We hiked to the top of Oahu’s Diamond Head Crater. The trail was pretty steep but the view from the top was definitely worth it. Dave had an interesting start to the hike, when he met a student who had been in his class in his first year of teaching in Landmark, Manitoba nearly forty years ago. Dave thought he recognized him so called out his name, “Howard” and when the fellow stopped he recognized Dave right away too. We paused for a ‘catch-up’ chat.
My knee was a little wonky so Dave got way ahead of me. This allowed me to take some good photos of him from down below on the trail. There were tourists from all over the world hiking with us.
The Diamond Head crater was formed by a volcanic explosion 300,000 years ago and the trail up to the top which has over a 100 steps and a long dark tunnel to walk through was built by the army in the early 1900’s. The crater gets its name from the fact that British soldiers picked up some calcite crystals in the crater in the 1700’s and thought they were diamonds.
From the top of Diamond Head you can see the ocean…….
and the city of Honolulu
Dave got way ahead of me on the hike down as well, but he wasn’t bored waiting for me near the end of the trail. When I finally caught up with him he was deep in conversation about farming and professional sports with a corn and soy bean farmer from Indiana.
It was a very hot day so we shared one of Hawaii’s famous shaved ice cones at the end of the hike. We had a rainbow ice that featured coconut, pineapple and cherry flavors. It was a perfect ending to our hike.
Today we got together with the Jang family. Irina Jang was a student in two of my high school English classes at the International Christian School in Hong Kong and Dave was her physical education teacher. She is now a kinesiology student at the University of Hawaii. Irina, her mom Michelle, her grandmother Inez and her brother Matt met us at Waikiki Beach. They all live together with Inez in Honolulu.
The Jangs took us to see the rare Hawaiian monk seal. One of these seals has been coming up on the Waikiki shore to rest for the last couple days. At night the seal goes out into the ocean to hunt but then returns at sunrise to rest on the sandy shore. There are only 1,100 of these seals left in the world. Yellow tape had been put up around the seal, and a conservationist was keeping careful watch to be sure no one bothered the seal.
Michelle and I went swimming while the rest of the group hung out on the shore. The water was warm and there were some colorful fish in the clear sea.
After our swim we all walked down the beach together to the International Market for supper. Here’s Dave with Matthew Jang, Irina’s brother. I taught Matthew in fifth grade at ICS and again in my grade ten Literature class. He is now a senior at a private school in Honolulu. He is on the school canoeing team and takes ukulele and Spanish lessons. He is also a Parkour enthusiast and this year is doing some volunteer Parkour coaching.
Irina and Dave pose in front of a statue of Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaii’s Olympic champion known as the father of modern surfing. Irina is very involved in gymnastics and competes nationally. In February she is heading to Montreal to try out for the Cirque du Soleil.
We enjoyed some great seafood at the International Market and had lots of time to visit. We reminisced about some of our Week Without Walls trips at ICS. I chaperoned a trip to Israel that Irina was a part of, and a trip to Borneo that Matthew participated in. After supper it was dark outside and it was fun to walk back down Waikiki and see all the street performers in action.
As we hugged the Jangs and said good-bye, Irina and Matthew’s Mom Michelle noted, that after you teach at ICS you seem to have connections almost anywhere you go in the world. She could be right.