Back in the U.S.A.
Our flight landed in Honolulu at 6:30 a.m. on January 30th. It felt good to be back in the U.S. again, and our main goals were to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial while in Oahu and adjust to the time change. Jet lag hit us hard, and we felt like zombies once we got to the apartments we stayed at. Joseph volunteered to run and get McDonalds for the two of us because he’s amazing. We did manage to get a tiny amount of sleep before waking up super early the next morning to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, and supplemented it with caffeine!
Pearl Harbor Tour
December 7th, 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Both of were interested in visiting the memorial, but the first time we stopped in Oahu overlapped with the anniversary events. That meant there were tons of people and limited availability, so we decided it made sense to visit it on our way back home/second time through Oahu.
Sam found a Groupon deal for 2, which included a tour bus pickup, Pearl Harbor, and Iolani Palace. It worked out perfectly since we didn’t have a car! We woke up around 4:30 a.m., and dragged ourselves out of bed to meet our tour group at 5:45 a.m. in Waikiki. Our tour bus stopped at Leonard’s (popular bakery) to get hot Malasadas (Portuguese donut) for everyone, so that was nice!
USS Arizona & Iolani Palace
Although the tickets themselves are free, we needed to get to the memorial early, as there are a limited number of tickets per day. They section off people in groups based on the time you get there, and we were in the first group.The memorial itself was incredibly moving. Once you get arrive and acquire your ticket, the first thing you do is go to the theater to view a documentary with actual footage from the bombing. Following the film showing, everyone in a given time slot takes a small boat out to the USS Arizona.
The memorial is built over the sunken USS Arizona. We learned that 500,000 gallons of oil are continuing to seep out of the submerged ship’s wreckage. The Arizona loses up to 9 quarts of oil into the harbor on a daily basis, which many refer to as the “tears of the Arizona.” They have a plaque with all of the names of the soldiers who lost their lives as well. Following that, they have a few museum exhibits you can walk through once you’re back on shore.
Our next stop with the tour group was to see the King Kamehameha statue at Iolani palace. This was the residence of the monarchs of Hawaii, and is a very impressive building! It was also used in the Hawaii 5-0 television show. Here are some pictures we took during the tour: