Monday, January 9, 2017

 Picture DIAMOND HEAD taken from Kapiolani Park.

The crater has been known by many names; the earliest recorded was Lae-ahi. The mountain was compared by Hiiaka, the younger sister of Pele, to lae the brow of the ahi fish (Pukui 126). As time passed it was condensed to Leahi. In the early 1800s British sailors found calcite crystals in the rocks on the slopes and thought they were diamonds. Following the discovery, the crater was called Kaimana-Hila, literally Diamond Hill (Smith 174). Today it is commonly known as Diamond Head. But by whatever name, its dominance reigns over Waikiki. The crown towers 760 feet above the sea. Each morning the sun peaks over its summit to bear greetings and at days end, its moonlit silhouette stirs couples to romance.
Over the years Leahi has been rendered to many uses. The kings of Oahu had their main residences nearby and a favorite pastime was holua sledding down the slopes of Diamond Head (Porteus 167). The rider was able to slide downhill with speed and merriment, usually in the company of friends on their ti leaf sleds (Mitchell 39). A marine signal telegraph was also maintained, stationed on the ridge in the rear of Diamond Head, which signaled all vessels approaching or passing the port of Honolulu (Whitney 133). During World War I and II, the crater was transformed into an elaborate fortress (Chisholm 94). The fortified emplacements have become a popular tourist attraction and are well worth the short hike. Today, portions of the crater are utilized as the Civil Defense Emergency Operating Center, by the FAA and the State Department of Defense.  Info.

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