Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pearl Harbor.

Part three of our trip to Hawaii posts.  Click for part 1, Welcome to Maui, part 2, the Road to Hana or part 4, Sunrise to Sunset on Maui.

Day Five, August 14:  We visited Maui.  Pearl Harbor is part of Oahu.  We were so close and knew it would likely be a while until we could come back, so we booked a day trip to visit all the big Pearl Harbor locations.  This one will probably be mostly photos and captions in an attempt to not give you all a giant history lesson.  I thought I knew a fair bit about WWII, but this really opened my eyes and showed me how little I knew.  I came back with lots of questions and a desire to read up on some of this.  Trevor has been watching WWII, specifically Pacific WWII, documentaries on Netflix, too.

Anyway, we headed to the Kapalua Airport just 5 miles from our hotel.  The flight was about 25 minutesto Honolulu, Oahu.  Too bad we didn't plan this for earlier in the trip or we could have picked up our luggage while there.  As soon as we got off the plane, our tour bus was waiting to take us on our Pearl Harbor journey.

We started at the USS Arizona Visitor Center where we had a good view of just about everything we'd be seeing that day.  We walked around, looked at written information about what happened, memorials, and quickly snagged some postcards and a shot glass for my collection.

Our first big stop was the USS Arizona Memorial which started with a video about the attacks on December 7, 1941 and events shortly thereafter.  This is where our involvement in WWII began.  I always thought this was the big Pearl Harbor must-see; don't get me wrong it was surreal to be there, but there's so much more to it.  Read on... 

 The actual Arizona is still below the monument.  This photo was taken from the Arizona Memorial and that white buoy in the distance shows where the end of the ship is on that end.

The Arizona is still leaking oil and they say there's enough that it should continue to leak for at least 20 more years.

Next we grabbed some lunch and went to the USS Bowfin memorial.  This was a submarine that was first launched one year after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1942.  By the sounds of it, she sure earned her nickname of "Pearl Harbor Avenger."  It included an audio tour of the inside/outside of the submarine (yes, we were the tourists with the headphones), but I rushed the inside part a bit because it was quite warm in there and I do not do heat well.  

Cool tourist headsets.

 No wonder I felt cramped in the heat dungeon.

We guessed this was the first class luxury suite.

After the submarine, we headed back to the bus and took a quick drive to Ford Island, which is in the middle of Pearl Harbor itself.  It's mostly a military installation with some naval facitilies and military housing.  The reason for our visit was to see the USS Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

As we were driving, we saw the airfield where Amelia Erhart first attempted to fly on her big journey.  She had some technical difficulties and never made it anywhere which is why that fact isn't really known, but now we know.  Our first stop on Ford Island was the USS Missouri, where WWII in the Pacific ended.  It is moored where the USS Oklahoma capsized during the attacks.  This is also the site of many filmings such as the recent movie Battleship and Cher's video for "If I Could Turn Back Time."

 The USS Missouri was put back into service during Desert Storm.  See that black painted shape?  That's Kuwait.

This marks where the documents (see above) were signed.

The Missouri's dental office.

We got cute tourist stickers, too.

View from the top.  Obviously.

And, finally, the Pacific Aviation Museum-in an actual hangar that was there in 1941.  Trevor could have spent the entire day there.  The first half of it was all WWII planes.  We watched another movie then one of the volunteers, a former C-130 pilot, gave us a guided tour.  He sure loved planes and history-we could have listened to him go on and on if we had the time.

 The pilot of this plane is wearing his dress white uniform.  Our guide told us that was accurate.  We often forget these attacks are surprises-the sailors had a formal event the night before and some were still "carrying on" when the attacks started.

 Map of the attacks.

The next part of the museum, also a hangar from 1941, was everything from post-WWII until present day.  The building itself is considered a historical site and therefore can not be changed in any way.  Because of that, it still has broken windows from bullets and blasts from the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

And that wrapped up our Pearl Harbor trip.  We headed back to the airport, got on our plane back to Maui, and had a quiet relaxing night after two long days of sight seeing.  Here's a nice view from the plane ride back.


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