It is not just lighthouses that capture my interest, but it is also everything else that goes along with them: Water, ships, and sailors.
The feeling of sand between my toes, tasting salt water, smelling plant life along the sand, hearing waves wash upon the shore, and sitting on the beach waiting for a ship to be guided safely in to land.
My mother loved to sail and had made several sails to Hawaii over a period of time.
She is pictured on the left with an Uncle, sailing on the Mariposa from Los Angeles, California in 1930 for Honolulu.
It was not much different for my father who is pictured on the right sailing from New York in 1940 to the Hawaiian Islands.
Ultimately, the two of them meant on board a cruise line. So I suppose my love for the sea must have been bred into me, otherwise I could not feel the things I do, nor have the dreams.
During the early 1940's my parents owned a couple of Little Boat and Yacht Shops in the San Francisco Bay area in California.
After the war, and in the middle of a shipping strike, the business was closed.
Mother made her fifth trip with her children in October, 1946 aboard the S.S. Matsonia for Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.
We took residence in Waimanalo, where Uncle John had decided to remain following his last voyage.
And as a child of three, I took to the sea like a fish in water.
I remember many long walks along the beach with Uncle John, early in the morning, and slowly edging our way along the shoreline.
I can still vividly hear the waves lazily rolling onto the shore during low tide and smell the scent of the seaweed that often lay freshly on the sand from the night before.
We would scan the ocean for glass balls that might bob across the ocean from Japan.
Sometimes spotting one and waiting for it to come to shore, we sat on the sand and watched sand crabs scurry across the freshly washed beach from a small wave that had just receded back into the ocean.
Eventually the glass ball would drift close enough to the shallow water and Uncle John would let me retrieve it.
Often, we would find the dark green balls on the beach, waiting for someone to pick up.
I still have a few of these balls, now stowed beneath a glass top table along with other treasures from the sea.
The lighthouses came in the months and years ahead, as did my love for sailing.
Growing up in Hawaii there were three lighthouses that I felt kin to because that was all there were, and the older I became, the more they intrigued me.
Makapuu Point (1909)
Waimanalo, Eastern end, Oahu
During the late 1940's Makapuu Lighthouse was still considered new.
I vaguely remember the lighthouse until I was older. Except for knowing that it was there and off limits to me only made my curiosity increase.
Diamond Head (1899; 1918)
SW side of Diamond Head, on the edge of Oahu
1997 Picture courtesy of Chickie Backhaus
The history behind Diamond Head Lighthouse is a little confusing.
Recorded dates the structure was built include the years posted above and also 1917.
It is built at the base of an extinct volcano known as Diamond Head next to the ocean.
It has a square masonry tower and a 3rd order fresnal lens that can be seen for 18 miles.
The light was automated in 1924 and is still active.
Barbers Point, Oahu (1888; 1933)
I do not recall seeing Diamond Head Lighthouse until I was a young teenager and discovered a place where I could descend down to it on what was then a private road entrance.
From another area along the road that circled the volcano (Diamond Head) above the lighthouse, I could clearly see her below on the beach, but the very best view if not from shore, was from the very top of Diamond Head Crater.
(Which at that time, was not accessible to the general public.)
There were many stops in the years ahead to see this light in the darkness of the night; a pleasure with several friends to count the beacons became a favorite past time in the quiet of the night as I got older.
We would hop over the cement wall along the road, carefully go down the side of the hill, and then sit to listen to the waves and watch the beacon.
Kalaeloa, SW point, EWA Beach, Oahu
My attachment to Barbers Point did not occur until I was a young adult, married and with my first born son.
Soon after, I left my beloved Hawaii for California.
Regrettably, I never took any pictures of the lighthouses on Oahu, not even when I returned to Hawaii for visits.
I suppose this continued loss of photography gave me the excuse to keep going back.
Oddly every time I do, I see the lighthouses, but never take the pictures. Only my very favorite has been added here, submitted by a dear friend.
Umpqua River Lighthouse
In my mind I suppose it means these lighthouses will always be there for me and I know I will return because when I see a lighthouse or range light ever since I left the island in 1964, I've made it a point to photograph these spectacular points of interest.
Sadly, photography had been lost over the years, but in recent months, I have re-discovered the beauty of this favorite past time and now make it a point to chronolog every one I visit as a physically challenged individual.
It is interesting to note that dates falling within a chain of events sometimes entwine themselves with my passion for lighthouses.
For example, a year ago I visited a remarkable lighthouse on the island of Cozumel in Mexico unexpectedly on my birthday.
My son David who also shares the interest of these guardians of the night and is in the United States Coast Guard, reported to Port Huron, Michigan on August 1, 1999.
Exactly one year later I made a visit to Port Huron to visit my son and family.
Upon my arrival, his first stop on the way to his home was to show me the Port Huron Lighthouse.
Of course, all of us went on a search for lighthouses during my two-week visit and David drove for miles to take me to as many as what was realistic, commuting back and forth from Port Huron.
One evening, as he showed me some pictures, he found one taken in 1987 when I met him in Oregon for a visit.
Our first trek was to locate the Umpqua River Lighthouse near Coos Bay.
I could not climb the stairs in the lighthouse and sat in our rented vehicle while David went in to the Coast Guard Station.
As he showed me the pictures, I finally remembered the visit.
I also remembered how much he too was intrigued by these magnificent beacons.
An excellent photographer, he wisely thought to take a picture of the beacon from inside the lighthouse.
I took a picture from the car of the lighthouse as he walked back across the road.
South side of mouth of river, 19 miles North of Coos Bay
Visited Spring, 1987