Once you start seeing the two volcanic rock pinnacles lying between Maro Reef and French Frigate Shoals, you should be assured that you are now at Gardener Pinnacles in Hawaii. Gardener Pinnacles is an island sitting on 5 acreage of land and comprises of the smallest land mass among the several Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The underwater shelves extend outwards from these pinnacles and reach out to an area of about 604, 000 acres or 2,446 sq kilometers. Captain Joseph Allen of Nantucket reported that he saw ‘a new rock or island’ that they not marked out on their chart. This was in 1820 and he called it the Gardener’s Island.
Most importantly, the presence of giant opihi on Gardener Pinnacles in abundance makes it one of the most popular Hawaiian Islands. This is the limpet which is endemic to Hawaiian area only. The island features rocky- tidal places that are a perfect habitat for the opihi. Scientists have identified twenty seven unique species the stony coral that are distributed all over the pinnacles reef system. Coral reefs have always been a key attraction of tourists in Hawaiian Islands especially in Gardener Pinnacles. On the island’s leeward side, scientists have the acropola table corals while stony, soft and tube corals have been spotted throughout the island’s reef.
Around Gardener Island, underwater shelves offer a great habitat for the largest recorded number of sea fishes living in a northwestern Island. A very surprising observation you should know about is that the amount of coral reef species at Gardener Pinnacles is almost twice the number you could find in other basalt islands like Mokumanamana and Nihoa. In addition, you will be surprised to note that most of the Hawaiian species of fish that you are not likely to find in other Hawaiian Islands are found on this island and in abundance. These are some of the reasons that make Gardener Pinnacles the most treasured Northwestern Hawaiian Island.
Besides the coral reefs, Gardener Pinnacles also houses insects and seabirds as well as the succulent sea purslane which is the only plant species on the island. Scientists and researchers have recorded about 19 different seabird species with 12 of these species breeding on steep cliffs like the rarest blue gray noddy. Despite being a highly isolated island and being of a small size, Gardener Pinnacles surprisingly has a large variety of insects. Ranging from moths and mites to spiders, flies, centipedes, earwigs, isopods and beetles, Gardener Pinnacles is an island that you can expect to see every creature existing in Hawaiian Islands.
Recently, a research undertaken on the island led to the observation that there are two new undocumented spider species on the island and other plant species that scientists have never recorded. Due to the uniqueness of Gardener Pinnacles and availability of many plant and animal species, the island is mostly visited by visitors interested with research and discovery. Local Hawaiian guides will organize a memorable trip to the island for you.