Hiking Diamond Head crater was at the top of my list for Oahu; a bucket list item, if I had a bucket list. I pulled this picture off the WordPress site to give you a better picture of what the crater looks like. I’ve never taken Uber to a trailhead to hike, but that’s what we did. And the Uber driver knew just where to drop us off. We walked through a tunnel to the inside of the crater:
After we paid our entrance fee, we were on the trail. Right away we started going up from the crater floor. The trail is only .8 mile long, but it is steep. Once we climbed high enough, we could see over the crater to Honolulu.
Diamond Head was used for military coastal defense from the early 1900’s right up through the 1960’s, and on the crater floor are two buildings still in use. This tunnel was used for fire control.
This hike was beginning to feel like a fun obstacle course.
Later on in the day we went on the whale watch that I’ve already blogged about and saw Diamond Head from the sea. It was pretty amazing to think we had just been on top that morning.
We couldn’t leave Oahu without paying our respects to the sailors and marines who lost their lives on the Arizona and at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. Pearl Harbor is a national monument called “World War II Valor in the Pacific”.
The memorial is sitting directly over the remains of the ship. We rode a boat over to the memorial, and then we could walk inside and look down on it.
There was a lot to ponder while on the Arizona and at Pearl Harbor. We watched active duty military ships leave the Harbor. At the time we were here, war clouds were just starting to gather in Ukraine. I worried about what Putin was going to do, while at the same time feeling the weight of the events that happened here.
We also went through a submarine, the USS Bowfin, which saw action during WWII. She was nicknamed “The Pearl Harbor Avenger”.
We did it all at Pearl Harbor, including the USS Missouri. It was possible to walk around most of the ship, above and below decks.
The Missouri was commissioned in 1944 and was the last battleship built. Her guns were fired in WWII, the Korean War, and the Gulf War. Her biggest claim to fame, however, is that the documents ending the war with Japan were signed on her deck in Tokyo Bay.
Exploring below the decks was the most interesting part for me. There would be thousands of men living on this ship for months at a time, and bunks were stuffed into every nook and cranny.
The Missouri was decommissioned in 1992, and so it was a bit of a time machine from that era. We came to the Finance Office, where sailors could get all their money-related items taken care of. I was in Finance when I was in the Army, so this room looked very familiar! I could picture myself at one of those IBM Selectrics on an identical desk typing checks. My time was a little earlier, though, so I had no computer, and used earlier model calculators.
We slowed our pace way down for our last day or two in Oahu with a picnic dinner at Ft. Derussy Park, some time on the beach, and a last meal of shrimp in Waikiki.
Next time – On to Maui