Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 3 – Honolulu, Pearl Harbor

categories: USA Travel

USS Arizona MemorialSix of us got up and headed to Pearl Harbor to see the USS Arizona memorial. We had been told to get up very early to avoid the long lines but this is not really a group that is early risers. We got through busy monday morning traffic to Pearl Harbor around 8:15am. We had to pass about 20 minutes stuck in traffic behind the Honolulu Disposal Service, but we found that one can make a lot of words with those letters.

We picked up free tickets for the theatre presentation and boat ride for 9:15am. Between the museum and the audio tour we easily kept busy for that hour. The audio tour, narrated by Ernest Borgnine, was particularly useful for the members of our party less familiar with what happened on Dec 7th 1941 and why it happened. I thought it was interesting that the museum showed a reasonably balanced view not just the American perspective.

Before you can get on a boat to go out to the memorial you sit through about a 20 minute film narrated by the former first lady (Stockard Channing). The most memorable part of the film was the actual explosion that sunk the Arizona in under 9 minutes. A bomb pierced the deck and hit the ships magazine causing a fire ball that very few of the crew survived. More American sailors died on the Arizona than on any other ship in the history of the U.S. Navy. Half of the casualties from Pearl Harbor were from the Arizona. The mood on the launch and on the memorial was very somber. 800 sailors are still entombed in the sunken Arizona.

It was surprising to learn that of all the damage done at Pearl Harbor, all but 3 of the ships damaged or sunk were returned to action. The attack itself was surprisingly ineffective strategically since the American aircraft carriers were not in port and the day of the battleship was largely passed.

After lunch at Zippys / Napolean Bakery we went to a beach off Sand Island where Dave hunted for beach glass which he collects. If you are not familiar with beach glass it is basically someone’s broken beer bottle ground smooth by the waves. Sand island is very industrial but the beach park is a hidden jewel.

We then dropped off Joan, Liz and Dave at the Bishop museum. They enjoyed this quirky museum which covered everything from volcanology to Hawaiian history to animation.

USS MissouriSusan, Kevin and I returned to Pearl Harbor where we caught a shuttle bus to the USS Missouri which is anchored off Ford Island right next to the sunken Arizona. We were too late in the day for an explorer’s tour which goes deep down into the ship and opted for a guided tour with “Doc” our guide.

The Arizona was sunk within minutes of the U.S joining World War II and the surrender of Japan that ended Word War II was signed on the deck of the Missouri. The Missouri arrived late in the war so it was a controversial choice for a site for the surrender, but by that point Truman was president and his daughter had christened the ship when he was still the Jr senator USS Missourifrom the fine state of Missouri. Truman also decreed that the ship would stay in commision as long he was in office so she saw action again in the Korean war. As soon as Eisenhower became president the ship was mothballed but was recommissioned by Reagan in the cold war and fired the first shots (cruise missiles) of Desert Storm.

On the way back to the hotel we passed a 7-11 at Waikiki with a limo out front. I guess that rich people need slurpies too.

For dinner we all met and went to Ciao Mein in the Hyatt on Waikiki which is an Italian / Chinese restaurant. They serve more family style and have chopsticks but the dishes are Chinese, Italian and a “collision” of the two. The taste was great, the prices were expensive but the portions were pretty small.

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

One Response to “Oahu, Hawaii Trip Journal – Day 3 – Honolulu, Pearl Harbor”



Great entry! It reminds me so much of my trip there last year.

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