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Dec 29

Hawaii: Day 6-Pearl Harbor and Hiking

Pearl Harbor

Today was Pearl Harbor day.  Based on everything we read and were told, it was suggested that we go first thing in the morning in order to avoid the crowds.  So, around 7:00AM we headed off.  Even though it was only about 15 miles away, we had to deal with rush hour traffic which really slowed things down.

We ended up getting to Pearl Harbor, formally know as World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, around 8:00AM and quickly got tickets to the 8:15AM tour group.  The way it works is that you get free tickets to see a video and then tour the USS Arizona Memorial. The tickets are on a first come, first serve basis, so during the busy season, you may get a ticket, but your tour may not start for 2 hours or more.  So, a 15 minute wait was perfect. 

We passed the time by walking through two brand new museums they have at the memorial.  They just opened in the past month for the anniversary and include one exhibit that deals with the events leading up to the attack called “Road to War” and a second detailing the actual attack called “Attack”.

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A hand drawing of the radar plot of the Japanese fighters approaching Pearl Harbor.  It details the incoming planes with stunning precision.  Radar, however, was brand new technology at the time and wasn’t fully understood.  The Japanese attackers were misidentified as USA Air Force bombers scheduled to arrive on the island and no alarm was sounded.

When the time for our tour started, we headed into a theatre for a 20 minute video giving an overview of the events on December 7th, 1941.  After the video, we all boarded a boat to head out to the USS Arizona memorial.  The actual tour of the USS Arizona only last 15 minutes before you have to get back on the boat and the time flew by.

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The entrance to the memorial

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The remain portion of one of four of the Arizona’s massive gun turret mounts.

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The remnants of one of the Arizona’s vent stacks.

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A submerged portion of the sunken battleship.

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The shrine commemorating the 1,177 sailors killed on December 7th, 1941.  The quote reads, “To the Memory of the Gallant Men Here Entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941, on the U.S.S. Arizona”

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The mooring bitts on the sunken ship.

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The USS Missouri memorial, viewable from the Arizona memorial.

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Oil still seeps from the Arizona.  The seeping oil is often called “the tears of the Arizona”.

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Standing over one of the openings overlooking the deck of the Arizona.

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The flag flying over the memorial is attached to the severed mainmast of the sunken battleship.

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After getting back to land, we finished up at the two museums and walked the grounds of the memorial.  There were other exhibits to visit such as the Battleship Missouri memorial, the Bowfin submarine memorial, and USS Oklahoma, however each of these exhibits were an additional cost and after spending nearly 3 hours, we were emotionally and intellectually spent. 

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“Dear Lord / Lest I continue / My complacent way / Help me to remember
Somehow out there / A man died for me today. / As long as there be war
I then must / Ask and answer / Am I worth dying for?” 
–Poem Eleanor Roosevelt kept in her wallet during World War II

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One of three 19,585 pound anchors from the USS Arizona now on display.

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Looking at the USS Arizona Memorial through a periscope.

As we were leaving, the crowds were pouring in.  All of the tour buses were emptying out and the line for the USS Arizona memorial was starting to get pretty long.  We were really glad that we got there when did.

The most interesting factoid of the trip for me was a found on a draft of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech on December 8th, 1941.  The draft shows that his opening line, probably one of the most famous opening lines in history, "Yesterday, a day that will live in infamy” was almost “Yesterday, a day that will live in world history.”  It’s hard to imagine the quote being as powerful and memorable had it been “world history” instead of “infamy.”

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The draft version of FDR’s address to the Nation on December 8th including his changes.

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A close-up of the first page

Hiking and Beaching

After a quick lunch back at the rental house, we headed out to do some hiking and spend some time on the beach.  On our reconnoiter the other day, we spotted a trail snaking up the side of a mountain, so we decided to check it out.  The trail ended up being a lot longer than planned at 1.5 miles each way.  My legs were still a bit sore from the marathon, and we weren’t thinking ahead and didn’t bring water for the trip.  We were really regretting that halfway up when the sun started to beat down on us.

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A long way up and just getting started.

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Time for a swim?

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Maybe not, it looks like a long way down.

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Finally at the top.

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The Makapu’u lighthouse.  When we started the climb, we thought we were going to end up at the lighthouse and we somehow ended up way above it.

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Watch that last step, it’s a doozy.

The downhill portion of the trail was actually harder for me than the up hill.  My quads were the most sore and my left leg kept buckling on me.  Thankfully, I never actually fell and just took a few awkward steps.

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Anyone up for some hill repeats?  6% minimum grade? Bring it!

After the mountain, it was time to find a beach.  The first beach we stopped at, Sandy Beach, was not recommended by the lifeguard on duty as it apparently has the highest number of broken necks of any beach.  Deciding to play it safe, we continued down the road to another beach.

We ended up at a beach tucked away down a side street in a little neighborhood.  It had a great sandy beach and magnificent views, however the waves were pretty lame.  I actually told Jennie that, “This is a lame beach, it is like a Jennie beach.”  haha.  I made the most of it and did some body surfing and we took some time to write things in the sand.

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Trying to write quickly before the waves roll back.

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Jennie striking a pose.

After the lame beach, we headed back to our rental house to catch the sunset.  We tried to (and succeeded in) photographing every sunrise and sunset of our trip.

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Coolest. Dog. Ever. It was even wearing a life vest.

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Anniversary Dinner

After the beach, it was time to get cleaned up and go out for a fancy dinner.  Part of this trip was to celebrate our 5 year anniversary which was really in July, but who wants to go to Hawaii in July?? We’d rather go when it is cold in Michigan.  Any ways, a place called Roy’s was recommended to us by multiple people so we decided to check it out.

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When I called to make reservations, they asked if the dinner was for a special occasion so I told them it was for an anniversary.  When we arrived, we were greeted by the hostess wishing us a happy anniversary.  At our table, a handwritten card and centerpiece shared the same sentiments.  We were then treated to glasses of champagne on the house to celebrate as well.

After perusing the menu, I decided on the Hibachi Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Jennie picked the grilled chicken and potatoes.  For starters, I had a sampler appetizer platter that include all sorts of good things: spring roll, crab cake, spare rib, and ahi.  Jennie picked a spring roll appetizer.  One new experience for me was the hot towels I got with my appetizer.  Because my appetizer came with spare ribs, the towels were needed to cleanup.  The towels came out on a tiny plate and looked like little sugar cubes.  When the waiter powered hot water on them, they expanded into rolled up towels.

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Everything was absolutely fabulous.  After the main course we were completely stuffed.  However, we had already ordered dessert, so we were going to have to find room somewhere.  Not only did we each get a dessert of our own, but we got a complimentary shared dessert on the house for our anniversary.  So, one and a half desserts.  Yikes.  Between the two of us, we had a chocolate lava torte (me), a pineapple upside down cake (Jennie), and cheesecake (shared). 

We left completely stuffed and completely satisfied.  I was really feeling the need to exercise by this point.  Anything to burn off the excess calories.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2010/12/29/hawaii-day-6-monday

3 comments

  1. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Wow..you guys really did some amazing things! Again, I loved the pictures. You two are too cute together!

  2. Jon

    I wanna call you a jerk for not inviting me on your Anniversary trip to Hawaii! haha!

    So instead, one day I might just duplicate everything you did.

    How are you gonna top this vacation off?!?!? Man, you guys had the trip of a LIFETIME!!! SO AWESOME!

  3. kc

    What an awesome trip. I love the pictures … all of them!! The history is breathtaking. I recently saw a documentary on Pear Harbor and it was fascinating. Would love to see it in person one day…maybe in October 2012?? As a side trip.

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