Exploring the mammoth Diamond Head Crater on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu is an essential local experience offering a truly stunning view of the island. Having wanted to but not done so on my previous visit to Hawaii back in 2003, hiking to the summit of the volcanic tuff cone & Waikiki landmark was one of the first things I wanted to do on this my second visit to Hawaii, but one of the last things I actually got around to doing. The short hike, about a one hour walk from downtown Waikiki, was worth the wait, not to mention & the effort required.
The Honolulu & Waikiki Beach areas a seen from the summit of Diamond Head (), Oahu, Hawaii, USA. March 11, 2013.
Oahu is Hawaii’s most populated island, something that’s plainly obvious from the summit of Diamond Head. Oahu, Hawaii, USA. March 11, 2013.
The iconic pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel, another Waikiki landmark, & Waikiki Beach as seen from the summit of Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. March 11, 2013.
Atop Diamond Head, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. March 11, 2013.
Approaching sunset with the Diamond Head Lighthouse in the foreground in Oahu, Hawaii, USA. March 8, 2013.
Diamond Head Lighthouse
The Diamond Head Lighthouse is a prominent symbol of Hawaiian history to residents & visitors alike. The lighthouse rests aside Diamond Head, a tuff-cone volcano formed by explosive eruptions thousands of years ago.
In 1825, British soldiers ascended the crater and found hard, clear calcite crystals among the black rocks. Mistaking them for diamonds, the sailors named the crater Diamond Head. One of the Hawaiian names for Diamond Head is ‘leahi’, meaning ‘wreath of fire’. This name reflects the ancient Hawaiian practice of lighting a fire on the crest of the volcano to guide canoe fleets back to the island.
The first lighthouse on this site was built in 1899. It was rebuilt in 1917 when cracks developed in the earlier structure. The Diamond Head Lighthouse still uses the original Fresnell lens. The flash of a modern 1000-watt electric bulb is focused by the lens so it can be seen more than 18 miles out to sea.
The Lighthouse Service was combined with the Coast Guard in 1939. Since then, the Coast Guard has been responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouses, buoys, and other aids to navigation throughout the United States.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s dwelling, built in 1921, now serves as the quarters of the Commander, Fourteenth Coast Guard District.
Information reproduced from a plaque fronting the Diamond Head Lighthouse.
Right, that’s Hawaii done. I’m off to Alaska!