Thursday, October 7, 2010


DAY 13 We are up early to meet a special VIP tour of Pearl Harbor and other military installations. At 6:00AM we are several miles off of Honolulu with the sun starting to rise behind Diamond Head.

The sea is calm and the pink clouds of sunrise together with the lights of Honolulu are very pretty.

We have a room service breakfast and are prepared to go ashore at 7:00AM, as instructed, only to find that we have a thirty minute wait due to docking late. We are in the first group ashore and board a large bus/van operated by "Home of the Brave Tours." Our driver is 24 and the son of the tour company founder. He tells us to call him "Duke."

We depart Pier 10 and the Aloha Clock Tower for Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial about 7:45AM. Once at the memorial, Duke procures tickets for the 8:45AM boat out to the Arizona Memorial. It is a beautiful morning and the memorial is just as moving as it was the first time we were here in 2005. Oil sheens the water above the wreck and quiet tears obscure our vision as we remember the young lives lost on December 7, 1941.

Back on shore, we have a little time to look around. Most of the visitor center that was here five years ago has been replaced with temporary structures as they construct an entirely new visitor center and museum complex. The new facility is due to open on December 7, 2010. We don’t think they will make it by then; perhaps December 7, 2011, the 70 anniversary of the attack.

We depart Pearl Harbor about 10:00AM and drive to Hickham Field and Schofield Barracks. Hickham is now an auxiliary airfield for helicopters and we do not see any flight activity as we view some static displays of various aircraft, including a P40 Warhawk.

We move on to Schofield Barracks, contiguous to Hickham Field, where we tour the 27TH Division’s Museum and peek into Quadrangle C where scenes in "From Here to Eternity" were filmed.

We now proceed to Ft. Schafter where we enjoy a buffet lunch, peek into the Headquarters of the Pacific Command, see Palm Circle, with its beautiful 1900's officers home,s and the home occupied by General Short on December 7, 1941 and get rained upon by a brief tropical shower.

We then drive to "The Punchbowl" National Cemetery. Unfortunately, as a tour bus, we cannot stop. We would like to come back and walk through this beautiful, moving cemetery.

The tour final stop is a private museum where we leave the tour and walk to Iolani Palace and take the one hour, self-guided tour. The building is quite pretty but rather bare as all the contents were sold off at auction back in the 1920s and it is only now being restored and refurnished.

We now catch a bus to the Wakiki Beach for a peak at the beach. Our feet are tired and it has been a long day so we step into a sports bar, Giovanni Pastrami, where we enjoy two cocktails and a delicious, small pizza. Refreshed, we catch a taxi back to the ship and enjoy a lively conversation with the Japanese taxi driver. It is sunset; 6:30PM.

After some debate, we go to dinner at 8:00PM and each have two soups and a Caesar Salad. Back in our room, we are both asleep before 9:30PM.

No comments:

Post a Comment