Friday Day 7 - Honolulu
We were up early again this morning as our Pearl Harbor tour started at 8:30. After a quick breakfast in the Neptune Lounge we made our way down to the Aloha Tower where we were supposed to be picked up for the tour. Val had found this tour online so we had bought our tour tickets before we left, but as the morning wore on we were beginning to wonder if we hadn’t picked the wrong tour company.
Our mini bus was there and waiting for us, but it turned out it wasn’t the tour bus, it was a shuttle to take us to the tour bus after picking up more of the group at several different hotels. Meanwhile the tour bus was picking up its own set of passengers and the drivers arranged a meeting place by their radios as we made the pickups. There was a change of plans as to the meeting place and a bit of a long wait, but as soon as the other bus showed up, we joined up with the others and were on our way to Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor was a very somber and sobering experience. The carnage and suffering that went on that day seemed overwhelming. When you first arrive at Pearl Harbor you see a twenty minute movie with background information, news coverage and personal footage of the attack. After that you are put on a navy boat and brought over to the Arizona Memorial. Here are a few pictures from that.
|The Arizona memorial sits above where the ship sank.|
|Parts of the ship stick out above the water.|
|You can also see the ship underwater as it was shallow where it sank.|
|Part of the pier where the Arizona was docked.|
|The names of all those that lost their lives.|
|People throw flowers on the water in honor of those who lost their lives. Oil is still coming out of the sunken ship causing the oil slick.|
From the memorial you were brought back in the navy boat and let off to wander the grounds which had memorial plaques and information on the attack and the aftermath. All-in-all a worthwhile experience, and for us, an idea of what it was like for our parents and the rest of the country at that time. The one thing though that Val and I both noticed was that it didn’t have as big an impact on us as the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC did. I guess it was because the Vietnam War was during our youth and very personal to us, just as World War II was to our parent’s generation. That said, I’m very glad we went and it is another harsh reminder of the terrible price we pay in war.
The trip back from the tour went much better as we were promptly dropped off back at the ship before any other drop offs were made. Before getting back on board Val and I decide to look around the Aloha Tower Marketplace which is in a great location under Aloha Tower right on the harbor at the cruise ship dock. Unfortunately it appears the recession hit the area pretty hard as probably less than half the businesses were open. We decided to get some lunch and found a restaurant where we could sit with a view of the harbor and had a nice meal. We wandered around a bit more and then found that we could go up to the observation deck in the Aloha Tower which gave us some great views of the Westerdam and the city. From there it was back on the ship and some relaxing time before we went to dinner.
|Some people took advantage of everyone being on shore at an uncrowded pool.|
We watched some last minute boarders racing towards the ship from our balcony and then minutes later we were on our way to Hilo. The rest of the evening went in the usual fashion with dinner in the dining room and then a short trip to the casino. It was another early night for us as we have an early tour tomorrow in Hilo. Our stay in Honolulu was nice, but for us it was really just too much of a big city with traffic and crowds, no different than most other big cities. We did have a good time though and now we’re looking forward to tomorrow.