Today, we are going to climb to the top of Diamond Head Crater. Starting from the hotel, it is an 8 mile round trip. I’m all for catching a bus to the trailhead, but daughter no 1 will not be persuaded; we are going to walk the whole way.
The Visitor Centre is actually inside the crater, so we must skirt around the bottom, then walk through a tunnel through the middle of the volcano. Then after purchasing a ticket, we can begin our ascent. The first part is along a concrete path, then as we climb higher and steeper, we follow a trail around the crater.
The final part consists a large flight of steep stairs, a tunnel and finally a spiral staircase inside a vertical tunnel. To make it harder, masks are required inside the tunnels. Climbing hundreds of stairs, in a mask, in 28 degree heat is not the most comfortable experience. I am puffing and panting from the exertion and can’t get enough oxygen because of the mask, which is, by now, very soggy.
We finally reach the top and can unmask, catch our breath and admire the view. Then it’s time to retrace our steps. Down the stairs, masks on for the tunnel, along the uneven zigzagging path, holding onto the handrail to avoid slipping, descending in a long line of tourists. I have hung my mask over my wrist as I will need it again soon. The elastic slips over an upright in the handrail and I come to grinding halt, attached to a post, causing a comedy style pile up.
We reach the bottom without further incident. At the visitor centre I don my mask once more to buy a postcard. The sweat has attracted plenty of volcanic dust so it’s now pink and soggy. We walk back into to Waikiki, buying sandwiches en route. The combination of the temperature and exertion have caused significant sweating. I replenish lost fluids and salts (island seltzer and cheese crackers) then refuse to move again until I’ve had a nap.
Daughter no 1 sets of for the shops/beach. I promise to join her later. After an old lady nap, I set off towards the arranged meeting point. According to Google Maps, I can join the beach at the end of the road and walk a mile along a boardwalk. The reality is somewhat different as the boardwalk keeps disappearing. After detours through the restaurant of a fancy hotel, some walking in the sea and a little light climbing, I make it to Kahanamoku beach. It’s quite big – just as I realise arranging to meet someone so unspecific was foolish, I spot daughter no 1.
We had planned to go for a swim, but we come across a popular little beach bar (operated by the US army as part of a military retreat hotel) . Before I know it, we’re sitting under an umbrella sipping Mai Tais (daughter no 1 is a bad influence). We walk/wade/climb along the boardwalk/not boardwalk back towards our hotel, stopping for another attempt at watching the sunset then go in search of dinner.
We spot a large queue outside the Paia Fish Market and decide to join it. I’m usually vegetarian but in Hawaii, finding nut free vegetarian food has been a mission – everything vegetarian seems to contains macadamia nuts. So, this week I have put self preservation above principles. We wait and wait in the enormous queue, then notice that the barman isn’t busy. So we decide queue drinks are in order, buy some wine and sip our (enormous) glasses of wine while we wait to order. Pretty soon, queue drinks have caught on, and everyone is standing in line sipping on their beers and wines.
Finally it’s our turn to be served, and once we’ve shown our vaccine certificates, we choose Cajun spiced Mahi mahi and chips. It was definitely worth the wait – the food is amazing and the portion is enormous. Dinner finished, it’s time to waddle back to the hotel and retire for the night.