Thursday, October 2, 2008

We climbed Diamond Head!

The date: September 27,2008

We climbed Diamond Head! It is a volcanic crater on the island of O'ahu - widely regarded as the most famous volcanic crater in the world. And, it was hard work. (Well, at least for me it was.) According to, the name "DiamondHead" was given to the crater by British sailors in the 1800's. When they first saw the crater at a great distance, the calcite crystals in the lava rock appeared to glimmer in the sunlight. The sailors mistakenly thought there must be diamonds in the soil.

The calcite crystals have dulled (or disappeared) since then, but the crater itself is still insanely beautiful. When my mom was here a few weeks ago, we drove out to DiamondHead, but didn't make the trek to the top. (I think I'll get her up there next time, though.) I definitely call it a "must-do" if/when you ever come to O'ahu. (You can even get a certificate at the top (for $2), and a t-shirt at the flea market that shows your success.)

Some interesting facts about Diamond Head:
*The crater is 3,520 feet in diameter with a 760-foot summit.
When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, harbor defense became a main responsibility. One of the major defense forts, Fort Ruger, occupied the Diamond Head Crater. A battery of canons was located within the crater providing complete concealment and protection from invading enemies.
An observation deck was constructed at the summit in 1910 to provide target sighting and a four level underground complex was built within the walls of the crater as a command post.
A 580-foot tunnel was dug through the crater wall to provide easier access to the Fort.
There are two sets of stairs, one with 99 steps and the other, 76 steps. There is also a 225-foot unlit tunnel. (OK, well it is slightly lit, there is track lighting along the bottom edge.) That may not sound like a lot, but those 99 steps are straight uphill! The kids did great - no complaining, no skinned knees, plenty of singing and laughing.

There were 17 of us who climbed the crater that day. Seventeen friends - 10 adults, 1 teenager and 6 kids under 10. It took us about 2 1/2 hours, counting the time we spent at the top - taking photographs, holding each other's kids, drinking in the beautiful view of the entire south coast of O'ahu. It was a magical experience - not because we saw the amazing views, or made it to the top of that crater without any injuries, but because we did it together. We made an amazing memory that day, with our Hawaii Family.

Thank you my friends - Jay, Lucie, Tania, Jon, Sonya, Ken, Nicole, Graham, Jon, Alissa, Alex, Abby, Claire, Jonathan, Tyron, and Levi. It was most definitely a day I will never forget.

Now for the photographs! (Well, these are just a few. I will put the rest into a slide show and post them later this weekend.)

All the girls: (clockwise) Nicole, Lucie, Tiffany, Sonya, Alissa, Tania,
Alex, Claire and Abby

Graham and Levi climbing those crazy 99 stairs!

Jon and Levi at the top in the lookout

Claire and Abby

An amazing view of the southeast shore (taken from the top of the crater)

Honolulu and Waikiki -taken from the top of Diamond Head


Cindy said...

awwwww I remember when we did that. I always wondered why I was so thin when we lived in Hawaii, and you are reminding me, caus we were always outside! Looks like you guys had fun. ALMOST makes me want to go back!

Tania said...

Tiffany, this blog was just perfect! Thank you for sharing it with us -- Tyron got a kick out of seeing his name on a "website"! We had a WONDERFUL day with our Paiaha Family...can't wait for the next adventure! -- Tania

RangersGirl said...

This looks like it was a FUN day! awesome pictures!