to be a wholly owned piece of the Dole Company but is slowly phasing in tourism, a concept still unknown on Kahoolawe strictly because it is uninhabited. It's going to remain that way until the military is done picking up all the unexploded shells it lobbed on the island during decades of target practice. Oahu is home to Honolulu, the state capitol and possessing a population density between Los Angeles and Manhattan. It's an odd place if you've traveled the rest of the islands because it is so relentlessly citylike; the famed Waikiki Beach is a narrow, packed strip of sand wedged uneasily between row upon row of skyscrapers and the pounding Pacific.