A Visit to an Old Friend of Sailors

One thing that holds a fascination for me is seeing familiar things and places from various points of view. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog entry titled “Different Perspectives.” This entry can be seen as a continuation.

This past Sunday was a day spent away from the sea, but not so far away after all.

I accompanied a friend on a hike along the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail. Despite living all of my life here on O‘ahu, I had never been on this particular trail before. (Yes, sad.) It’s a fairly easy trek, which makes it popular with people of all ages.

While the landscape just off the trail is a bit monotonous at times (rocks, kiawe, cactus…), the wider vistas are quite spectacular.

A different view of Koko Crater from the trail:

Koko Crater

It’s sort of hard to believe that I made it all the way up to the top!

Dotting the area are World War II-era structures such as pill boxes. Not sure what this one is supposed to be:

old structure

Despite the natural beauty, I imagine it could be a lonely and desolate outpost.

Aside from the scenery, the star of the hike is the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse:

Makapuu lighthouse 2

The light, which went into service in 1909, boasts the largest Fresnel lens in the United States. Unfortunately, the area immediately around the lighthouse is fenced off, so visitors aren’t able to hike out (legally) to it.

Makapuu lighthouse

Looking at Makapu‘u Point from the sea, the lighthouse seems small and insignificant:

10 04.07 Makapuu Pt 01

However, it was and continues to be a great friend to mariners and ships.

Although I don’t know the course FOC steered on her voyages from San Francisco to Honolulu (another thing to research), the light would have been a welcome sight if she passed by the point. She was certainly in the area:

“About 2 o’clock this afternoon the oil ship Falls of Clyde was sighted off Koko Head. She is bringing a cargo of oil to Honolulu from San Francisco and is reported 18 days out from that port today by the Merchants’ Exchange.”—Honolulu Star-Bulletin, p. 1 (3 May 1916)

Looking north from the point, with Kāohikaipu and Mānana islands in the foreground:

view from Makapuu point

Mānana from the sea:

10 04.07 Manana (Rabbit Is) sea

Survey marker near the lookout:

survey marker

My friend and I sat on the top of one of the old concrete structures and enjoyed lunch. It was very pleasant basking in the sun, but it was time to go.

View of the coast on the way down:

coastline

See the spray from Halona blowhole?

On the way back into town, we decided to stop at the blowhole area.

Looking back to where we were:

Sandy Beach

I had a hard time getting a good shot of the spray from the blowhole. Part of that was slow reaction time on my part.

I like this shot. Tendrils of water instead of flame:

blowhole

Spotted from Halona, a ship in the distance:

Manukai offshore

Very familiar…grey hull, blue logo. (Harbor schedule indicated it was Manukai.)

One can only dream of a day long ago, when the ship might have been a large four-masted barque…

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4 comments on “A Visit to an Old Friend of Sailors

  1. Ed Enos says:

    Awesome post, Luv the pics. I recently hiked into and out of a valley on the Hamakua coast of the Big Isle. I had sailed past this place a thousand times on boats, tugs, and ships…always wondering what it was like. I thought before, I would never actually go there. Until one day I did. Seeing the same place “from shore looking out to sea” really makes you think about perspective and how we see things. I finally got to see Waimanu Valley from the shore and what did I think??? I started recalling all the memories of being OUT THERE and looking back at where I was standing. Funny. This lighthouse is famous to seafarers all over the world. Its due for recognition and respect.

    • weeboopiper says:

      Thanks for your comments, Ed. Even though we live in a maritime state, how many local people get to see familiar locations from the sea? I wish more had the chance to do so.

  2. skycastles says:

    Have hiked Makapuu numerous times but never seen it from the water. Love those pix!

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