Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bunkers Abound

Oahu's military legacy is abundantly evident all across the island. While of course Pearl Harbor is still a major base, there are other sites dotted about the islands that have since been abandoned. Perched on a ridge above Lanikai, on the north-east side of the island, is a pair of old observation bunkers.

The trail leading up is quite steep, and even dry it is pretty slippery, but the commanding views of Lanikai beach and the surrounding area are very much worth the trek.

The bunkers themselves are now covered in graffiti and the trash of young party goers, but visitors can see why the military would have been interested in putting these two observation posts up there.

On the other side of Oahu is Diamond Head, the young volcanic cone that looms over Honolulu and Waikiki. Like the Lanikai ridge, Diamond Head offers excellent views over the area, and was also used by the Military. To guard the sea approaches to Honolulu, an artillery battery was built right on Waikiki Beach. To sight the battery, two large rangfinding bunkers were constructed, one on the tip of Diamond Head, and one on Round Top, a peak in the hills above Honolulu.

Tourists now flock up the steep trail through Diamond Head crater to see the old rangefinding bunker, and the views back down to their Waikiki hotels. The Lanikai bunkers, while smaller and much less well preserved, certainly have fewer people, all of whom are locals eager to engage in a friendly chat.

We had a remarkably clear day when we went to Diamond Head, clear enough that from the top you could see Molokai, Maui, and Lanai. While sighting Molokai from the eastern edge of Oahu is pretty common, seeing all three of those islands is most certainly not. It was so clear, that you could even make out the peak of Haleakala, over a hundred miles distant!

No comments: