Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Night the Diamond Head Light House Went Out

Diamond Head Light House

The Diamond Head Lighthouse is the home for the 14th Coast Guard Commandant. The light is the original lens and can be seen as far away as 18nm. It is the light which keeps all the mainland ships from running onto the coral reefs of Oahu.

About 1979, I had the great fortune of actually being able to house sit for a week when the Admiral and his wife went to Washington DC. My job was to help his 2 young daughters in the evening. I got a fairly detailed orientation to the house and the lighthouse. The lighthouse had a back up generator so not to worry, he said. However, if there ever was a problem
to use the red button on the phone and all the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard would be notified. and  would all descend upon the house.

We had a wonderful dinner fixed on the BBQ and the girls went to bed early. The yard was well lite with flood lights. As I lay my head down on the pillow and began to close my eyes, I thought the lights in the yard went off. I got up and when I tried to turn on the bedroom light it was off also. I stumble through a totally dark and unfamiliar house and peered out at the light house. Oh my God, the light house is not working, the back up generator didn't come on and I can see a tug and barge approaching from Molakai. Do I dare push that red button? Well no, as the phone is dead. Nothing is working.This is the 70's so no cell phones. What could be happening? Are the Japanese getting ready to bomb Pearl Harbor again? I doubted that, but went out to the back gate and the road lights were out. Time slowly marched as I paced through the house. I didn't have a clue as to what to do, so kept checking the phone for a dial tone and about 30 minutes later, I got a signal and discovered someone had hit the transformer station and knocked out the power. So rather than turning on the panic button, I called the Admiral's Aide de Camp and apprised him of the situation. He sent people out to work on the light and generator. The Admiral called the next day to see how things were going. Boy, did I have a story to tell him. I'm certain that emergency plans were looked into. The rest of my week went well and it was a great honor to get to stay at this famous landmark.