Thursday, March 11, 2010

Diamond Head

Aloha to everyone and anyone who reads this blog. In the few weeks that have passed since the last post I have spent my weekends searching for fun stuff to do around Oahu, and I have come across several gems. The first is Diamond Head Crater.

Located near Honolulu, a short distance east of Waikiki, Diamond Head Crater is a popular tourist spot on Oahu. According to an informational pamphlet from the state monument, this volcanic crater was formed about 300,000 years ago, and it is about 750 feet from sea level at its tallest point. Its Hawaiian name is Lēʻahi, "lae" meaning forehead, and "ahi" meaning tuna, as the ridge is said to resemble a tuna's forehead. Its English name comes from 18th century traders and explorers who mistook calcite crystal deposits in the crater for diamonds.

View of Waikiki & Downtown from the summit

I have hiked Diamond Head twice since I have been attending BYU-Hawaii, and I loved it both times. It costs five dollars to park inside the crater, or one dollar to enter on foot. The hike takes 45 minutes to and hour and a half, and there are several lookout points on the way to the top.

Myself at the first lookout point

The hike starts as a series of switchbacks snaking up the side of the crater. A few hundred feet or so up the mountainside, the trail goes through a 225-foot long tunnel and exits on the outside of the crater. From there, several sets of stairs (with a grand total of 227 steps) lead to the very highest lookout point, where hikers can take in the breathtaking view of nearby reefs, Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, and the houses on the hillsides. On a clear day the island of Molokai is visible in the distance.

The final set of stairs

As for preparation for the short hike, make sure to wear appropriate clothing. The trek can be done in casual non-hiking shoes, but I don't recommend wearing slippers (flip-flops for mainlanders). I would also suggest taking a bottle of water.

This hike makes an excellent activity for a Saturday afternoon. After the hike, enjoy cruising the Waikiki strip, or eating at one of Waikiki's many restaurants. More fun, cheap activities on Oahu still to come.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunset Movies at Waikiki

I have heard many complaints from BYU-Hawaii students about their lack of fun things to do, especially at night. By resurrecting Ke Alaka'i's "Oh, Wahoo!" blog, I intend to show students and anyone else who is interested, that there are many fun activities to take part in all around the island of Oahu.

A great way to spend a Saturday night is to head down to Waikiki and attend a Sunset on the Beach Movie Screening. Fans of ABC's LOST will already have experienced with this event, as the LOST premier was part of the Sunset on the Beach program. Every Saturday, the city shows a free movie on a 30-foot screen-- right on the beach.

Fans eagerly awaiting the LOST premier

Chairs and tables are set up on the beach so people can enjoy the movie comfortably. Many food vendors set up tents right by the screen. The event is totally free (unless you want to buy food of course). All you have to do is find a way to get to Waikiki, such as the bus or getting a ride with friends. So find a group of friends and have a blast watching a free movie on the beach!