05.04.2011 - 05.04.2011 30 °C
Weary and Conductor’s day started way too early again. Bus picked us up from our hotel at 6.45am bound for Pearl Harbour. When we arrived at PH the first thing we had to do was line up and get tickets to the Arizona Memorial. PH has many different memorials that you can go to. The Arizona memorial is the main attraction and is a building that is built out in the harbour directly above the USS Arizona. The Arizona was a battleship that was sunk on Dec 7 1941 during the PH attack. 1100 people died on the Arizona because the Japanese airforce hit the ship on the side of the ammunition storage. So when the torpedos hit the ship the ammunition went up and the expolission was so great that the whole ship blew up!
On top of Arizona there is the USS Bowfinn exhibit (decommissioned submarine), USS Missouri exhibit (decommissioned battleship), USS Oaklahoma and USS Utah Memorials (cemetry style memorials) and the Pacific Aviation Museum. The PH park is really large and probably takes all day if you want to see every exhibit. We decided to take the main tour to the Arizona (its free if you arrive before 12am) and the Bowfinn and the Missouri tours ($28 to see both attractions including audio tours).
After getting our tickets to the Arizona Memorial we had over an hour to kill before our tour commenced. (This is one of the main problems with PH- heaps of people want to go and see the main exhibit but they can only take a 50 or so every half an hour). To kill our hour we decided to take a look at the Bowfinn. When navigating the sub we used an audio tour which was fantastic as it really helped us understand what we were looking at. The sub itself is really tiny inside. Weary definitely wouldn’t make a great submariner because getting through the hatches is really tight! The most interesting area was the torpedo chambers (there is one at each end of the sub). The chamber has four torpedos ready to load and in this very cramped space the torpedo workers also sleep in little bunks that they pull down on top of the torpedos! Incredible!!
After Bowfinn our tour was ready to go to Arizona so we went over to watch the PH movie and get the boat out into the harbour. The movie about the PH attack was really interesting (albeit a little biased towards the yanks.. probably not that surprising!) and the boat ride out to the Arizona was really relaxing. The Arizona memorial itself is different. The memorial is a building that has been built above the sunken wreck of the Arizona battleship. The memorial has an honour role of the men who lost their lives on the ship and you can see some parts of the top of the battleship that are still above the water. Believe it or not a Dunham was on board the Arizona and is listed on the honour role, he was a S1C (Seamen 1st Class).
After the Arizona we caught the shuttle out to the Missouri exhibit. We collected our iPods (yep you get an iPod to watch as you go around on your audio and visual tour) and started walking around the huge battleship. The Missouri was first commissioned in the 2nd WW and was decommissioned in the 50s after the Korean War. It was brought out of retirement in the 80s and retro fitted to support Tomahawk Cruise Missles and unmanned survelliance aircraft to support the Navy during the Cold War. It was used in active combat during WW2, Korea and Iraq 1 Desert Storm. It was finally decommissioned at the end of Desert Storm. The Missouri’s main claim to fame is the fact that the surrender agreement for the Japanese was signed on the deck of the Missouri at the end of WW2. Another interesting fact is that Cher filmed ‘Turn back time’ on the top deck of this battleship. My god those guns are huge!! Apparently each gun weighs more than a NASA shuttle! By the time the Missouri was decomissioned it was costing the Navy $1M per day to keep the boat ready for active combat- no wonder the ship was put out to pasture!
We had a really great morning at PH and would highly recommend spending the time and checking out the park properly! There are plenty of tours that go to PH but I would recommend just going out and seeing it yourself- the tours seemed to get really rushed through and I’m sure they missed a heap of things.
We spent the afternoon at Ala Moana Shopping Mall. It is the largest out door shopping mall in the world. Well Conducotr and I went nuts at Sears. Conductor picked up a pair of joggers for $30, a pair of shorts for $9 and a shirt for $9. Clothes are SO cheap in the US. Weary also went slightly crazy (even though I don’t need any clothes and will only be able to put them in storage for the next few years…) and bought a pair of Levi jeans for $30 and a Lee Denim Jacket for $25.. AWESOME
Really great last day in Waikiki, off to the Big Island tomorrow to volcano hunt!