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April 20, 2009

Oahu for the weekend....fantastic!

Last weekend was Easter weekend for the Orthodox Church, and we had plane tickets, hotel reservation and a trip planned to go to Oahu, mainly for church services, but we managed to do some sightseeing on the beautiful isle of Oahu.

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We have booked our airline tickets with Mokulele airlines for the first time, and I would definitely use them again for inter-islands' travel. They provided great customer service and competitive prices. The short(twenty minutes) flight from Maui's Kahului's airport to Honolulu's International airport was uneventful. And we were very impressed with the less then five minute waiting time for our suitcase. (I had to check it in because I had some liquids that were not in the approved size containers).

Unfortunately, getting the rental car from Dollar was not as fast. We waited in line for about forty minutes to get our car. We had a package deal from our hotel for a room and a car, and the price was great. The compact car we got was a blue Dodge Caliber.

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April 21, 2009

Pearl Harbor: Remembering the dead

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When we decided to take the short trip to Oahu, the one site I knew I wanted to visit was Pearl harbor. If we had time for nothing else, visiting Pearl Harbor was the one place I wanted to visit.

Pearl Harbor is the US Naval Base that was attacked by Japanese aircraft,on the morning of December 7th, 1941 . The day when the US Navy had suffered its greatest defeat in its history;twenty one vessels were sunk or damaged, American airpower on Oahu(back then an American Territory) was smashed, American dead totaled 2390 with hundreds wounded, and the day WWII had come to America.

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"Air raid, Pearl Harbor-this is no drill" was the message issued by Lt. Commander Ramsey, on Ford Island , at 0755 am for all the radiomen to send out in uncoded, plain English. At 0810, a 1760-pound armor-piercing bomb penetrated the decks of USS Arizona, killing 1177 men aboard, shattering more than a million pounds of gunpowder and creating huge fireballs. It took nine minutes for the Arizona to sink to the bottom of the harbor and two days for the fires abroad to stop burning. It is on the mid-portion of the sunken battleship,where the 184-foot-long Memorial structure now stands,to become the final resting place of the crewmen who lost their lives that day, and the place visitors go to remember and honor the dead.

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Sixty eight years later, and the USS Arizona is still leaking oil. It has become to be known as "The Tears of the Arizona".

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According to the US Department of Interior, twelve US ships were sunk, nine ships were damaged, one hundred and sixty four US aircraft were destroyed and one fifty nine were damaged. Out of the nine ships damaged, all but Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma, were salvaged and later put in action.

In 1945, America and its allies achieved victory over Japan, after the battle cry "Remember Pearl Harbor" carried the nation to avenge the attack.

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April 22, 2009

Diamond Head:Joining the crowds

Leaving Pearl Harbor, we drove east towards Diamond Head State Monument. Forty five minutes later, and after going through a tunnel to the interior of the crater, we arrived at the monument, paid the fee of five dollars and parked our car.

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Diamond Head is the volcanic carter located at the end of the famous Waikiki,overlooking the ocean on the south-east coast of Oahu. It got its name from the British Sailors in the 1800's,who mistakenly thought there were diamonds in the soil when they saw the calcite crystals in the lava rock glimmer in the sunlight at a distance.

The crater is still known today to many locals by its former name: Le'ahi, which translates to "brow of the tuna", because that is what it looks like from Waikiki. Diamond Head,or Le'ahi, is believed to have been formed about 300,000 years ago during a single,brief eruption.

The trail to the summit of Diamond Head Crater is 0.8 mile with 560 feet gain from the crater floor. It is paved almost all the way, but is considered easy to moderate due to the steepness at some points.There are two sets of stairs: one with 99 steps, and the other with 76 steps. There is also a lighted tunnel.

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When we got to the trail head, we stopped at the restrooms(there are none at the summit) and bought a cone of shave ice from the shave ice truck. Ah, perfect for a ten o'clock snack on a hot day. Strawberry and passion fruit were the flavors Bill picked for me, and I loved the combination.

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Eating our shave ice,we started strolling up the paved road. People coming down were staring at us, I am not sure if it is because they wished they had some shave ice, or because they thought we were crazy. Either way, I was enjoying my shave ice, and did not appreciate the stares.

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April 23, 2009

Oahu Windward side: Driving along Kalanianaole Hwy

After leaving Diamond Head, and armed with my wonderful guidebook of Oahu Revealed, we continued driving east along H-1, soon to become Hwy 72, or Kalanianaole Highway.

The coastal highway is so beautiful, and we were just oohing and aahing the whole drive. And on that drive is when I realized that there are many more accessible beaches on Oahu than Maui; Maui has more cliffs. Also the shape of the island of Oahu gives it more corner points than the rounded edges on Maui. Maui also has Haleakala crater taking up a good chunk in the middle of the island. The differences between the islands are so striking, and make every single island more unique and worth visiting.

Our first stop along the highway was one of Oahu's many hidden gems: Portlock spitting cave. The cave is below a gorgeous layered shoreline, and the views are mesmerizing.According to my book, each layer is formed by a different volcanic explosion. The water was very clear, and exceptionally blue.

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April 27, 2009

Another paved trail: Makapuu Lighthouse Hike

As we continued to drive east on Hwy 72, Makapuu Head,standing at 647 feet elevation, defines the most eastern tip of Oahu. There is a gate, and an abandoned road called Ka iwi ,that is the gateway to an easy and beautiful hike.

The hike is one and half mile each way, and gains 520 feet elevation at a very reasonable pace. It is paved all way, and we noticed some people with strollers on the trail. It seems to be popular(although not as popular as Diamond Head), with locals and visitors alike.

The hike is known as the Makapuu Lighthouse Hike, because at the end of the trail, one is rewarded with a view of the very beautiful and picturesque lighthouse.

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Once at the top, a lookout presents a very dreamy view of Manana(Rabbit Island) and Kaohikaipu islands,and the coast beyond. It is one of those WOW views that will be engraved in my memory for a long time.

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April 28, 2009

A drive around Oahu's North Shore: Beautiful!

After touring the windward side of Oahu, we started off the next day heading towards the north shore. It was such a beautiful day, and we were only sorry we had just the half a day to explore this gorgeous side of the island. I did not take notes that day, so the sites we saw are not in order, and I hope I am not leaving anything out.

Oahu's north shore is considered to be the surfing mecca of the world. Every December, north shore beaches host three competitions that make up the Triple Crown of Surfing. I would love to see the surfers catching a tube ride on the north shore when the surf is up( it can be as high as 20 feet). We will have to take a trip one winter to see that.

The biggest settlement in the north shore is Haleiwa town. A nice little town with a big personality. Haleiwa is located on Waialua Bay, which is surrounded by Haleiwa Beach Park on the north side, and Haleiwa Alii Beach Park, on the south side. The views are beautiful, and standing on the south side, the bridge across the Anahulu River offers a nice view. Here are couple photos that Bill took.


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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions in the Oahu category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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