Saturday, May 31, 2014

Kualoa Regional Park and Diamond Head Crater

Even though we attempted to sleep in, I was awake at 6:00AM.  Therefore, our first full day on Oahu started bright and early.

We drove northwest out of Honolulu, towards Kanoehe.  The drive was fine until we hit the rain!  We had seen the dark clouds over the mountains, and anticipated the rain, but it was torrential for a time.  Thankfully we are not driving a convertible.  Once on the other side, we had beautiful views.  We cruised along the western coastline, through little towns.

Our destination was Kualoa Regional Park so we could see the Mokolii Islands, informally known as the Chinaman's hat.  Mokoli╩╗i translates from Hawaiian as "little lizard." According to Hawaiian mythology, the island is the remains of a Giant Lizard's or Dragon's tail that was chopped off and tossed into the ocean by the goddess Hi'iaka.   (Note there are no lizards native to Hawaii.) The common name of Chinaman's Hat derives from its likeness to the conical Asian style hat.  



The view was fabulous and I had my first feel of the warm waters of the islands.  We were able to walk along the shoreline and observe some fish and a small crab.  The waters of the bay were a bit odd though.  While looking at the reflection of the sunlight on the water, we observed a unique twinkling.  When we looked closer, there appeared to be thousands of tiny organisms in the water.  When we cupped some of the organism filled water in our hands, it felt like tiny bubbles as the water drained.

Of course we had to joke about the alien life forms and the transportation of this life form back to the mainland!!

Upon leaving the park, we headed south west around the island towards Diamond Head Crater.

We made one stop, and that was at The Calico Cat. 


The owner was a wonderful lady, who knows where everything is in the shop. It is crowded with bolts of fabric, and it is because real estate is at a premium here in Honolulu.  Her selections are great and varied, having something for everyone.  

I was looking for local fabrics, Hawaiian themes, Asian themes....different fabrics that I cannot get back home.  I found some fabulous indigo prints that can be used right side or wrong side out, as the "wrong" side is the negative of the "right" side!  I also purchased some beautiful batiks, Asian prints and a special something for my quilting buddy Janice!  

Carol, the owner, also had flat rate shipping boxes in the shop that we packed full of my purchases (which included a pattern and an embroidery pattern with hand dyed threads!) and obtained directions to the post office.  

After shipping my parcel, Vince and I headed down the street to locate a local eatery in which to consume lunch.  We found The Big City Diner. http://bigcitydinerhawaii.com/



We love finding local places to eat meals, ones that are full of the character of the locale.  The Big CityDiner fit the bill very well.  There were black and white photos on the walls showing the town in its early days, 
With descriptions of what was in the photos and the history.  The food was good and plentiful, and the service was fantastic!

Once back in the car, we headed over to Diamond Head Crater.  

The crater was formed over 300,000 years ago.  British sailors thought that the calcite crystals were diamonds, thus the name.  However, there are no diamonds here!  
We successfully climbed the 0.8 mile steep path and stairs to the summit, which is 560 feet above sea level.  At times, I did not think I would make it, but between coughing fits and frequent stops, Vince and I made it to the top!  (I am still recovering from bronchitis).  In this photo below, you can just see the tiny figures of people on the trail ahead of us. 





At one point, we had a choice to make--go left or go right.  Another hiker, who apparently had climbed Diamond Head before, recommended going left as that was less steep.  We took her advice and made our way to the summit.  The views were extraordinary!  There was the added benefit of a wonderful breeze to cool us off. 




 
At the summit, we were able to not only enjoy the view, but go inside the old bunkers.  




and climb down a spiral staircase and another steep set of stairs.
After we climbed down this steep flight of stairs, we came to the same junction we approached earlier where we had to make a choice of turning left or right.  This was the steeper assent and I am glad that we came down this way as opposed to up this way!     In total, we hiked 1.6 miles!  Little did we know that this was setting a presidence for the remainder of our trip! 
If you look on the left in this photo, you can just make out one of the staircases we had to climb to reach the summit of Diamond Head! 

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