You guessed it; this week’s pull from the Oahu Jar took us to Lēʻahi …..aka Diamond Head. We usually strike out early (after the morning commute) to avoid any traffic issues. This day started out like all of the rest, and since we were going from the West side to the South side, it should have only taken us 25 minutes max. Well, sometimes things don’t turn out as expected. It was smooth sailing until we hit the town area, where not 1, but 2 accidents turned our travel time into 45 minutes! Gotta love Oahu! The beauty of the area here, with its tall buildings and big city feels keeps us entertained as we crept along the H1. This state is probably the only place I know where I don’t mind sitting in traffic. As we moved beyond the crashes and made our way to the crater, we passed some of the most stunning pieces of real estate on the island. I’m pretty sure this is where some of the most elite people on Oahu live---lucky peeps! (I really had thought of another word instead of peeps, but trying to keep the language PG rated here.)
Our wonderful timing karma seemed a bit off as we made our way to the first stop at the lighthouse. It seemed everybody decided to go to the same destination we chose. But, we always proceed with Aloha and the hopes of good parking. And we were not disappointed. We found a perfect spot right next to the lighthouse and were able to enjoy the area around it. Below are some facts about the lighthouse along with pix for imagery!
Located on the southern cliffs of the island, its red light can be seen 17 nautical miles (over 31 kilometers) from the shoreline. The lighthouse is not open to the public but can be seen from Diamond Head Road.
Standing as an enduring sentinel, the lighthouse has safely guided innumerable mariners transiting the Pacific region for over one hundred and ten years.
The current concrete-reinforced structure stands 55-feet tall and was built in 1917. It is no longer manned. In 1980 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After the Lighthouse, we got back into the car and meandered over to Lēʻahi. There aren’t many places in the world where you can hike to the edge of a volcano, let alone drive into its crater! This was going to be epic! We arrived at the entrance, where if you are not paying attention, you might drive head first into another car. At the tunnel, the lanes turn into 1 and the traffic flow is governed by a light. My advice is to keep your eyes on the road and not your surroundings…that is, until you get the lay of the land!
Diamond Head is a volcanic cone on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and is the most popular Hawaii State Park. Hawaiians call it Lēʻahi (brow of the tuna) in reference to the formation’s ridgeline, which resembles the tuna fish’s dorsal fin. The British soldiers who visited the area in the 19th century thought that the sparkling calcite crystals on the neighboring beach were diamonds.
Once we passed through the tunnel we arrived at the gate. It’s very well managed and we were a little heartbroken to see the Lot Full sign already posted. We pressed on with the hopes of a spot opening up. While we waited I had the chance to read the billboard sized sign of rules and noticed that with a state ID, the fee to enter was FREE!! Well now…. We have those! Then I thought of whipping out my mom’s handicap placard to see if perhaps there was special parking in this full lot, and behold…there was! We were greeted with the standard smile from the attendee and I had my state ID nonchalantly displayed and the placard hanging from the rearview mirror as we pulled up. I turned my Aloha charm up a notch by asking sweetly how long the wait might be to find a parking spot and without hesitation, this very nice man said “Go right in. We have a spot open for you, just follow that guy up there and he’ll direct you in.” Well now….isn’t that special! (I silently thanked the parking karma gods) and we drove into the 2nd spot at the front. It kind of made me feel like a celebrity considering how crowded it was and we had just passed about 8 cars waiting for parking. All my mom did was chuckle a little….I think she’s getting used to this treatment! We got out and walked the grounds a little and I thought about the fact that I had actually drove into a crater and I am now walking on a volcano! Below is information about Diamond Head and more imagery.
The crater encompasses 350 acres. The crater is much larger than its rim as it was formed explosively. This type of formation is known as a tuff cone.
Diamond Head is part of the Ko’olau Range of volcanoes that began erupting below sea level over 2.6 million years ago. A single eruption around 300,000 years ago created the crater.
We ended up spending some time taking pix and people watching. After a bit we decided to head on out and search for our lunch. It was an awesome trip and I’d really love to hike the trail to the top one day, and I will, but for now…. It was perfect. My mom and I really like this Oahu Jar thing and can’t wait to see what we pull for next week! Stay tuned…..